Wednesday, 15 January 2014

How to be a stay at home mum

This is a bit of a lie. I'm not a complete stay at home mum. I work 2 days a week although I didn't actually go back to work until Ava was 15 months so I have a pretty good idea of what being a stay at home mum involves. And it's not all children's pottery workshops and Cath Kidston cutlery, let me tell you.

 Obviously it has it's plus points. You can watch Disney movies in your pyjamas or do your weekly shop on a Tuesday morning when everyone else is at work. But it's not always fun and games either. And so I have compiled a little list of do's and don'ts to try and keep you sane.

I will start by quoting Hugh Grant in 'About A Boy': 

The important thing in island living is to be your own activities director.
I find the key is to think of a day as units of time...
...each unit consisting of no more than 30 minutes.
Full hours can be a little bit intimidating...
...and most activities take about half an hour.
Taking a bath: One unit.
Watching Countdown:
One unit.
Web-based research:
Two units.
Exercising: Three units.
Having my hair carefully disheveled: Four units.
It's amazing how the day fills up.

Now, how you fill up your units will be somewhat different to how lazy rich bachelors do. But the theory is still the same. And if you live by this theory, it will be bed time before you know it.

Their bedtime.
 Not yours. 
Their bedtime is when you open the wine.

Don't wait until you finally have an afternoon off to clean the house. Because you finally have an afternoon off. Stay on the sofa, watch crap telly and eat Nutella straight out the jar. When you do need to do housework then let them join in. Not only will they have a whale of a time following you around the house with a duster but they will proceed to continue to make mess as you tidy. Thus increasing time taken to do housework ten fold. You can kill an entire morning doing this. This is the reason we never make 10.30am toddler group on a Friday.

Go to the supermarket every single day. Screw meal planning. Bugger weekly shops. Decide every morning what is for dinner that night then hit Tesco every afternoon with a wild desperate look in your eyes that says you just needed to get out of the house. 

Places like the library or softplay are all brilliant ways to kill some time. Especially when they get old enough to make friends and let you read Heat in peace. Be aware that there will come a time when your child's shrieks will no longer cause you to jump up in a panic about your little one hurting themselves. Rather you will hear a shriek and jump up wondering who your little one has walloped over the head with a Space Hopper this time.

Now I have a cheek because I drive everywhere but if you do have more of a social conscience than I do then I suggest you walk to as many places as possible. A ten minute car journey could be a 40 minute walk. You could kill three units for the sake of one. If you can do this then don't do what I do which is put my headphones in so loud that I can't actually hear what Ava is saying to me. Because that kid WILL make you walk back about 20 minutes to retrieve the dolly she dropped when you were passing the Co-Op.

Don't succumb to the gin before you get them to sleep. You will burn the fish fingers and it's a slippery slope if I'm honest.

One word for you: YouTube. Whether it's old episodes of Peppa Pig or just something as bizarre as watching people open Kinder Eggs, this beautiful little site will get you a long lie or a bit of peace when you are so frazzled that you are actually eyeing up said gin at 5pm.

Meet friends for lunch if they are available. It will be impossible to hold a conversation. They will hate every minute of it. You will spend most of it trying to wipe up spilled fruit shoot and stop them crayoning the walls while your best pal tries to tell you about the one night stand she had last weekend. You will end  up more frazzled than when you left the house and hating your friend for still having a social life but you've killed a few units until bedtime so every cloud.

If you can afford it, invest in a nursery for at least a day a week. We gave up waiting on a council place and eventually succumbed to a pretty darn expensive private nursery. Although it makes money a little tight, it's absolutely worth it. If the only time you get off is to go to your part-time job then you will go completely batshit crazy and consider running away to Yemen in the middle of the night. And definitely don't hate yourself for these thoughts, they are completely normal.

Accept the fact that you are never going to pee, shower or get a full night's sleep alone and just move on with your life.

Disclaimer: I love my child with all my heart and despite sometimes wanting to throw myself off the balcony, I adore the fact that I am getting to spend this amazing time with her before she starts school. And I wouldn't give it up for the world. 

But I'm just saying.

1 comment:

Kim Carberry said...

hahaha! Great post!