A day in the life

Like much of the country, I had a day off today, thanks to the Queen’s diamond jubilee. Sadly for her, Gemma didn’t have the day off, which meant I was home alone with the girls. It’s only after they’ve gone to bed that it occurred to me that this is probably the first time this has happened since Megan was born – while Gem’s been working anyway.

So I thought it would be worth documenting my day of house-husbandry, if nothing else as a reminder to prepare me for the next time…

7:20am Gem wakes me up whilst applying her make up. Multi-tasking! Megan is chatting away in her cot, Heather is still sound asleep

7:42am I manage to drag myself out of bed and head for the shower. Heather is yet to make an appearance. “Shall I check on her?” asks Gem. “I’ll check after I come out the shower” I reply

7:43am I turn the shower on, and as if by magic, Heather appears, wild-haired and bleary eyed. This is a common occurrence, albeit usually earlier in the morning – it’s like she’s wired in or something

8:10am We come downstairs, and Gem deals with Megan’s nappy (it’s a stinker) while I make breakfast for the girls¬†clean the mould out of the coffee maker and get a pot of coffee on the go

8:20am Gem leaves for work. I’m now on my own. Which is fine, I’ve done this before, what can possibly go wrong?

8:25am Sit down for Cheerios with the girls (fruity Shredded Wheat for Megan). So far so good

8:35am Trying to empty the dishwasher while the girls are eating doesn’t exactly go to plan, because they’re done, and aren’t happy sitting at the table without food. Move the cutlery holder and all the sharp knives out of the way, and turn the TV on as a distraction. Megan still tries her best to “help”

8:50am Dishwasher done, and Megan apparently isn’t happy about it. And she’s LOUD! Remember Gem said to give her some Calpol on account of her sniffles. Discover the brand new bottle has smashed all over the inside of the changing bag. Panic when I can’t find any more.

8:57am Phone Gem’s mobile – no answer

8:58am Phone Gem’s work, to see if we have more Calpol. A recording tells me the switchboard isn’t yet manned, and to call back back after 9

8:59am Email Gem at work. The message says simply “Phone me, please”.

9:04am Phone Gem’s work again. Discover email went to her Junk Folder. Receive vital information about possible locations of Calpol. Find some, administer and relax

9:15am Megan, in a Calpol haze, falls off a little chair and bursts her lip. Volume instantly cranked up to 11. Again.

11:00am Day getting better – playing “fishing” with the girls. This consists of casting a piece of ribbon, baited with a Snow White figure, across the living room, then reeling in whichever girl picked it up. Fun. Heather takes a turn as the fisherman and adds a new twist – the fish (ie me) has to pretend to be asleep before Snow White is cast. Whatever. Knowing it will make her smile at work, I send Gem a pic of Megan playing in Heather’s car booster seat. Couldn’t get Heather to sit still long enough to get one of her too.

Megan in Heather's car seat

11:30am Megan looking tired. Realise it’s too late for a nap before lunch. Curse my lack of planning

12:00pm Lunch – sandwiches a success, fruit slightly less so (with Heather at least – Megan ate hers)

12:30pm Deposit Megan in her cot, she falls asleep instantly. Play some more fishing and possibly doze off briefly while pretending to sleep. Oh the irony. Put some washing in the tumble dryer

2:30pm No sooner have I thought “it’s about time to wake Megan up” and I hear her on the monitor. Put clean, folded laundry away and get Megan up and dressed

3:00pm Set off with the girls to visit Uncle Ian and Nana. On the way, Heather falls off her scooter and scrapes her knee. Another parenting fail

3:10pm Relax with the last few clues from yesterday’s crossword while Uncle Ian and Nana entertain the girls. Bliss

4:35pm Head for home, to get the girls’ dinner on. Realise I have no idea what to give them. Email Gem

4:39pm Receive an email suggesting eggy dip (French toast) and pointing out they had fish fingers yesterday – good job I asked, because I was going to go with fish fingers. Play in the garden for 15 minutes, and leave the girls out there while I make their dinner

5:10pm Serve dinner

5:15pm Realise the girls didn’t wash their hands before dinner. Another failure

5:30pm Finished, Heather asks for more eggy dip. Unsure what to do, I’m more than a little ¬†relieved when the door opens and Gem walks in, instantly taking this decision out of my hands (she said no more, which is what I thought. Honest)

And that, plus bathtime (Megan threw water in my crotch) and making dinner (a surprisingly tasty diet carbonara) was my day. Which, I guess, is a fairly typical (“non-working”) day for Gem, and any other stay at home parent for that matter.

While it is fun, and it truly is great getting to spend so much time with the girls, it’s also been a very tiring day. And that’s when they’ve been well behaved – how much harder would it have been if one or both had been in a naughty mood? Nothing but respect for anyone who does this on a regular basis.

“Real” work tomorrow will be a breeze in comparison.

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!