Posts on daily life should be taken with a pinch of salt, and this one is no different. Please, do not think we think our way of surviving raising children is anything but rife with errors of judgement, small moments of happiness and manipulation on both sides. Remember that in any day, you never really have a perfect day. As parents you have a license to feel completely overwhelmed, completely underwhelmed looking at your personal/social life and very much a failure at times.
This is going to be a wall of text, but it is the only way to tell you about it!
Take today: it started out the usual way; getting through breakfast and dressing for nursery with a two-year-old and four-year-old.
Now (I don’t want to toot my horn here, but my husband fucking rocks) James had gotten up with the children at 615am-ish and had started breakfast, and I followed down at about 645am (I’m lying, it was 7am – that’s how much my husband rocks, he lets me sleep till 7am).
As soon as the stairgate creaks Elias says without fail “Ni-eeeeeeee!!”, thats his word for mummy. He can say DADDY perfectly, he can say MAN, and WO-MAN perfectly but combining a medley of it all he still cannot get MUH-MEE. I speak with affection of course, but deep down it crushes my soul. It’s 703am and I’ve already been told my place, “Mummy!” screams the four-year-old, “can I have eggs and bacon with you?/can I have a biscuit?/can I have my tablet?/can I have…..!”. This child is entitled some days, I don’t mind saying it.
So I kiss the husband morning, kiss Elias’ head and usually get his peanut-buttered-smeared hands in my hair (sometimes it butter, and its always in the freshly washed (2 days ago) hair)).
Breakfast consists of ketogenic delights; bacon and eggs washed down sometimes with bulletproof coffee, usually eaten in the corner of the room trying to shoo Elias away who has now stopped eating his breakfast because he would prefer mine. He doesn’t even want a taste, he just wants what I have. I’m on 1500Kcal a day, and he wants 100kcal of it for himself.
715am and I suddenly remember I need to nuke my tea because Daddy-bear has made it and I’ve forgotten about it, and now it’s cold. I’m used to cold tea (as we all are, us parents) but the morning one needs to be super-hot to wake me up. The caffeine is not enough cold.
I ask the husband about Elias and his shoes, we lost them at the weekend (Moors Valley trip – it rained.) and we need to figure out whether Elias will be going to nursery in his wellies or the ones we rushed out and bought last night from Asda. Asda shoes it is, with a promise to spend money on some new shoes (he has more expensive shoes than I do!) after nursery.
I try to be organised in having the boys bags and clothes all done and ready for the day by 730am, it’s just how I relax….. organisation. I wouldn’t usually trust my husband with it because I do things in a certain way, that does not lead to brain paralysis and allows me to feel like I can accomplish something early in the morning. The better way to do it would be to do it the night before, and yet I’m not there yet. Evenings are MY TIME, I will hold onto them for as long as I can.
Now comes dressing time, James and myself usually both dress the kids together to avoid coronaries for the two of us. Elias is in a ‘phase’ at the moment, I remember Jonathan going through it. Octo-boy. He screeches loud enough to start a headache and wriggles so much we usually have to hold him down, fun for the whole family. Jonathan usually is good with getting dressed, except that this week he has started the whole “dress Elias first” negotiation to get out of getting dressed. You may ask as to why he doesn’t like to dress himself, he CAN dress himself. He just does not like to, and to be honest we do not have the energy to say no this early. He does the key things like pull his pants up, shove his long arms into a top and climb into jeans and refuse to put his jumper I picked out because “it’s not time to wear it yet”.
The next hour is a blur of allowing the parents to go and get themselves dressed and ready for work/the day, and quietly hiding in the bathroom/bedroom for some peace. As a parent I quickly cottoned onto the ruse of “making the beds and getting self ready” as one the only times of day where I could quietly reflect/put some makeup on. Its precious time, that we have managed to work into the day for both of us. Keep in mind that while waiting for each other to get downstairs and provide support we impatiently wait, it is always too long to wait for adult communication.
Once the kids are ready, we are ready and we are all pretty much raring to go I walk the children to nursery and drop one/both off. Then celebrate and walk with a slight swagger back home.
By the way, I am indeed aware that a lot of this sounds like it could be negatively taken in by you the reader. It really isn’t, this is just how family life can be when on routine. And it’s our safety net, the children know when something is different!
Today I met with some friends, sans children. They (2 and 4 year old) both were at nursery today, so I enjoyed some downtime…. in the company of other children! Hey, they aren’t mine and you really feel like a weight is lifted. I can enjoy other children’s company because I am not stressing about making mine behave at a nice coffee shop, because they do not want to sit still or only want the marshmallow when I order a babyccino and waste the bloody hot chocolate within (keep in mind I cannot have chocolate and sugar on my diet!). I am guilty.
After getting home from a nice morning of mummy-natter (and a hilarious deflating of my friends pushchair tyre) I spend an hour solidly doing housework. What? I’m not spending the entirety of my morning sat down, housework waits for no one. It really does not. I feel the better for it, and this is how I feel slightly better about giving myself an hour and half of downtime. Again the parent-guilt.
