What did it mean to you before you had kids? I was all like ‘yeah I got a routine’ y’know. I go to work, I get paid. I normally go to bed. I always clean my teeth but sometimes if it’s too late or I’m too tipsy I skip washing my face (oh shuddup, you do too). Sometimes I eat breakfast but if I’m not hungry I just grab something mid morning and then have a late lunch. Yeah. Routine’.
And then you have kids. And someone is offering to look after them for you because you need to pop to the shops and the hairdresser this afternoon. Brilliant! Perfect! and the person who is looking after them doesn’t have kids but they used to love watching ‘Outnumbered’ so you feel like they’ll get the general gist. They eat, sleep, play, y’know the drill. And then they ask ‘what’s their routine?’ And then you’re like ‘yes they have a routine, but I’m a completely laid back, flexible and rational person and it won’t kill them to let it slide for an afternoon, I’ll just write down the essentials for you’ and then you start writing. And writing. And writing. And it looks a little like this:
2.15pm: Give baby bottle. She prefers it if you jig a bit to the left whilst singing the chords from ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’. Coolio circa 95. Long story. Put her in snowsuit thing and pop in buggy.
2.30pm: Wake up toddler from nap for school pick up prep. He will cry for approx 10 mins (time it takes to put on coat and boots) but will stop once buggy moving when you reach post box at end of the road. Do NOT stop moving the buggy. This is crucial. Pretend you are like the bus in the film Speed, this (inexplicably) helps.
3pm: Pick up from school. MUST arrive bearing snacks. Preferably bananas so look health conscious to other mums. NB if you forget there will be a protest, possibly a ‘sit in’ on the pavement and definitely some chanting about being hun-gerrrr-eeyy.
3.20pm: Have biscuit tin available on kitchen table as soon as you enter house to avoid cupboards being searched on arrival home. Two cups (one yellow, one blue) to be on table with squash in. MAKE absolute sure that the blue one goes to the ‘school year old’ (same colour as Elsa’s dress, obv.) and the yellow one to the slightly smaller one (so it matches his banana).
3.30pm: Make sure the ‘school one’ does her reading. If the ‘school one’ doesn’t do her reading now won’t get done as later she will be too tired or her mum will forget (wench). The slightly smaller one usually fills his nappy around now. Let him wander off behind the sofa and leave him be. He doesn’t perform if watched. The baby will sit in the high chair and chew the school ones book bag. This will keep her happy for 5-7 minutes. Then pop her in the door bouncer in the kitchen and sporadically give her a little nudge to keep her mobile and happy.
4.00pm: Start dinner prep. To ensure minimal histrionics have dinner on table at approx 4.49. If you do not meet this deadline be prepared to cut up apples for snacks with your feet for the eldest whilst balancing the toddler on one hip and the baby on the other.
4.49pm: Feed the baby homemade pureed goodness (FYI baby jars- third drawer down on the left).
5.30pm: Allow 14 minutes of play so you can tidy up dinner and put dishwasher on. (Play in this instance = watching TV with a toy in their hands whilst occasionally snatching someone else’s toy. That’s ok, they enjoy it)
5.44pm: You must initiate movement upstairs at this point and not a MOMENT later. If you have a siren then sound it. Any later and they are too tired to move/wash/put pjs on. Do NOT miss the boat on this. Tired kids + bath and bedtime requires ear defenders, a water shield and an onsite therapist.
I’ll be home by 6, have fun!
I’m just so pleased that having kids hasn’t changed me.