I decided to take an ordinary day and keep a diary of it. If for nothing more than for my kids to see how damn hard I work looking after them. So here it is… a day in the life of a single Mum of 4 kids………
1am – Emily crying. Drag myself out of bed. Stand over cot scratching her back and stroking her head for 5 minutes.
1.15am – Emily crying again. This time I bring her into my bed.
1.15-1.40am – laying next to Emily saying ‘close your eyes, go to sleep now, its night time’ whilst she says ‘No Mummy, big cuddles, play toys, Mummy’.
1.40-2am – Make Emily a bottle and put her back in her cot. Then lay in my bed till 2am wishing to God that she would go back to sleep. She eventually does.
7.30am – Alarm goes off. I feel wrecked. Drag myself downstairs to wake older two kids up. Put kettle on. Shuffle back into bed for 5 minutes.
8am – wake Luke up and realise I am half an hour behind schedule due to tiredness. Run downstairs to make Luke’s packed lunch. Make cup of tea. Nag older kids to get ready faster. Make Emily a bottle.
8.20am – Throw on some clothes. No time to brush teeth or hair! Wake Emily up and give her bottle. Nag big kids and Luke to get dressed quicker. Get Emily dressed and change her nappy.
8.40am – running round house like a lunatic looking for Emily’s shoes. Didn’t find them. Bundle big kids out of back door, and little kids into car. Drive to Luke’s school realising I still haven’t brushed my hair or teeth and resemble a yeti.
8.50am – Take Luke into school. We are running late. Carry Emily to classroom where we have special permission to get Luke settled before the other children due to his Asperger’s. Emily plays with classroom toys whilst Luke puts his lunch, coat, bag etc away. Then we chat or read stories until the other children come into class. I hug him goodbye and leave. This is massive improvement on last years shenanigans.
9am – usually Emily walks back to the car which takes about 15 minutes. But since I couldn’t find her shoes we don’t do this. She is not impressed. Distract her with stories of weetabix and yoghurt for breakfast when we get home. Drive home.
9.10am – Home. Put Emily in high chair and turn TV on for her. Make her yoghurt and toast. Make myself toast and tea. Check emails and facebook. Not much happening there.
9.20am – realise I left all Luke’s plastic bed sheets on line over night and it’s been raining. It’s going to take bloomin ages to dry them now. Queue up some music on Spotify to get me through the morning.
9.30am – Put a load of washing on. Spend 5 minutes hoaking through deep freeze looking for pastry and feel like I’ve got frost bite on half my fingers. Find one roll of pastry but probably isn’t enough.
9.40am – waste a few minutes playing guitar before getting Emily out of high chair. Whilst drinking tea. Learning ‘In A Darkened Room’ by Skid Row, ‘Call Your Name’ by Daughtry, and ‘Iris’ by The Goo Goo Dolls.
9.50- 10.05am – Luke’s Autism Therapist phones to see how he is getting on. Talked for ages about the improvements he’s making and how his OT is going. She is absolutely delighted to hear about his reduction in anxiety and panic. She tells me I’m one of the strongest women she knows which makes me choke up. Then I realise Emily is still in her high chair. Poor wee girl.
10.10am – 10.20am – Kitchen – Load dishwasher, tidy breakfast stuff away, spray work tops, clean high chair, wash saucepans, wash baby bottles. Little Emily thinks she is helping by opening and closing the dishwasher door. Bless her.
10.20 – 10.27am – clean fish tank, with help from Emily who thinks it is hilarious that the fishies are in a jug.
10.30am – set Emily up on kitchen floor with a big bowl of water and some spoons and jugs to play with. She sits on a towel. Will probably be soaked by the end, but at least it will occupy her long enough for me to fold a load of laundry.
10.33am – fold one load of freshly laundered washing.
10.35am – finally get around to brushing my teeth!
10.38am – tidy downstairs bathroom. Toys are still in bath from Emily’s bath last night. Put these away, clean sink and toilet. Find Emily’s shoes in here.
10.40am - Put the Lion King DVD on for Emily in the hopes that I can have a bath. A luxury I have been planning all week! Emily stands at side of bath and play with the bubbles. She washes my hair and back for me. Cute.
11.20am- Got out of bath to discover Emily had found the pot of Sudocrem (again!) and painted the DVD player, sky box, telly and sofa with it. Plus herself. She was sat there saying ‘bad girl, bad girl’. Arghhhh. Spend 5 minutes cleaning it up.
11.20-11.40am – get dressed, dry hair, notice Emily has ruined my favourite lipstick. Make my bed, tidy my bedroom, tidy shower room, clean toilet, collect dirty laundry up, tidy Emilys room, take laundry and bottles downstairs, take sheets and duvet cover off Luke’s bed to be washed.
11.40am – read emails, check facebook, read an article about the health benefits of Watercress. Make a cuppa and think about lunch.
11.50-12.10 – Make lunch for me and Emily – Banana, bagels and brazil nuts. Eat lunch and have cuddles with Emily whilst watching Balamory.
12.10-12.35 reply to emails
12.35 – put Emily down in her cot with a bottle in the hopes that she has a nap. Unload washing machine. Load tumble drier. Load washing machine again. Bring in sheets which got rained on and try to dry on radiators. Clean kitchen again. Wash more baby bottles. Re-tidy bathroom as I trashed it having a bath. Clean cooker hob top.
