Social media is a strange beast. It paints this idyllic picture of family life through the little snapshots, those perfect moments you capture and choose to share. Throw in lockdown and it would be easy to believe that I spend my entire day elbows deep in sticky-back plastic, playdoh and learning intentions.
Just in case you were concerned I was one of those parents who farted unicorn glitter and woke with delicate bluebirds pulling back my sheets, I wanted to give you a taste of my reality with a day in the life excerpt.
Let’s just say the air was blue when pigeons woke me with a brutal 4:45 cooing. This was of course followed by a ‘mummmmmmmyyyy’ at 5:23am. Give me coffee. Give me all the coffee. Early mornings are actually fairly bearable. I have reinforced the routine of “you watch ‘JoJo & Gran Gran Catch the Bus’ on repeat with porridge and train play whilst mummy mindlessly scrolls Instagram and drinks hot coffee.” We have come to an understanding that mummy does not whizz trains till her personality kicks in about 7am.
As mornings go, it was a good one. Daddy came down at 7:15 and I promptly left him to it. I put on a full face of slap. I washed and styled my hair as Daddy entertained Harry with every single toy he owns. I came back down to carnage which I ignored. I ate kitkats. I did no exercise. I chilled out and watched a lot of Amazon Prime with little man. I had a cornetto and bagel for lunch. I let him sleep for 3 hours at nap time, napping myself. We achieved… nothing. We crafted… nothing. I tidied… nothing. As mornings go, there was nothing to share, shout about or edit.
At 4:30pm Daddy skipped off to celebrate the reopening of golf courses and I capitalised on the opportunity to exhaust little man by taking him for a scoot. He’s been scooting for 3 days. He now thinks he’s Evil Knievel. As we took on the mean streets of Essex I was unimpressed at having to break in to an unexpected sprint to keep up. My pelvic floor was not amused.
He insisted on going to see the trains. Not the easily accessed view of the tracks from the field at the far end of our road. No. He wanted to go the kilometre to the station. This made me a tad nervous as more populated than a field but I acquiesced with the hope that he’d be really knackered come 7pm.
I drew on that most vital of mum skills to withstand potential meltdown number one. Bribery. When he realised mummy’s dealer – the local coffee shop who used to supply her with a healthy hit of caffeine and because he’s cute always supplied him with a plate of biscuits – were of course closed, the decibels began to rise and the frown set in. “BIC-SITS mummy!” There’s no point in trying to explain the premise of lockdown and our challenged hospitality industry to a toddler so I resorted to a health dose of bribery. Dangled as a carrot, he continued station-bound on the promise of a pack of gingerbread men I fortuitously had stashed in my bag.
We sat on a train bridge, waiting 10 minutes for a train to go by. He munched on his danger snack as we observed a group of teens who hadn’t grasped the concept of social distancing in the slightest, their bravado and sassiness clearly making them immune.
Bonus. Two trains came at once. I’m there palpitating about him touching anything so, ignoring the protests, whizz him down the stairs homeward bound. I then employed another classic parental move: the blatant lie. “There are no more trains today. That’s it. They’ve all gone back to their sheds for the night.” His look of complete disdain would suggest he saw through my vain attempt to lure him away.
This is the standoff that ensued. He wasn’t going home. He wasn’t getting on his scooter.
Mummy, in a valiant effort to counteract her lockdown food intake, had done a 30 minute drum and bass @fight_klub workout the day before. Mummy couldn’t lift her arms, let alone a hefty toddler and his scooter.
So he was over my shoulder, wailing as I tried to walk the kilometre home. Some very concerned looks were shot from the overflowing chip shop at the women with a banshee child in a fireman’s lift.
Of course there were all the people in the village about to witness the histrionics but relief flooded me when I heard the soothing voice of an angel, our lovely friend Thea. She calmed him and challenged him to a socially-distanced race. It was enough to get him back on the scooter to show off his mad skills but it took further coaxing with ten minutes of bubble-blowing and mummy pushing him back to finally get home… two hours after our departure.
Dinner is Served
Dinner prepped (home-made cottage pie) it was promptly rejected after the gingerbread man entree. Mummy had one and a half portions after unsuccessfully trying to tempt him for ten minutes. The second it was cleared away: “I want my dinner!” The dinner you refused to even look at, let alone touch? The dinner I all but ate? That dinner? This is the point where I refuse to provide an alternative right?
Not one, but two Ella’s Kitchen pouches were supplied and taken down. To be fair, I wasn’t really providing an alternative as such, as one of them was cottage pie. If you think I was going to chance a hungry child not settling after getting up at 4:45am with an errant husband – then you’ve been sniffing too much unicorn fart.
Bath time was uneventful. Stories were read. Milk was used as a bargaining tool to delay the inevitable cot depository. “Don’t want milk.” Ok, time for your cot. “Miiiiiiilllllkkkk!” Negotiations were settled on half a beaker of milk, two water stops, seven cuddles and three books. Then he was down.
Mummy breathed in a sigh or relief, two glasses of Chardonnay and a bowl of flapjack with carte d’or ice-cream.
So please know that yes, my Instagram does show the five minutes a day where he gets crafty, the regular forays in to mum fitness, the fifteen minutes he focuses on a new game, the three minutes a day the kitchen is actually tidy, the corner of the lounge that is not strewn with plastic tat as we play with a beautifully crafted wooden toy…
My advice: always read my captions – I love a nice arty shot of a beautiful set up, an enticing invitation to play but I will always be honest in the captions e.g. Harry had zero interest.
Daddy strolled in at 9pm, his golf desires somewhat sated after a two month break-up. Mummy was downing two paracetamol, a healthy slug of water and the agreement that tomorrow morning, he would embrace the pigeons, Harry alarm and bring me a cup of tea and toast. And with that I drifted off to sleep and dreams of unicorns, glitter and perfectly behaved toddlers.
What’s been your most challenging reality? Where has lockdown been a complete #fail? Please tell me I’m not the only one whose home looks like a tornado his ripped through? Please tell me I’m the only one who dreams of their little one sitting through an entire movie? May your weekend be filled with sparkle!
Love this, it brings back memories of the hard work when my twins were toddlers and chocolate, wine and Zumba kept me sane. I also always put leftovers in the fridge now as kids will always eat it at some random time in the future. It really does get easier, keep going, you’re a fantastic mum xxx
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Thanks! It’s the best job but reckon I’m now skilled in negotiations to the point I could get a job with the U.N.
I actually love this and you’re so right about social media. I’m so guilty of this too. It’s always great to be real and honest which is why I love this post. It really is all about the bribes.
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My husband was thrilled too that our local golf course was open. He went to play while we enjoyed some mum and son time too. Was lovely
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heheh , i actually love solo parenting , i found it way easier to manage my when it was small , now shes a teen thats a whole new ball game ; ) kind regards pati robins
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