Friday 20 March 2015

Just what do mothers DO all day? (Why I didn't return your call.)

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Just what do mothers DO all day? (Why I didn't return your call.)

I'm sorry I didn't return your call today, I appreciate that this isn't the first time it's happened and, I'll be honest, it probably won't be the last. See, although you may think that all I do are cafe-crawls, sipping lattes and eating cake with my buggy buddies, there are some days when I don't even make it out of the house. What can be so hard? You may ask. How can something so small take so much looking after? Isn't maternity leave one big jolly holiday? I'll admit that the second time around there are days when that's true for me, but maybe that's because having ONE child all day feels like a novelty, and my second baby is like an angel compared to my first. Still, it's no walk in the park. Today I am fortunate enough to have my eldest child in nursery and I STILL didn't call you. Here are my excuses

6am: I am awoken by a crying baby who needs feeding. I peel myself wearily from the bed and go over to the crib to find that he has leaked poo all over his babygrow. I go to find a clean one and realise that most of them are in the washing basket, full of clothes I haven't had time to wash. I find one that got left on the radiator that smells of 'wet dog-slash-I haven't dried my washing properly' smell and I proceed to change him. Mid change he pees all over his new babygrow and I spend the next few minutes scrambling through drawers to find another set of clothes that are blatantly too small for him, making the poppers undo every time he kicks his little legs. Meanwhile my four year old is jumping off his bunk bed, pretending to be Spider-Man until he falls on his arm and starts screaming.

7am: I comfort my four year old who is now crying on the floor like George from Peppa pig. I try to distract him with the prospect of toast and he manages to find the strength to walk down the stairs, find a place on the sofa and watch Dora the explorer. I make him toast and then feed my baby, who is now screaming like an abandoned child.

8am: I realise I need to take my four year old to nursery but my fussy feeder of a baby isn't done yet. I tell my four year old to go to the toilet, which he does, ALL OVER THE BATHROOM FLOOR (apparently he was distracted by a shadow on the wall that looked like the shape of a tortoise). I walk in with him turned 90 degrees to the right and peeing like the Trevi Fountain.

9am: Walk my four year old to nursery and hope that my baby falls to sleep in his pushchair, which he does (thank goodness). I plan to ring you when I get back in the house while he's asleep but my baby has a built in sensor for 'home' which means 'wake up' and he promptly does so after I push the buggy over the threshold. I nip to the loo and discover I got distracted and forgot to clean up the pee which has now seeped into the bathroom mat too. I clean the floor while my baby sits in his bouncer, whining.

10am: I would call you but my baby is in that in between stage of 'still really tired because I haven't napped enough' and 'I'm getting a bit hungry again now.' I try to appease him with jumping him up and down/carrying him around/singing/shaking things in his face.

11am: Feeding time again and I decide this is a great opportunity to call you as I have one hand free. The problem is that my baby is now so tired that he won't feed properly so I alter between waking him and winding him. By the time he's finished he is asleep so I put him down for a nap.

12pm: Nap time. Great. Perfect time to call you but the gas man comes to read the meter. I feel slightly embarrassed as the floor is covered in jigsaws and toys that my four year old got out this morning while he was waiting for his toast. After the gas man goes I tidy up and I'm made ever more aware of the state of the house in general and the piles of washing that need to be done (including a urine soaked bath mat) before my house looks like it's turned into a rubbish tip.

1pm: I pick up my phone to call you but I realise I'm pretty hungry because I forgot to make myself breakfast this morning. I have a short window of opportunity to eat so I attempt make a sandwich, but there's no bread so I plump for a bag of walkers crisps and a slightly wrinkly apple. I pick up my phone again. THIS time I even dial your number, but I'm interrupted by a baby crying.

2pm: I feed my baby and think about calling you with my spare hand but now I'm starting to feel so exhausted on three hours sleep that the thought of phoning you and sounding like an intellectual human being is beyond me right now. I think about it again after my baby finishes his feed but he then proceeds to puke up all over my shoulder. Now I have to find more clean clothes and add more dirty ones to my ever increasing washing pile. I REALLY need a cup of tea but I realise I'm out of tea-bags. Disaster!

3pm: Walk to the shops like a zombie. I get stopped several times by people telling me this is 'the best time of my life' and that I should 'enjoy every minute.' I'm too tired to respond. Shop. Get back from shops. Unpack shopping. Feel slightly light headed.

4pm: Put baby down for a nap and attempt to nap myself but after just dosing off my baby wakes up too early because we've reached 'crazy hour' (which is actually, TWO hours of grizzliness). Rock baby and try to calm him until his next feed.

5pm: Feed him again but this now takes an hour because he is beside himself with tiredness/grouchiness! I need to watch something mind numbing like Dinner Date so that I have something to talk about other than baby things the next time I see a human being (or call you). Before I know it it's time to pick up my four year old.

6pm: Pick up my four year old and run a bath for them both while he trashes the house again. I walk in to jigsaws all over the floor but I'm too exhausted to care. I eventually manage to bath them, dry them, put on their pyjamas and snuggle on the sofa for a blissful half hour. I take a selfie of us and post it on Facebook and you write a comment like 'looks like you're having a great day' and I think 'oh crap, I've not rang you!' I decide I'll do it when they're in bed.

7pm: Attempt to put the kids to bed, but my four year old is now biding his time by saying he's thirsty, hungry, has an itch or that he's scared that a dinosaur will crush him in his sleep. I manage to bribe him into bed with the promise of chocolate the next day. I read him a story whilst jigging my baby on my knee to stop him crying. My husband comes home to complete and utter chaos and asks what I've been doing all day.

8pm: I finally manage to get the baby down for a nap while my husband cooks some dinner because I've not had time. We eat the dinner in silence because we're both too tired to speak.

9pm: I look at my phone and I'll be honest, if I can't face talking to my dearly beloved then there's no chance I'm going to attempt to speak to you (sorry). I put on my pyjamas, go to bed and aimlessly scroll through my facebook feed to gain a sense of 'other life' in an attempt to connect in some way with other humans with limited effort on my part. I write this post as a sort of apology but it ends up being another listy post about how hard done by I am as a mother (sorry).

10pm: fall asleep, dribbling.

These are my reasons for not calling you; I hope you understand. On a good day (or should I say 'few hours', because things could take a turn for the worse at any given moment), I will have no problems calling you. On a good day I will be sat in Costa, sipping a cappuccino with friends. On a good day I will sit and watch This Morning and eat cake. On a good day I will have a whole hour to myself while my baby naps. But this is not a good day OR a bad day: it's a normal day - a normal day when trying to call you, or anyone, is quite difficult. I hope you understand.

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