A Day in the Life of a Writing Mum

5am. Get up with children. Stagger to sofa and plan to be really disciplined and open laptop. As soon as I’ve woken up a bit.

6am. Wake up on sofa; rub crusted drool off chin and rub crayon off walls. Note to self: mustn’t fall asleep while toddler is up and crayons are within reach.

7am. Breakfast. If I can, I’ll squeeze in twenty minutes writing before school run. Plenty of time, shouldn’t be a problem.

8.40am. Scream at children to get in car. Run back into house to retrieve forgotten bag/coat/shoes/all of the above. Will write after dropping son off at school.

9am. Back home. Will write now. Just got to check twitter.

9.40am. Oh dear. Toddler needs nappy changing – pref ten minutes ago. Clean up. Disinfect hands. Will write now.

10am.  Open laptop. Notice smell. Change toddler. No disinfectant needed this time. Will write now.

10.05am. Toddler crying. Find biscuits, hand packet to toddler. Will write now.

10.10am. Can’t possibly write till I’ve had a cup of tea. Kettle on. Will check twitter while waiting for it to boil.

11am. Re-boil kettle.

11.30am Sit down with cuppa.

11.31am. Toddler crying and rubbing eyes. Cuddle in and she goes to sleep. Eventually.

12pm. Lunch. Make lunch for self and husband. Sit down with it, toddler wakes. Make lunch for toddler.

1pm. Wash dishes from last night’s supper, today’s breakfast and lunch. Will write now.

2pm. Better just change washing over. Also toddler wants to watch Mr Tumble.

2.30pm. Sit down with laptop. Will write now.

2.35pm. Toddler climbs onto lap. That’s fine. I can balance laptop on sofa arm and toddler is snuggled in watching CBeebies. Start typing (after just checking twitter).

2.50pm. Toddler decides to help with typing.

3.10pm. Realise time. Jump up and DO NOT SWEAR (honest gov). Throw toddler in car and race to school. Note to self: must walk for school pick-up more often. Will write on return.

3.30pm. Return home. Discuss school with son. Have had more informative discussions with a brick wall. Give up and talk about Ben10 instead.

4.30pm. Finish talking about Ben10. Need to just check washing. And twitter.

5pm. Need to make tea.


5.10pm. Search through cupboards and freezers.

5.40pm. Look for pizza shop menu.

6.30pm. Tidy up; children in bath; rubbish in bin. Note to self: mustn’t get mixed up.

7pm. Sit down to write.

7.05pm. Could really do with a shower.

7.30pm. Finish shower. Sit down with drink and laptop.

8pm. Wake up. Realise have been asleep on z key. Delete 4 pages of zzzzzz. Rub crusted drool off chin.

8.15pm. This needs coffee. Put kettle on. Check twitter while waiting for kettle to boil.

8.45pm. Re-boil kettle.

8.55pm. Sit down with coffee and laptop. Toddler crying. Go to get her back to sleep.

9.30pm. Wake up with head on toddler’s bed and complete lack of muscle tone in neck.Rub crusted drool off chin.

9.40pm. Put laptop away and go to bed with cup of tea and book which I stay awake until half eleven reading.

Will write tomorrow. 

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

Dear Daniel and Emily

A year ago I wrote this post.

So much has changed since then. Daniel, you’re nearly four and you’re such a big boy. You can dress yourself – in fact, you insist on it – and go to the toilet and even nearly read. You look after your baby sister and hold her hand when you’re walking together. Emily, you are the most independent little thing – walking everywhere, getting into as much trouble as you can and usually following your big brother round adoringly. Full of cheek and mischief and life.

But so many things have stayed the same. I’m still exhausted and there are days when that fog seems as thick and close as it ever has been. Some days I’m wishing your babyhood away, just to get to the days (and nights) when I can sleep and do more than merely function. Other days I catch myself and remember how precious and fast these days are, and I’m trying to imprint little details on my mind.

In the day-to-day business of life, I get carried away. You try to play and I say “In a minute”, “not now” or “just wait a minute, can’t you?” No, you can’t. Sometimes you should, but you can’t. I look at you and you’re both so big and grown-up I forget that you’re not even four, not even fifteen months. I expect things of you that aren’t reasonable. I get cross.

I’m sorry. I want you both to know how much I love you. I’ve just been in to see you both and whispered it in your ears and hoped that it drifted through into your dreams. I’m going to print out this post and last year’s letter and keep them for you, for a day when maybe we all lose our tempers with each other.

I love you.

Mummy xxx

Bye Bye Baby!

B in the A – Z challenge is probably for birthday. Next week Emily turns one, although some of the stuff she does makes me wonder at times if she’s actually closer to ten. And with her first birthday we’re leaving babyhood behind.

