My husband and I recently celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. I use the term “celebrated” lightly. We didn’t actually have time to do any kind of celebrating.
On that day, we had a wedding to attend at 4pm. A good friend asked if we were planning to celebrate our anniversary before that. I told her that by the time we woke up, walked the dog, prepared and ate breakfast, washed the dishes, did the laundry, ran out to the supermarket to buy food/snacks for Miss A for the wedding, cooked/packed said food/snacks, packed everything we will need (including toys, colouring books, spare clothes, pajamas, toothbrush etc), got everyone in the house changed and presentable, loaded everything in the car, dropped the dog off at the dogsitter’s (we would be gone nine hours – a dog’s got to go out to pee!) and found our way to the venue…there would be no time for lunch and we will be late for the wedding.
Here is an important fact you should know if you don’t have offspring yet: Kids are black holes that suck in all the time and energy around them. If you’ve ever wanted to ask what a stay-at-home mum “does all day”, here’s a word of advice: DON’T. Unless getting punched in the face is on your bucket list.
When Miss A is awake, it takes two or three times longer than normal to get anything done. My husband usually tries to get out of the house before she wakes because if she’s up before him, he’ll be late and she will be upset that he is rushing off. Nobody wins. So if she wakes early I often stall her in the bedroom. There have even been times when I didn’t realise he was still home and let her out the bedroom and he has had to ninja roll himself out the door.
On the flip side, when the kids are asleep or occupied, you find yourself going in fast forward mode and becoming ultra efficient. The pressure is on! You no longer have the luxury of time. You don’t have all day to do things. They could call out or wake any moment! Go, go, go! Honestly, I get so much more done now in a couple of hours than I ever did with an entire day a few years ago.
You get busy with different things according to the age of the child. Miss A was a very difficult infant and the newborn stage was a relentless cycle of feeding, soothing, holding to sleep…My husband had to do all the cooking and cleaning for the first six months of her life because I just couldn’t get to it. Now my life is very busy with cooking and preparing food, cleaning up and trying to do chores and work while entertaining a toddler yelling for me all the time, and making sure everyone’s basic personal hygiene standards are being observed. I also have a dog who is pretty much a second child. We live in an apartment so I don’t have the option of just opening a door and letting him out to pee. He will only pee on real grass (no fake indoor pee pad for him) so I have to take Miss A down with me when I need to take him out and that is quite a challenge in itself as she hates it. He also barks for food and attention and sometimes gets us up in at night to take him out for a pee or cuddle with him.
By the end of the day, I am exhausted and I have no idea what I just did and have nothing to show for it. All I did was try to maintain the status quo. It feels like I’m doing everything and nothing at the same time.
When I first had Miss A, I did miss my old life a lot. I missed having the time to actually do nothing, browse TV channels, go out for dinners and meet up with friends whenever, wherever. I think initially you pine the idea of one day getting that back but as time goes on, you just start to give up on it and forget it. You get used to the lack of sleep, the screaming, having to do everything at top speed and not being able to procrastinate. You actually start to enjoy your child’s company and no longer desire that much of a “me time” anymore.
Things are definitely getting easier as Miss A grows older. She may sleep less and take up more of my time but it’s much more rewarding and I still much prefer this tantrum-throwing stage to the newborn stage. We are at the stage where we are thinking of a second (or third if you count the dog) child and it’s definitely very scary thinking of dealing with a helpless infant again but we definitely want Miss A to grow up with some company. But after two, that will definitely be it! I ain’t got enough time in a day to handle more than that!