SOMETIMES I get to the end of the day and I know I have been busy. I am tired, I have forgotten to eat lunch, my back aches and I definitely haven’t sat down for more than a few minutes. Yet, I look around me. The washing up bowl is full of dirty dishes, there is a grubby baby sock on the kitchen sideboard, there are toys everywhere, and the baby is covered in this morning’s Weetabix. What have I actually been doing?
To get to the bottom of this, I decided to look at the Things To Do list I wrote at the beginning of the year to see what progress I have made.
Turns out. Not. A. Lot.
THING TO (DEFINITELY) DO IN 2014
1) Move the dirty baby sock from kitchen sideboard.
The reason such a simple task made it to number one of my list is because it has been on my sideboard for A MONTH. I am not quite sure how it got there. Every time I see it I think, I must move that sock, but then whenever I am on my way to the sock something else ALWAYS COMES UP. I got close once. I actually picked up the sock. I turned to walk towards the washing basket with the sock. Look at me, I thought. I am looking after a baby and a toddler, I have only had two hours sleep, but here I am moving the sock. GETTING STUFF DONE. Go me. I can do this.
Just as I was about to leave the kitchen The Toddler informed me of her urgent need to WEE NOW MUMMY and I then spotted The Baby trying to eat a battery. I returned the sock to the sideboard, and before I knew it, all thoughts of baby sock cleaning were gone from my mind. *
2) Do ALL the washing (to include dirty baby sock). Ensure washing bin is EMPTY and ALL clean washing is put away and not just left in the baskets. (2014 WILL be the year we keep our clothes in wardrobes and drawers).
God, I was a dick in January.
3) Clean settee to remove the stench of vomity/stale milk/wee/wine. (Buy settee cleaning equipment).
Or? Buy Febreze, a giant throw and avoid having any guests who like sitting down.
4) Call Orange and tell them my phone is broken. My phone has been broken for three months. It is still broken. I have got around this by simply not making any phone calls. This is not ideal. I tried to call them just now in the hope I could sneakily tick this off the list…but as I was about to ‘talk to an advisor’ the baby started choking. (Yes, it was on a flipping battery).
5) Tape up the broken remote control so the baby can’t try to eat the batteries.
If this had been item one then I might have had more luck with other items on this list.
6) STOP feeding the children Smiley Faces.
Whenever I open the freezer with every intention of making a healthy home-cooked dinner (that the kids will definitely NOT eat but I can feel good about myself for cooking). THEY ARE THERE. Beaming up at me. I would like to wipe the smile of their stupid, delicious faces. Eat me, they shout. We are only potatoes. What is so bad about potatoes? Cook us with some frozen veg and fish fingers and you have a nutritious meal fit for a…baby.
They had me at potatoes. Grinning little gits.
7) Take the baby to a baby group (to ensure she will not turn out to be a sociopath/socially inept/unable to perform all the moves to Wheels on the Bus).
Every Tuesday the exciting Drink Tea and Talk About Babies While Stopping Your Baby Steal Toys Of Other Babies takes place in the village. My village has a pub and a post box. This is literally the only thing to do with children. So I really should go along. Integrate with other mums in the community, talk baby food and breastfeeding… while mostly spending the entire time thinking stuff like: Why is my baby is not sorting shapes yet? That eleven month old just got the triangle in the correct hole TWICE. My twelve-month-old is just licking the square. Must start doing more shape sorting. We are going to sort the hell out of some shapes when we get home, then we’ll come back and show that shape-sorting little swot a thing or two.
I have been once. Not because it is boring (it is but I can handle a bit of boredom to ensure my baby doesn’t turn into non-shape sorting recluse) but because it is at 9.15am in the morning. This is ridiculous.
Every week I attempt to get myself, The Baby and The Toddler all ready and out of the house by 9am. Every week I fail.
8) Stop bribing the children with biscuits.
What was I thinking? Take away the biscuits, take away the power.
9) Wean the baby off the night feeds. (Or rather, wean myself off using my boobs to get her to sleep/shut her up during the night).
Well, I am still breastfeeding at night when required. I am too tired to give up my pacifying tools just yet. Plus it means I can keep my C cups for a bit longer…
10) GET ORGANISED. Write a Things To Do List once a month so you stay on top of all the Things That Need Doing.
As I said. I was a dick in January.
So progress? NIL.
Before I had children I had it all worked out. I would look after the babies and do freelance work while James the Husband worked full time at his heavenly haven of hot coffee and adult conversation… sorry, I mean office. It seemed like the ideal set up. I would write from home, get things done, maybe even finish my Great Novel, get more stuff done, all in the afternoons while the babies were having their naps.
Because babies took naps, right? Long naps. All afternoon? And parents use this time to catch up on sleep, have a cup of tea or to Get Things Done?
Turns out not all babies want to nap in the afternoon, or in the morning, or ever.
So, things didn’t quite go to plan…
Instead, my life is a constant battle to get things done, get some sleep or get babies to sleep so I can get things done. And when I am not trying to get things done, I am worrying about not getting things done. I wish the Things would just piss off and leave me alone. I am tired. I am totally exhausted. Some days I barely have the energy to eat or wash my hair let alone to write a Great Novel or do a load of frigging THINGS.
So how do you Get Things Done when your babies won’t go to sleep or stay asleep or leave you the hell alone for five minutes?
Although, I am starting to think that in the time it took me to write this list and then write about the list I could probably have done some of the things on the list.
* Since finishing this article the sock has finally been moved. I told James the Husband about my sideboard sock plight one night (yes our conversations are that riveting) and he simply picked up the sock and put it in the washing machine, like some kind of sock-moving expert. (By the way, James the Husband is not a big sexist who believes sock moving is a woman’s job. He had either a) not even noticed the sock, b) had noticed the sock but assumed it was where the socks are kept now, or c) seen the sock but didn’t think it was a problem).
However, there are now three other socks in its place so I am back to square one.
Does anyone else with sleep-hating babies manage to get stuff done? Is it just me? Please share any tips in the comment box below or on Facebook page or follow me at @stolensleep on Twitter.