A friend of mine recently started her child in the orientation process at childcare, leaving her with a couple of half days to herself before she started back at work. “Ooooh,” I said to her enviously. “What are you going to do in that time?” We talked about going to the cinema – “Oh, yes,” I nodded, eyes gleaming with memories of darkened cinemas and the smell of popcorn that screams of a past life. “Or maybe shop,” she said, and we were consumed by thoughts of a world where we can spend time trying on clothes, maybe trying on a few different sizes, maybe even taking a few seconds to see the clothes from different angles. Bliss! So, when catching up with her this week, I had to ask: “What did you do?” She looked at me almost apologetically and said, “It sounds boring”, and then went on to talk about tidying the house and doing the washing – I hope she had a cup of tea in there! It got me thinking how we, as carers, take any moment we can to continue in our caring duties. There seems to be a perception out there – and I don’t know where it comes from – that we’re sitting at home and catching up on soaps, maybe going out for nice, long lunches with other parents (OK, yes, but very rarely) and having cocktails after midday. The reality is very different. Here’s what an hour and a half looks like during morning nap.

  • Finish cold cup of takeaway coffee that I didn’t get to drink before baby started rubbing her eyes for sleep
  • Put away toys that were washed from the day before (very carefully, so no rattling bells wake the baby!)
  • Change the linen on the beds (it’s Friday and that’s linen day – I obviously don’t do this every day)
  • Put away the dishes drying, and wash the breakfast dishes in the sink
  • Put a load of washing on, being careful to spray vests with stain remover
  • Pack pram for a morning walk
  • Prepare morning tea for baby
  • Hang out wet bibs and washers from the day before
  • Put away dried washing
  • Blog about what I’m doing while eating breakfast and having a cup of tea
  • Check emails
  • And, if I’m lucky and missy sleeps a little longer, I might even dust! What joys!

And that’s a light day! I have a cold and am taking it easy! I’m not bragging, this is genuinely what a moment of peace looks like. It’s my attempt at creating order in the disorder. It also means that when missy wakes I am all hers, 100 per cent focused on her. But, gee, this “downtime” part of my day is tiring!

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