1pm – prepare and roast vegetables to make roast veggie quiches later for the wedding party tomorrow.
1.15pm – make one pastry case for quiche. Cook.
1.20pm – sweep and mop kitchen floor. Sweep and mop bathroom floor.
1.40pm – wake Emily up from nap so we can pick Luke up from school. Just about to leave when I notice her nappy has leaked. Change her nappy, and trousers, which makes us late leaving for school.
2.15 – back from school with Luke. Rush to kitchen and remove roasting veggies from the oven.
2.20-2.30 – whisking eggs, making first quiche, putting in oven.
2.30 – empty tumble drier and fold clothes into piles, unload washing machine into drier, hang up sheets. Cuddle a miserable Emily and give her chocolate.
2.40-2.50pm – cuddles with Emily. Snuggly wuggly cuddly.
2.50 – finish first quiche. Roll pastry for next quiche. Put that one in oven. Prepare whisked eggs and roast veg.
3pm – 3.20 – cuddles with Emily who is very grizzly and miserable.
3.20pm – make a cup of tea. Feel absolutely shattered and still have so much to do. Draining.
3.25-3.45 – finish making quiche. Luke breaks and whisks eggs for me. Emily has been crying for an hour and won’t let me put her down, so I am now cooking with a baby in arms. Then was up roasting trays, bowls, utensils and cheese grater, spray and wipe work tops. Still trying to drink the tea I made half an hour ago. Put a bowl of water and spoons down on floor for Emily to play with in the hopes it keeps her quiet for 30 seconds.
3.45pm – Jude gets home from school and I say ‘thank God you’re home’ and ask her to take Emily out in the garden for 5 minutes before I lose my marbles. Then I…. swallow down cold tea, change light bulb in my room, put mop and bucket away, carry lukes toys on stairs back up to his room, realise lights still dont work after changing bulb and that fuse must have gone. Contemplate how I am going to get to fuse box in garage, and how the hell I will know what to do when I get there.
4pm – Jude stands in my bedroom looking at light. Luke acts as call boy and stands at front door, ready shout ‘it’s working’ when I get the right fuse. I crawl around in garage changing fuses until I hear the call. Work out which fuse isn’t working, but don’t have a spare fuse to change it with. Nuts. No lights for me tonight!
4.15pm – lie down on my bed with Emily. Trying to work out why she is so upset and grouchy today. We play with a shape shorter and I phone Steve to ask about fuses.
4.30pm – Emily and I put the photos from Luke’s birthday onto the computer. Have a quick chat with a friend on fb chat about Banbridge Rock show. Give Emily a bottle.
4.30-4.50pm – accounts for nothing. Zombie time. Sat on the bed staring at facebook, looking at photos and recharging my batteries. Should have had a cuppa with me!
5pm – cook dinner and make cuppa. Whilst dinners cooking Emily plays with water again (her theme of the day) whilst I have a strum on the geetar!
5.30-6pm – eat dinner. Feed Emily.
6-6.10pm – fold more laundry from the drier.
6.10pm – 6.35 – ironing in utility room.
6.35-6.50pm – hung ironing away in wardrobes, put all clean laundry away in bedrooms. Then put clean sheets and duvet cover on Luke’s bed.
6.50pm – asked Jude to unload dishwasher so I could load it. She very sweetly loaded it as well, just to help. Bless her. She also sprayed worktops and cleaned the high chair without being asked.
6.50-7.10pm – wash up saucepans, baby bottles and bowls used for cooking dinner. Put previous washing up away. Put fish back in fish tank. Change Emily’s nappy. Pick up todys from around the downstairs. Empty and wash Luke’s lunchbox.
7.10-7.30pm – tidy living room. Put Emily’s PJ’s on. Make Emily a bottle. Sweep living room. Again. Find spare fuses and so go back to the garage to fix the fuse box. Voila, have light again!
7.30pm – Give Emily a bottle and tuck her into her cot. Really hoping she goes to sleep first time tonight, but not expecting it since she’s been pretty bad at bed times all week. Time for a cup of tea now…
7.35 – can already hear Emily calling from her cot. Damnit, how can she not be tired? I am wrecked.
7.35-8 listening to Emily shouting to me from her cot. Talking to Luke.
8-8.30pm veg on the sofa watching Eastenders with Luke.
8.30 So seriously tired that am contemplating actually going to bed once Luke is asleep.
8.30-8.45 messed around on facebook. Really I’m just staring at a computer screen waiting for something to happen. Must give Luke his melatonin and get him ready for bed. Jude is cooking shortbread in the kitchen. Must remember to pee at some point.
8.45-9.20pm – cuddles in bed with Luke. We went on his facebook and said thank you for his birthday messages. We had giggles and cuddles and I scratched his back. Then we laughed and listened to A Brimful Of Asha because he likes the ‘everybody needs a bosom for a pillow bit’.
9.25 – Luke gets ready for bed. He has taken his medication, brushed his teeth and picked a DVD to watch in bed. I’m going to get into bed too and chill for a bit. Usually now I would either veg in front of the telly, or play the guitar in the kitchen all evening.
9.25-9.40pm – finally get Luke into bed. Sam comes home. Show him how to reheat Chilli in the microwave. Pour myself a glass of Southern Comfort and Coke. Now getting into bed.
9.40-10pm – upload Lukes birthday photos onto facebook. Now I’m going to chill out for half an hour and try to get some sleep.