“What do you do all day?” You know, I’m getting really sick and tired of hearing women say about how they argue with their partner about who’s had the worst day or who’s more tired (myself, included) “What do you do all day?” is the most infuriating question to be asked when you’re physically and mentally at the brink of exhaustion. It’s a welcome change for me from, “What, your degree is only in fashion?” I won’t bore you with the details but my degree was NOT easy.
First things first, whether your day was a walk in the park and you went to a baby class, the baby was peaceful and lovely all day, napped on time and was a breeze to look after - you’re still looking after a human being that is completely dependant on you. In my eyes, a great day means, well done, you fucking smashed it. All those books, articles and hours you spent researching on how to keep a baby happy paid off. Let’s not forget this easy day, followed yet another sleepless night. A sleepless night that followed 300+ (in my case, as I have a 10 month old that has never slept through) sleepless nights. Combine this with the fact that your incredibly dumb baby brain, that maintains information worse than using a tennis racket as a sieve, has made it through another day and kept a human alive - and you’re on to a winner.
Even with an easy day with a baby, it’s only 9-5 so try not to gloat too much to your partner as the baby bathes itself and climbs into its own crib just before saying ‘Goodnight’. Oh wait, no, that’s right, being a Mum DOESN’T end at 5! It’s never ending. It is literally never. Ending. It’s a literal 24 hour job, with a few three hour stints of sleep thrown in.
Let’s run with the concept of an easy day, an easy day still doesn’t mean you get to poop by yourself - oh no, you have a tiny human crawling towards you. You can’t sit peacefully on the throne and do your leisurely business, maybe even watching a few Facebook videos - oh no, you’ve got to stop said tiny human from crawling towards the toilet brush, destroying the toilet roll, touching ANYTHING in the bathroom, getting their finger caught in the door, using the walls to stand and making sure they don’t fall on their ass and or/head, picking them up before you flush so the water doesn’t spray their face, then walking away pulling your trousers up one handed. Either this or just - not peeing, until nap time or they are in the baby prison that is - the Jumperoo.
An easy day still means you make 7 meals a day (11 if you’re me and have two dogs too!!) which means cleaning the kitchen four times a day. Cleaning the highchair three times a day. Sweeping up most of the food you prepared as it’s all on the floor three times a day. Cleaning plates, taking out bins, food shopping to feed the five hundred, thinking of meal ideas, thinking of HEALTHY meal ideas, thinking ‘What the hell do I feed him other than something on top of bread three times a day’. Remembering to preheat the oven in time for the food to be cooked and not forgetting cooled, serving it to the baby, before nap time and enough time after a feed that he’s actually hungry and not just going to play with the food you slaved over.
An easy day still consists of lugging a nappy bag full of everything you MIGHT need because you bet the one day you forget a spare vest is the day he shits through his. The day you forgot you used your last wipe yesterday is the day he sneezes and six inches of snot trails down his face. The time you forgot to pack a packet of Mini Cheddars is the day you go for lunch and the food takes nearly an hour to come. You lug a carseat, assemble a pram up and down five times a day, make sure all clips are done up, not too tight, not too loose, pram wheels aren’t dirty before you wheel it into your house.
An easy day still means you had to arrange your entire day around the baby napping. It just means you did it well. Need to go to the bank? Well, the baby needs a nap, where’s he going to sleep? What if I put him down in his bed and he has one of those random two hour naps and I’m stuck at home? (Ah wait, don’t worry, it’s O.K. because I have that MOUNTAIN of laundry, that never ends, to do. I’ve got those dirty dishes and carpets covered in dog hair to hoover. Don’t you worry I’m not short of things to do while the baby naps.) What if he falls asleep in the car on the way? Then I spend 45 minutes sat in a carpark because he wakes up if we get out (I miss the newborn days when they slept through anything) What if we stay in and the postman comes while he’s sleeping and the dog barks for the nine millionth time that day and I shit my pants just a little that it’s woken the baby.
And thats a good day. A BAD day, is a clingy, snotty, teething, crying baby that won’t let you put him down, arches his back when he goes in the car seat, bites you, claws your hair, pokes you in the eye, doesn’t sleep, doesn’t eat and has the worst consistency of nappies known to man, crawls away half way through a nappy change so poo goes EVERYWHERE.
Whether the day has been good, or the day has been a disaster - the baby sleeps exactly the same. And in my case, this is - terribly. So not only is the day tough, but the day is spent surviving on a shitty nights sleep. Which makes your patience as near close to zero as humanly possible. In all honesty I can’t actually believe I’m still alive and functioning on how little sleep I get. I never thought my body would still work getting up 8 times a night. Not forgetting I now have a tiny human with EIGHT, yes eight, teeth feeding on me all night with no signs of letting up.
Not that I don’t LOVE being a Mum but my God, it is difficult sometimes. I can’t imagine doing all this for a baby that wasn’t mine. The only thing that gets me through is knowing how much I love him and that he is my baby and the way I take care of him moulds him into the person he’s going to grow up to be. That everything I’m doing is because he depends on me and at the end of a tough day he is still smiling. It is without a doubt unconditional love!
Yes, some days are spent on the sofa watching TV but we all know daytime TV isn’t all that desirable. You may still be in your pyjamas at 11am but that's not because you've been lazing around, it's because you genuinely haven't been able to get dressed. So the next time someone asks what you’ve been doing all day, or says you ought to cook dinner because THEY’VE been at work all day - you take those dirty, soiled nappies and you THROW THEM IN THEIR FACE!