I collect the youngest from nursery, dreading to hear anything bad about his stay; he has been going through a nasty case of “I’m more important than you- so I can have my own way 24/7”. He’s been good I’m told, so I’m thrilled. No excuses needed for that scenario!
We walk home ( I decided to try and phase out our pushchair – see note below), I end up carrying him half way because I did not bring the lifesaver of a pushchair. When we get home, he says immediately “chi-chit”. BISCUIT.
Swiftly he is told he will be having lunch and I am subjected to a meltdown, lasting 2 minutes. Only ending when a wotsit is thrust under his nose.
He was actually very good with his lunch today, I am used to dealing with a full plate of food being thrown on the floor or in my face. Baby steps.
He eats the orange and strawberries, the wotsits, the bagel and some cheese (see how I sandwiched the fruit and less healthy food there? Genius.), says “done!” and stands up in his highchair before I can get there. This leads to a run similar to that of a dinosaur in rollerskates, to get there before he falls and cracks his head open.
After a morning full of fun at nursery I have no qualms about sitting down for a cuddle watching some Twirlywoos or Peppa Pig (both obsessions) and spend the whole time trying not to nod off lest I be under attack when he yanks my hair for not paying attention.
Chillout time goes on for about 2 hours whilst we do various things (washing, tumble dryer-loading and dishwasher-again), killing the hours until we go and collect Jonathan. Many cups of tea are consumed.
The nursery/school run consists of a rush to get shoes on and avoiding narrow collisions with other parents int he same boat. Sometimes you only see parents at nursery, its like a dance. Quick hello, trying to get child into going home clothes (with much argument) followed by a thousand hugs and kisses goodbye to their friends (with a lot of begging for playdates). I do really actually enjoy pickup, I love greeting my baby with massive hugs and kisses. The trip back (walking) is more stressful, Elias has to do everything that Jon does including walking on the wall. Trying all the while to avoid any bloodshed.
We always collide with the 3pm let out from schools so we swim through the jam, trying to keep all of us in one place and not losing any children. Its easier said than done.
We all pile into the house, pretty much all in one piece… collapse onto the sofa and decide on which film to watch/snack to eat/activity to do.
The inevitable pile of bodies of the sofa happens within seconds and i snuggle into them, breathing them in. I’m happy to have them here with me, a pang of guilt because husband isn’t with us. But this is my time.
Snacks and snuggles and sofa-time, watching any film we are obsessed with (it’s Secret Life of Pets/Trolls/Moana at the moment) and enjoying the down-time. We don’t even talk sometimes for a half hour. Post-nursery relaxation is important to us all here because it allows the children to chill and let go. If they want to watch tv, fine. If they want to play in their room or read with me then fine. Its their lead, I try make myself available for this time up until I need to start dinner. Attention all on them.
When the eventual whinging and screaming starts up again (tiredness on both sides here) I use the oppurtunity to distract them and ask about their days. Jon likes to make up stories and use his imagination and Elias babbles adorably. They love each other so deeply sometimes they end up hugging each other and cuddling on the sofa whilst i make dinner and keep an eye/ear out. I love watching them from a different perspective, when they do not know i’m watching.
415pm brings daddy home, home to two monkeys hanging off his arms as he tries to get in the door. Pleading with them to “let me get in first”, always happy to oblige with hugs and kisses from his two boys. I usually am quiet when James gets home, slightly resentful of the fact that he goes out to work and gets some space away from the children – short lived but happens most days for a flash. I also feel his jealousy on me sometimes when he hears about our days, wishing to be home with us enjoying each others company. But then again…… most days we are just glad to be with each other and to have survived, with less tears and tantrums (from all of us) than expected.
When the little ones are in bed at around 630pm we sag into our office chairs and begin our whole 3ish hours of post children time, I usually give up at 9pm and go up to bed where I read (Reddit or books) or watch artisan videos on Youtube.
How do your days go? Are they a mixed bag?
Note on current state of Pram usage:
[I decided recently that now Elias has started to have no naps in the day (cry for me), he will be walking everywhere and i shall be ‘training’ him so we can get rid of the pushchair forever!
This makes my heart sink for various reasons; i need places to put my shopping bags (it’s wonderful not having to carry it), places to hang childrens bags off of, a nice place to hang MY bag, a hood in which i can store snacks to bring out at a moments notice (where the drink has started to leak because it was on its side – every drinking cup leaks no matter what) and finally a place i can put my child when he decided he has had enough of walking/being carried. We have been in a babywearing strike for months, and i have come to the conclusion we have now come out of babywearing completely. Sad times. I will eventually get around to having my woven wrap converted to a throw or stay a wrap so i can hand it down to the children, so it would hopefully be a case of enjoying them using it as well. Full circle.]