A fairly recent personal revelation: Looking after kids is WORK.
You know those conversations with those stay-at-home-mums who ‘don’t go to work’ but to be politically correct we say “Oh, but you do work! You are taking care of the kids”. Well, it’s not just a politically correct statement; it is the honest to goodness truth.
I used to wonder what on earth those stay-at-home-mums do all day to occupy themselves. I mean after all, children just need to eat, nap and play all day, but what does the mother do whilst the kids are playing nicely by themselves and napping and in between those activities?
If you’re wondering the same thing, I shall enlighten your curiosity by sharing a sample schedule of one of my stay-at-home days:
7.00am Wake up, wash up and change Nathan out of his pyjamas
7.15am Prepare breakfast
7.30am Feed Nathan breakfast. Nathan now must to have his own empty bowl and spoon to feed Teddy and I whilst I spoon his breakfast into his mouth. Sometimes he wants to feed himself and the task becomes an even messier and time-consuming task then it normally is.
8.00am Clean up breakfast mess and dishes
8.15am Organise laundry to load into the washing machine. Nathan tries to ‘help’ by pulling out his clean clothes from the drawer and dumping them into the basket
8.30am Nathan usually does a poo around this time. Changing nappies has now become a real physical activity of keeping a firm hold on Nathan’s legs and distracting him with a toy while I wipe him clean. We often end up doing what another blogger called ‘the crocodile death roll’ with him yelling, flipping, rolling and trying to desperately to crawl away while I hold on to his legs, ending up in the wheelbarrow race position (Nathan being the wheelbarrow).
8.45am Hang up laundry. Nathan tries to ‘help’ by running away with the peg basket, tipping the pegs out and poking individual pegs into the ground
9.00am Get Nathan ready to go out, pack bag with water, milk, snacks, spare nappies, clothes, wipes etc.
9.15am Get myself ready. I do the 5-minute routine of tinted moisturiser, cheek-bronzer and a swipe of lipbalm
9.20am Load Nathan and bag into the car and drive off to nearby shopping centre
9.30am Arrive just in time for ‘Story Time’ at the local library. I take advantage of such programs to let Nathan have some organised activity where they do singing, tell stories and do some craft-time with the kids. He is one of the youngest in the group, so most of the time I have to keep him occupied with snacks during story time and help him with his craft activity.
10.30am Stop by the shops for groceries/supplies
10.45am Head home for lunch
11.00am Prepare Nathan’s lunch
11.30am Feed Nathan lunch (refer to 7.30am breakfast time for description of the process)
12.00pm Change Nathan’s nappy, give him his milk and put him down for nap
12.15pm Eat my lunch
12.30pm Clean up lunch mess, wash dishes etc.
01.00pm Catch up on any housework (e.g. cleaning, folding laundry) or catch up on sewing, blogging, emails etc.
01.45pm Start dinner prep (slicing, chopping, marinating etc.)
02.30pm Nathan starts stirring and wakes up from nap
02.45pm Change Nathan’s nappy (repeat ‘crocodile death roll’ manoeuvre)
03.00pm Give Nathan his afternoon snack. Sometimes I let him feed himself which leads to the following result…
03.30pm Spend some play-time with Nathan, e.g. reading or playing together with him, sometimes I try do something different like making playdoh or doing a craft/colouring activity with him
04.30pm Head outside to take down laundry. Nathan tries to ‘help’ in his own way by emptying the peg basket and tossing pegs into the laundry basket.
04.45pm Take Nathan out to the backyard for some outdoor exercise, usually he just likes to run around and occasionally stops to pick up some bits of stones or sticks and runs back to give them to me
05.00pm Start preparing dinner
05.30pm Feed Nathan his dinner (see 7.30am breakfast and 11.30am lunch for description of process)
06.00pm Hubby arrives home and plays with Nathan while I finish cooking dinner
06.30pm Feed Nathan his ‘dessert’ – usually fruit with custard or yoghurt
07.00pm Hubby bathes Nathan while I prepare his pyjamas, night nappy and milk
07.15pm Hubby gives Nathan his milk and puts him to bed
07.30pm Nathan finally in bed while hubby and I finally sit down for dinner
I can tell you this schedule is totally different compared to my go-to-office days. At the end of the day I’m really wiped out. Sometimes by 9.00/9.30pm I’m already collapsed in bed. Looking after, lifting, carrying and running around after an active 16-month is no walk in the park – especially since he’s now fully transitioned to just one nap a day.
But still there is this underlying idea that staying at home to look after the kids is not in a sense ‘real’ work. Even I myself still subconsciously think so. Sometimes when people ask me whether I’ve gone back to work, I catch myself replying “oh, I work on XYZ days but I stay at home to look after Nathan the other days”. Then I think to myself and realise: There is a reason I need to PAY someone to look after my child for me. Feeding, changing and teaching/playing with a child IS work, PHYSICAL HARD WORK.
Anyway, that’s my long-winded way of explaining the lack of updates on my blog recently.
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