It’s 7.14am, you’ve just woken up but to be honest it could easily be 4 or even 11am, you’ve built up such a massive sleep debt that it doesn’t really make a difference anymore.
If you’re lucky the mini dictator is still asleep and you can get to the bathroom, maybe even make a cup of tea before waking them up. Bleary-eyed you stand in the kitchen, greasy hair and crumpled pyjamas.
Sigh. Another day begins.
Most people have a lot of time and understanding for new parents, the newborn days are simultanteously brutal and wonderful, at the best of times. Friends and relatives usually make an effort with little gifts and offers of their time to help out.
But the days when you had more visitors than you could shake a stick at are long gone. It’s been months since you ate the last of the frozen meals dropped round by wellwishers. You’ve got a toddler now and whilst i’m not implying noone loves or cares for you, the shine has gone a little – lets be honest.
Then you hear it, the unmistakable sound of your cherub greeting the day. Taking the stairs two at a time you say a silent prayer that they have woken up in good form. You’re greeted by a sweaty little thing, blinking and writhing around, egar to start their day. For a moment they’re still a baby, though as they stretch you can see their stomach has almost lost that adorable pot bellied look. Their limbs, once like a stack of doughtnuts, are getting leaner and bear the tiny bruises of a day spent exploring.
Breakfast, crayons, juice, nappy, TV, blocks, snack, tantrum, postman, juice, nappy, TV, lunch, nap, story, juice, snack, loading the dishwasher, more blocks, another tantrum, TV, nursery rhymes, laundry, dancing, clock watching, dinner prep, more laundry, nappy, bath, story time, bed, first wake up, juice, nappy, bed again.
And on it goes, another day full of tiny frustrations and glorious belly laughs. The days pass slowy and yet all at once, in a exhausted white hot blur.
I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who has gone 4 or more days without washing their hair – not becasue there genuinely isn’t any time to do it but because at 9.30 when you’re finally ‘alone’ you’ve got work to do or a partner to talk to. You’re bone tired and would love to collapse into a deep sleep but you feel so desperately unfulfilled – you can’t end the day like this.
So you watch TV, or read if you can summon the energy to follow the story. Anything to feel like something happened today.
Now I love my daughter, desperately and completely. She is funny, clever, kind and I am immeasurably proud that I am able to spend my days working from home so I can be close to her. I know you feel the same. But some days I am so done.
I need to be alone, far far away from anyone and anything that wants something from me. I want to feel purposeful and satisfied and like I’m more than a maid or a referee.