Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Lesson 4: "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 batches of vegetables that will end up in the liquidiser. Whilst 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 up 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 we scream surely THESE WERE THE PERKS and feel cheated to find that actually it's not 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 50 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. 
The Nap
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 nap 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 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 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 'what HAVE you been doing all day?' when your other half gets home. Mine wouldn't dare - he 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. 

Lesson 4: A day at home is not for the faint-hearted, and can go either way depending on The Nap. Probably best to get out of the house or admit defeat that you can't be a nanny, cook and cleaner all at the same time without feeling endlessly guilty. 

Unmumsy Mum


  1. Oh I absolutely know the feeling. I work from home so whilst household chores go out the window, I have to work which I do when Libby is sleeping. I've managed to persuade her that nap time is early afternoon (1ish) in her cot for at least 2 hours. She can usually do around 2 1/2. I have to admit if she wakes up before 2 hours, she stays there. It was the only way I could make sure that nap time was at a defined time and for long enough each day so that I could work. Thanks very much for linking up to my blog :)

  2. Neither of mine (1&3) have ever napped in the house. They have both required being driven or pushed around for hours to get them to sleep - rarely for more than 30mins.

  3. Someone once said to me - the years fly by but the days drag! Totally agree - days stuck in doors with small children definitely drag! :-P

  4. Great little account of my days! I actually liked getting back to work so I could have a cup of coffee and a few moments of my own thoughts! I absolutely loathed when my baby was born and every day my other half would say, "Did you have a nice Day? or 'What did you do today!'...It made me mad! A day at home is definitely better spent as a day out! My son hates too many hours in the house! Now he is 15 months and my expectations are much much lower but when he was first born I got so frustrated that after a whole day I had achieved absolutely nothing...except get me and the baby through the day! Glad I wasn't the only one after all!