Tuesday 11 February 2014

Time waits for no mum: 5 ways leaving the house is impossible with a toddler

Time is a funny thing - that method of measuring we use to construct our day into segments, filling it with daily tasks and appointments. We can schedule our lives around it as though we control it, as though we somehow have a say in how our day goes.

And then you become a parent.

Time is funny thing - that method of measuring becomes complete and utter bloody nonsense, constructing your day around moods, hunger pangs and general bodily functions of a small person, who is happy to interrupt any plans you may have to actually arrive anywhere on time. Ever.

Although children have no concept of time, they do, in fact, know how to gauge inappropriate times of the day pretty well. Children are mystical, magical beings who are somehow outside of time. They do not let it rule them. When you have children you are no longer the master of your own time. Here's why:

1. Getting up:
Before children: 
The general idea of getting up is to start your day with enough time to get ready for work or whatever commitments you have made in the day. You set your alarm, get dressed, leave the house. On weekends you can simply switch. Your. Alarm. Off.
With children:
Any alarm clock or device by which you previously woke can now be thrown into the bin. You thought the shrill alarm bleeps were bad? Try a screaming child. You will generally find that this new, screaming alarm is faulty and goes off 2 hours before you actually wish to wake up. On weekends, however, make that 3 hours. Your new alarm clock has a built in sensor for knowing how much you love to wake up early at weekends. Think you've got this sorted? Think again. Your new alarm will randomly wake you 2 hours late on an unsuspecting Thursday morning, generally the day you have an important meeting at 9am.

2. Getting ready
Before children: 
Get up. Get a shower. Get dressed. Eat breakfast. Make your lunch whilst whistling to the radio (okay, that never happened before I had children, I probably would've slept through my alarm and be rushing out the door but it makes for better reading).
With children: 
a. Go to their bedroom. Whichever one of your household has gone to get them out of the bed you are the wrong one. Spend 10 minutes trying to calm them. Once they're resigned to the fact that you are their helper for the morning...
b. Walk downstairs. If you have gone too quickly down the stairs you will have to come back up to your child who is now a bunny rabbit and is proceeding to hop down each step and expects you to do the same.
c.Make breakfast. Whatever breakfast cereal you have chosen, don't think you are getting to eat any of that, someone else has got his eyes on it. You need to resign yourself to leftover, sneezed on, soggy weetabix to kick start the day, half of which is now smeared on the wall. Spend 5 minutes clearing up.
d. Get dressed. You thought they'd like the red top today, but they want the one that's in the wash. Spend 5 minutes calming them down again, letting them choose another one, then another 5 minutes chasing them round the house to get half a leg into a trouser. If you've managed to get the whole pair of trousers on in 5 minutes you're doing well.
And so on.

3. Leaving the house
Before children:
Put shoes and coat on. Open door. Walk out. Shut door.
With children:
Chase your child another 10 minutes to get their shoes and coat on. Open door. Child decides that they need a wee wee. Close door. Walk to the toilet. Too late. Revert back to d. of Getting ready.

4. Getting to any given destination
Before children:
With children:
There is a worm on the doorstep. Spend 2 minutes examining it and another 2 trying to find it a home, or at least some friends to play with. Walk 10 paces and your child would like to stop and read every number plate on the parked cars on the road side. This must be really exhausting because now they want to be carried. You have a mexican stand off in the street but you're already 10 minutes late for work and you eventually give in to carrying them (amidst the old ladies who tell you your child is too big to be carried).

You get the gist.

I was going to end this post with a soppy paragraph about how lovely it would be if we looked at life through a child's eyes and took our time over things, but quite frankly I'm too exhausted. I'm not sure how my boss would feel if I sauntered into work at 11am with a bunch of worms I'd found along the way, or if I missed paying my bills because I'd used my cheque book to colour in. Time waits for no one. Time waits for no mum.