She’s already more of a toddler anyway. She wanders around the house, sometimes purposefully, sometimes aimlessly swinging her arms and looking for mischief (which she always manages to find) but always steady and sure. She babbles away with herself and us; Daniel loves trying to decipher what she’s saying. I have a feeling we won’t be able to stop her once she can talk properly. She’s beginning to show a strong stubborn streak and a temper and it’s obvious that we’ll be having some battles. So in some sense we’ve already left babyhood. Or it left us when we weren’t looking.

Of course, we’re not just talking about Emily leaving babyhood. It’s all of us. We’re not planning any more children and that means that we’ll have to retire things like the crib (which is still standing in our bedroom, as if we can’t quite bring ourselves to dismantle it), the pram, the steriliser which never really got used much anyway since we had a small microwave one that was far more convenient. The babygros are getting put aside for a car boot sale instead of the next baby, and for every piece of clothing that she outgrows I have to decided if I can let it go. Some things, like her coming home from hospital outfit, or that dress or those booties, are being kept as long as we have the space.

Some things I’ll not be sorry to lose. The weaning spoons – I really didn’t enjoy weaning. I love the stage she’s at now where I can give her real food and watch her enjoy it and discover new tastes. She seems to have a broader range of food than Daniel did, but sometimes the memories are a bit hazy and maybe Daniel ate a wide range of things at this stage too. That’s scary – it’s only two years since he was at this stage and it’s hazy already? How am I supposed to remember these things when they’re ten? Or twenty?

I look back at Daniel’s baby pictures and sometimes it’s hard to relate that baby to my little boy. Daniel is so strong and vivid a personality, he comes out with the most amazing words and phrases, how could he ever NOT have talked? Or walked? Or decided he was going to do something and then just done it? And how did he interact with Emily? Wait – there was no Emily??

So we’re leaving babyhood. But I know from watching my clever, beautiful boy that toddlerhood is just as wonderful and scary and amazing. I’m waving bye bye to that part of our lives as happily as I waved goodbye to the part where I wasn’t a mum or the part where I was a ten year old girl dressing up as a bride or rocking my baby doll to sleep. They’ve all been amazing parts of my life, but there’s a time to wave bye bye to it and look to see what’s next.


Out of the Ivory Tower

Over the past couple of months, with the general busy-ness of Christmas, work at home and vile weather outside, I haven’t been out much. I used to go to playgroup, but since Daniel started nursery it’s been one of those things I’ve been meaning to do. I haven’t met up with friends much, for the same sort of reason.

I’ve had human contact, with family. I’ve had fairly constant contact with people around the world, on Twitter. But on the whole, I’ve been kind of shut away from the world in my little tower with my family. This is very much a double-edged sword.

For one thing, with Andrew being off work for Christmas we’ve had some much-needed time together. We’ve been able to help each other rest when nights have been bad; we’ve been able to back each other up. We’ve had peace and protection from the rude interruptions of the outside world. It’s been precious, wonderful time.

On the other hand, this time has warped our perception of some things. When the only three year old you really see is your own, the tantrums are unreasonable, his behaviour is unacceptable, no other mother is so put-upon. But then that’s not so bad, because your three year old is also a genius, an artist, a prodigy. Your baby is streets ahead of everyone else’s, which is quite astonishing since no other baby in the world sleeps as little as she does.  Your home is probably the messiest place on the face of the earth, the ironing is an insurmountable mountain that is probably hiding the Marie Celeste in there somewhere.

This week I came out of the Ivory Tower. I finally took Emily to playgroup, and she took off. Her face was breathtakingly beautiful in its reactions – the world was her oyster. But she was one of many, just another baby crawling around, taking life at their own pace. Today I had lunch with a friend, then went round to her house and spent a couple of hours chatting. Talking about the children’s behaviour (her daughter’s the same sort of age as Daniel), talking about our church (we’re in the same house group), talking about nurseries and holidays and husbands. And what did I get reminded about? Daniel is not the most unreasonable child in the world, nor the cleverest – he’s just a three year old. A house with two children in it has stuff lying around – that’s the way it is. Laundry dries on radiators – it doesn’t get sorted by the Magical Laundry Fairy. My life is average – no better, no worse than anyone else’s.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what’s going on in the Ivory Tower. Of course your own home, children, family are absorbing, it would be worrying if they weren’t. But I need perspective. And for that I need actual, face-to-face human contact. It’s hard when you’re shy; you don’t want to impose, you get stressed about social situations, you worry about what you’re going to say, if you manage to say anything. The Ivory Tower is so much safer. Unfortunately, it’s not all that healthy. It’s not good for writing – what kind of material can I generate when the person I spend most of the day with can’t even talk yet? It’s not good for my grip on reality. Give it much longer and I’ll be sitting in the cot sucking on a rusk. So I am going to try coming out of the Ivory Tower, in tiny baby steps, and squinting at the sunshine of the real world.

I give it two weeks. 😉