“What Have You Been Doing All day?"
If you've ever been woken up first thing and thought Jesus Christ, a whole day at home with the baby then you are not alone.
I look forward to my 'days off' (ha!) when I am at work, and I absolutely love trips out with my little ray of sunshine, but an entire day at home with a baby (or toddler as mine is now) is a different kettle of fish altogether. A long, frustrating, cranky and quite often boring kettle of fish.
Yes, I said boring. That doesn't mean I find my son boring - far from it, he amazes me constantly. Whole days at home just us two, however, can be a real struggle. Not exactly how I had imagined them to be…
Firstly, I had naturally assumed my 'home days' would comfortably combine both childcare and domestic chores. Cleaning, tidying, phoning the bank/insurance company/tax office, cooking up batches of vegetables that would end up in the liquidiser. Though not an entirely foolish assumption, the logistics of actually doing anything productive when looking after a small person requires military organisation and precision (or Peppa Pig, on repeat).
The problem is, you feel guilty if you don't clean the house, but likewise feel guilty for cleaning the house when you are ultimately at home to look after your child. You also feel guilty for watching TV/bidding on bundles of baby clothes on eBay/calling a friend for a chat/reading a magazine/having a cup of tea (any activity that leaves your little one to their own devices for a minute or two). Yet inside you scream SURELY THESE WERE THE PERKS and feel cheated to find that actually, it's not always all that perky.
If you have ever tried to phone the mortgage company with a screaming toddler hanging on to your trousers or attempted to hoover only for your offspring to deliberately crush their crackers all over the carpet, then you will understand that a day at home is stressful. I must say 'for god's sake' at least fifty times a day. Usually accompanied by a sigh.
And then there's The Nap. I sometimes wonder if anybody else's entire level of success for the day is based on when and where their child chooses to have a snooze.
If it's at a convenient point in your day at home you can wash the dishes, get the sheets out - if he or she passes the expected half an hour you may even have time to treat yourself to This Morning with a cup of tea. Imagine! Usually, however, they fall asleep in the car/in the pushchair/at the Post Office/when the plumber has turned up/when you are expecting your Sainsbury's delivery - basically any time you are unable to take advantage of the nap. These are the NOWOs (Naps of Wasted Opportunity).
In all honesty, I tend to find that the best way to survive a day at home is to GO OUT. Go to the park, feed the ducks, brave the supermarket (though probably not to do the 'Big Shop').
The day goes quicker and the pair of you get less narky with each other. This does mean, however, that you may have left the breakfast dishes, neglected the washing and not phoned Direct Line so be prepared to face the 'what have you been doing all day?' line of questioning when your other half gets home. Mine wouldn't dare now ashe knows he'd have to face an hour by hour breakdown of my day which let's face it is not a massively exciting account.
Whatever you decide to do with your day I reckon it’s probably best to admit defeat that you can't be a nanny, a cook AND a cleaner
all at the same time.