I love reading those ‘A Day in the Life of an Editor/Model/Astronaut’ pieces. You know the ones. Where they always rise gloriously at 7.00 AM, latte in hand. Just like us mums eh? And I’ve always wondered. ‘A Day in the Life of a Mum.’ How would that read?
I wake up whenever the hell my child chooses. Sometimes it’s a marginally civil 7.00 AM. More often than not it’s a hideous 5.30 AM, a time I was once only acquainted with for going on holiday or going to bed. I get up instantly because that’s when the demands start. ‘Juice, Mummy!’ followed by the clang of a tambourine, just in case I am having any delusions about staying in bed.
I serve the kids a breakfast of milk, Rice Krispies and banana, putting the milk back in the dishwasher and the Rice Krispies in the fridge. Because I am so damn tired. I then pour a strong black coffee, resisting the urge to make it an Irish one. I don’t bother to have breakfast because someone will only wander over and eat it. Even if I eat exactly the same thing, for some inexplicable reason, my plate always has more appeal than their own.
On a good day I have a shower and a clean pair of pants. On a bad day I scoop up yesterday’s clothes, which may in fact be the day before yesterday’s clothes. Depending how bad the week has been. I figure if I can’t remember, no one else will.
After breakfast, the real fun begins. The morning activity is a fun game called Getting Out of the House. The aim is to get out of the house in less than two hours. I spend at least 45 minutes of this asking the kids to put their shoes on. They look at me blankly like they have no idea what shoes are. They are so convincing, I almost believe them.
Once out of the house, we do something excruciating like a walk to the park. On the way, someone will lose a hairband or graze a knee and we will spend 20 minutes retracing the forty steps we’ve managed to take or administering a bandage. Even though there is never any blood. By the time we reach the park it is almost lunchtime so after five minutes on the swings, it’s time to go. Thirty minutes and 14 tantrums later we actually leave the park and go home for lunch.
Lunch is a gourmet feast of fish fingers and baked beans, which mostly ends up on the floor. And which I will scavenge off later. Nap-time for one follows. And craft-time for the other. I can never tell who hates this activity more. Me or the things we create. Because every pipe-cleaner person ends up looking utterly miserable. Like it wishes we just hadn’t bothered. The good news is doing crafts means I can stick a DVD on guilt-free and this takes up the next 90 minutes whilst I trawl Twitter and Facebook and pretend to be invisible.
But all too soon, the kids are raring to go again and we spend a joyful afternoon getting ALL the toys out, playing with them for 3 minutes before moving on to something else. By tea-time, it will look like we have been burgled. Tea-time is a mezze of ‘whatever I can find,’ plus some token carrot and cucumber sticks, which will end up in the bin but absolve me from more mother guilt. At 5.00 PM I can usually be found in the kitchen, slightly broken with a glass of wine in hand.
If I’m really knackered, we’ll miss bath-time altogether and the kids will have a cat’s lick. It’s the only time the cat comes in useful. One hour of CBeebies’ ‘Bedtime Hour’ follows or Mummy’s ‘Twitter Hour’ as I like to call it. And by 7.30 PM the kids will be tucked up in bed. After much negotiation, bribery and full nervous breakdowns from all involved.
Our dinner is a freezer surprise, which we will eat on the sofa. In complete silence. Because we are so exhausted we don’t have the energy to speak. We need to conserve every last shred we have. Because in 10 short hours, the whole merry-go-round starts again.