When I read a recent survey saying the average mum has 26 minutes of 'me time' per day, I thought: 'Who is this genius average mother and how much will I have to pay her to share her secret?!'
Because when I sit down and do the maths relating to how long everything takes on my average day (based on yesterday), it turns out I am living in some bizarre quantum world where I have minus 3 hours and 15 minutes per day of 'time', let alone 'me time'. This is assuming that drinking tea or eating half a sandwich while simultaneously feeding children or working does not count.
Rise at 6am
Collapse into exhausted heap at 9pm
Total time in day = 15 hours 0 mins
Transport frustratingly perky babies downstairs. Tread on a piece of discarded hotcross bun from last night and dispose of. Change Ruby's nappy. Get babies' drinks. Replace Ruby's drink after she deliberately pours it on to her own feet. Cook toast. Present toast to babies who, according to Ava, would prefer cereal. Present babies with cereal and watch it slowly change colour of kitchen floor. Empty dishwasher. Remove Ruby from dishwasher. Fill dishwasher. Cook scrambled eggs and more toast. Present babies with second course and watch them mostly not eat it. Scrape plates. Wipe table. Wipe faces. Sweep floor. Wonder where babies have gone.
1 hr 35 mins (me time 0 mins)
Discover babies making a 'mountain' from sofa cushions. Replace sofa cushions. Give babies 20-minute warning we're going out and they'll therefore need to get dressed. Realise have countenance of a person who has been dug up but do not have time for a shower (the opposite of me time?). Assemble pile of clothes for babies. Change Ruby's nappy. Chase Ruby round house trying to attach vest, tights, trousers, top, jumper. Ask Ava to go and have a wee. Chase Ava round house trying to attach vest, tights, skirt, top, jumper. Ask Ava to have a wee. Change Ruby's nappy (she likes pooing in clean nappies). Chase Ruby round house trying to reattach tights and trousers. Ask Ava to have a wee. Get dressed as Ava removes her jumper. Put Ava's jumper back on. Search for babies' shoes. Get babies' drinks, snacks and spare nappies. Put babies in coats and shoes. Ask Ava to have a wee. Put Ruby in buggy. Put Ava in buggy. Take Ava out of buggy to have a wee. Put Ava in buggy. Leave house.
1 hour 25 mins (me time 0 mins)
Walk to playgroup (with various stops for dropped cups/toys).
20 mins (me time 0 mins)
Run around enormous toddler filled hall like a lunatic, trying to ensure Ava is not duffing anyone up and Ruby is not breaking out through double doors to go for a walk on a main road by herself, followed by minor tantrum at playgroup being over.
2 hours 10 mins (me time 0 mins)
Walk home from playgroup (with various stops for dropped cups/toys.
25 mins (me time 0 mins)
Cook lunch while babies try to climb up my legs. Serve lunch to babies. Eat half a sandwich while trying to convince Ruby to use a spoon (she thinks stew and mashed potato is more efficiently eaten manually). Bargain with Ava over eating carrots. Remove lunch from babies' faces and hands, table, floor, window (thanks Ruby). Put babies' coats on. Empty dishwasher and fill dishwasher while babies go into garden and (I discover later) dig up the rosemary and re-plant in sandpit. Coax babies out of garden (lengthy process). Remove garden from babies' hair, faces and hands. Chase Ruby round living room. Change Ruby's nappy. Ask Ava to have a wee. Get babies drinks. Take babies upstairs and put into appropriate cots. Remove Ava from cot and take her for a wee.
2 hours 5 mins (me time 0 mins)
(Their) nap time:
Tidy the morning's detritus from living room/hall/kitchen. Open post. Empty bin. Remove washing from machine and hang. Put on new load of washing. Make cup of tea (me time?! Nope...). Sit down with laptop and start work.
2 hours 10 mins (me time 0 mins)
Retrieve babies who have woken and begun the afternoon wail in perfect unison. Sit on floor trying to cheer them with books/toys/silly noises. Suggest, in desperation to stop grumpy wailing, that they remove cushions from sofas and make mountain. Chase Ruby round mountain. Change Ruby's nappy. Ask Ava (too late) to go and have a wee. Chase Ava round mountain. Change Ava's clothes. Scale mountain and sit at summit reading books. Replace sofa cushions. Sit on floor for remainder of afternoon drawing/playing puzzles/looking for lost things.
2 hours 35 mins (me time 0 mins)
Cook babies' dinner... I won't fill in the rest, you get the picture (ends in wiping everything in sight). Empty dishwasher. Fill dishwasher. Empty washing machine and decide the goddam washing can sit in a big wet pile until tomorrow.
1 hour 35 mins (me time 0 mins)
Pour glass of wine (me time?! Nope...). Run babies' bath. Chase babies round house. Herd babies
upstairs. Chase babies round bedroom. Remove babies' clothes. Put babies in bath (lather, rinse, repeat). Remove babies from bath (after much coaxing). Blow dry babies 'til fluffy. Oil babies. Chase babies round upstairs. Attach nappies/pyjamas.
1 hr 10 mins (me time 0 mins)
(Dan's home – yay! Me time?! Nope...):
Herd babies downstairs. Listen to babies climb over Dan while I start dinner. Get babies' drinks. Kiss babies. Put babies to bed. Finish cooking dinner. Eat dinner in front of laptop and continue to work until collapse in heap (after treading on a newly-discarded piece of hotcross bun and deciding to leave it there until the morning).
2 hours 45 mins (me time 0 mins)
Total time = 18 hours 15 mins (me time 0 mins)
More on Parentdish:
The Semi Detached Parent: Just what is normal
Working parents' rest a day