Before I had the Little Big Fella, I wondered what stay-at-home mums did. I mean, it doesn't take that long to clean the house, does it? I could do it in a couple of hours on the weekend, after a full week at work, no worries!
And babies sleep so much! What on earth could mums do all day???
Although I kind of knew that it wasn't as easy as it seemed, I had quite a delusional concept of life at home, looking after the kids. I expected it to be pretty cruisey, and that keeping the house in immaculate condition, providing hours of educational entertainment for my child/ren and cooking wonderful, nutritional meals, all on a tight budget (obviously required because I wouldn't be working) would be a cinch!
(Yes, that was definitely an Edna Krabapple impersonation!)
Turns out that being an at-home mum isn't as cruisey as it seemed (how's that for understatement, mums???).
Let's start with that new baby. Yeah, the one that takes an hour to feed, burp and change their nappy, then is ready to start again two hours later. Do that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for say... a few months, and tell me how you're keeping it together. Oh! And have you been to the bathroom today? Lucky you! Had a shower this week?
So baby finally gets into some semblance of a routine, and you're getting a combined total of 8 hours sleep a night (seriously, that feels like being on speed!). But now baby is starting to move! All of a sudden, all those "trinkets" (read: CDs) aren't safe where they've been living, so the house suddenly gets a makeover.
Because, as much as you thought you'd just teach your child/ren not to touch, it turns out that saying "no" every 5 seconds is really annoying, and you actually need to do other things (like use the facilities, or cook dinner).
And because baby won't stay where you put him/her, and baby likes to put everything in their mouth, you feel the need to clean the floor after every meal, and several extra times a day if it rains (how does grass get inside when it rains, when no one has even been outside???).
And now baby is a toddler. They toddle over to the massive bookshelf and try to climb it. They toddle outside and attempt to navigate the stairs. They toddle around the side of the house and climb the lattice until they're higher than your head (hello my gorgeous nephew!!!!).
So you're attempting to keep your child/ren alive, whilst still trying to use the loo and/or cook dinner (mothers develop an incredible ability to do multiple things by this time).
Meanwhile, you're attempting to keep the house somewhere near liveable (you gave up immaculate the day your child was born!), and trying not to drown under Mount Washmore.
I thought that when the Little Big Fella went to kindy, I'd have some time to myself. Apparently I was still deluded.
Let me give you an example of a fairly typical day at this point in our lives:
I get up at 6 and start putting the dishes away to help myself fully wake up. I make my breakfast, and the Little Big Fella's, then after we've eaten I clean up. Then it's downstairs for about 20 minutes for my workout. The Little Big Fella watches a bit of TV, or sometimes comes down and talks to me, or tries to workout with me (always entertaining).
Then it's back upstairs to shower, dress, and do the last minute things before we officially start the day. I also dress the Little Big Fella (normally takes about 10 minutes because he has issues with "focusing" - I'm starting to think that toys in the bedroom is a bad idea).
Most days it would now be time to head out somewhere - kindy, or playgroup, or just to go check the mail. The rest of the morning is my most productive time and includes a selection of the following:
- food shopping (How can two small words equal such a big task??? Drive to the shop, no worries. Select the food, yeah, okay. Go through the register, starting to get stressed out if I have the Little Big Fella with me. Drive home, okay. Drag the bags upstairs. Put everything away, whilst being hassled about everything from putting on a superhero suit, to eating something, to watching a movie, to visiting friends, to going to the park...)
- clothes washing (Again, two small words that equal a big job)
- putting stuff away (There's always plenty of that to do, even though we've downsized so much and have such a little house)
- food preparation (I try to prepare a bunch of things at the start of the week so that I have easy food on-hand)
- changing the bedding
- cleaning the bathroom
- putting more stuff away (I told you, there's always plenty of this to do!)
- more dishes
- whipper snipping and mowing (because of the Big Fella's hours, I end up doing this about half the time.)
- cleaning the car, inside and out
- feeding the dogs
- washing and flea-treating the dogs
- putting stuff away downstairs or outside