At its best being a stay at home mum is magical. It’s seeing your baby learning minute by minute, noticing the tiny changes that mark their developments and being there for every bump, scrape and needy moment. Their ultimate comfort.
At its worst, however, it is mind numbingly boring, bone achingly, relentlessly tiring and frustrating. I know exactly how lucky I am to be with Ted all day, every day but there are times when I rue the day that I gave up my job, craving the adult conversation, lunches and hot coffee that I absolutely took for granted before.
Ted has had a few bad days lately; development leaps, teething and colds causing lack of sleep and a grouchy toddler. I thought I’d document one of our bad days here, If you’re having a bad day too maybe this will make you feel less alone.
6am Gareth leaves for work as Ted wakes up, usually he wakes up with a big smile but this morning he is whingeing. He’s been in our bed for most of the night as he couldn’t settle and we’ve only had about 3 hours sleep. He immediately tries to crawl straight off the bed, picking up the remote controls and dropping them behind the chest of drawers as he goes. This is not going to be a snuggle in bed, wake up slowly kind of morning. I jump in the shower, hoping that will make me feel more awake, I’m in there for less than 3 minutes but in that time Ted manages to crab a cup of hot chocolate left on the side from last night. When I get out of the shower he has chocolate round his mouth and the floor and clean bedsheets are also covered.
6.30 we go downstairs and I make Ted some breakfast. He’s had a bad night so I make him pancakes and strawberries. He eats the first pancake, the rest are thrown on the floor. The strawberries seem to have been squeezed all over his pyjamas, rubbed into his hair and around his face. He screams as I clean him up with a wet wipe.
7am After a failed breakfast and a good ten minutes cleaning up, whilst Ted moans as he’s scared of the hoover, I try him with a bottle. Maybe he’ll go back to sleep. He downs the bottle and rolls over for a cuddle, I think he might doze off but he suddenly sits bolt upright and demands ‘dog’ pointing to his toy box. I put him on the floor so he can get his dog toy. He screams and points at me. I pick him up, he stops crying. Points. ‘Dog’. I get the dog toy.
8.30am All the toys are out. My living room looks like a soft play centre. He’s happy to play but only if his cheek is touching my cheek at all times. If this rule is broken he will scream. The one game he really likes to play is setting off all his ‘noisy’ books at once. We have a plethora of nursery rhymes, animal noises, drum kits and the odd car horn all going off at once. This. combined with sleep deprivation, makes me feel like I’m going slightly mad. Suddenly Ted climbs onto my lap and puts his arms round my neck. He’s tired.
9.30am I have tried everything I can to get Ted to nap including all the things the books say you should never do. Rocking, singing, stories, he’s still fighting the nap and crying. Eventually his eyes start to close, just as he starts to fall asleep he puts his head up to give me a kiss. ‘Oh you do love me’ I say. He shakes his head as he drops off to sleep. Cheers kid.
9.50 There’s a loud knock at the door, Ted jumps, wide awake. It’s the DPD delivery man with a parcel for my neighbour. ‘He looks tired’ the driver comments helpfully as Ted whinges in my arms. ‘Thanks’ I say, closing the door, muttering words under my breath that I’m glad Ted can’t repeat yet.
11am Ted has refused to go back to sleep, we’ve read his favourite books, played with his toys and practised climbing the stairs and coming back down safely. We’re due to meet friends at the park at 12 so I get Ted dressed and ready to leave. As I’m changing him he wees all over the clean clothes I got out for him and all over me. Luckily I’m still in my pyjamas so I change Ted and then get myself ready.
11.30 We are running late. Whilst I was getting dressed Ted managed to open his nursery drawers and empty out all the muslins. They are now strewn across the floor. I think about leaving them there for now but I know I’ll just have to put them away later so I tidy up.
12pm We arrive at the park to meet our friends, Ted falls asleep about two minutes before we get there. Luckily my friends little boy is also asleep. ‘Brilliant’ she says ‘we can have a coffee and catch up in peace’. This would have been great but both boys wake up as we try the car to pram transfer. Neither of them look particularly happy to be awake so we go for a walk in the hope they’ll fall back to sleep. They don’t. But they do have fun crawling around the play area together and even manage a go on the swings and slides. It’s nice to speak to another adult, even though we mainly chat about the kids, and it’s good for Ted to have some fresh air. We give the boys some lunch, have a long walk and some more playing then it’s time to head home.
3pm We get home and Ted has a play with his toys. I take the opportunity to tidy the kitchen and put some washing on. As I’m tidying Ted decides he’s had enough of playing alone and tries to climb in the dishwasher as I load it. I pick him up and he snuggles up for a cuddle and closes his eyes. It’s a bit late for him to nap really but I’m so grateful for a bit of peace that I let him. I might regret this later.
4.30pm Ted is awake and it’s almost dinner time. He’s a good eater and happy to have his dinner. He likes to pretend to feed himself with a spoon whilst I actually feed him with another. This causes quite a mess so straight in the bath for him.
5.30pm Bath time, Ted’s favourite time of day. As soon as he’s in he happily splashes about, making himself laugh. Tonight he seems to be a bit windy which is making him laugh even more than usual. I laugh with him until he suddenly stands up and poos in the bath. I haven’t even washed his hair yet! I have to get him out, clean the bath and start again.
6.30 Bath time is done, Ted is clean in his pyjamas and dressing gown and it’s my favourite time of day. Before Daddy comes home we sit and cuddle, watching his favourite nursery rhymes on TV, chilling out before bed.
7pm Daddy arrives home and Ted is very excited. He puts his arms straight out for a cuddle and Gareth chases Ted around the house, making him giggle. So much for winding down!
7.30pm Gareth takes Ted upstairs for a bottle and bed. I clean up the living room which is an explosion of toys, books, crushed up snacks and dirty clothes. I put the dinner on ready for when Gareth comes downstairs.
8pm I sit down with a glass of wine, watching Ted on the monitor. I start to feel guilty about the day. Was I patient enough with him? Did he have enough fun today? Should I have fed him more vegetables? Did I remember t There are still lots of things in the house that I wanted to do but didn’t manage. My husband asks me how my day was. I start to tell him but I realise how boring it all sounds, usually I give him the highlights, new things Ted has learned or funny things he’s done but today has just felt like a bit of a slog. Of course there are still lovely moments like Ted’s hand stroking my arm as he fell asleep this afternoon, or the way he shouted ‘Mama’ as he crawled into the kitchen to find me but they feel almost too small to be talked about. I know that tomorrow is a new day and will, probably, be much better but tonight I will go to bed feeling like I haven’t really achieved much at all.
Have you had any bad days recently? What do you do to get yourself out of a bad day funk?