I am fortunate enough to be at home during the day with my ‘almost 1 year old’ daughter, seeing that I teach martial arts in the afternoons. In the beginning I thought ‘looking after a baby the whole day? This would be a breeze!’. Boy was I wrong…
To all the Housewives / Homemakers / Mothers out there, I take my hat off to you!
I love my children, don’t get me wrong, I am very fond of both my 10 year old and my youngest. I write this down as a matter-of-fact experience by a Dad to warn other Dad’s…Do not take this light, Dudes, your wife is tough as nails!
Before I was married and had kids, my life was simple and easy. I would wake up and during the day start thinking about my dreams and goals and things I thought was important in life. Things like how much money you earn, what kind of car you drive (I’ve had a BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Prelude and Jeep), what kind of work you do, what clothes you wear and where you have dinner or drinks or which friends do you meet for a beer!
I was always under the illusion that I had a lot of time left. A lot of life left in my hour glass. The rider on his pale horse would only come to fetch me much later in life. I lived in the now, in the moment, with a total disregard for time, money and friendships / relationships.
Fast forward to today, I wake up dead tired, hanging on by a very thin thread, gulping down some coffee at 3am whilst trying to calm my nerves after I put the dummy back into the little one’s mouth and gave her the favourite cuddly toy so she can get some sleep. I sleep on the floor, I sleep on the couch, I sleep in the car, I sleep during conversations with other adults. I sleep whenever I can, cause when she’s awake I need to be like a sentinel!
But I’m awake because my senses are tuned in to pick up any minute sound that might reflect choking or suffocation. I am a parent. I get up while the alarm clock is blaring in my ears to get my 10 year old ready for school. We have breakfast and conversations about life cycles of plants and why Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez split up?! We discuss the clouds around the tip of the beautiful Outiniqua Mountains on our way to school because every morning it would be different. I haven’t showered and I’m still wearing my pajamas, like some other mothers do when dropping off their kids at school. I am wearing my SALOMON Speedcross 3 Trial Running shoes though, because I’m adventurous at heart and then it feels like other people would not judge my appearance when they notice my great shoes!
I drive home in solitude (it’s a 7 minute drive…) and start thinking about the day ahead with the little one. What will she eat, when will she sleep, what can we play in a developmental way because all the magazines describe in fine detail what benchmarks your kid is supposed to reach at what second. If they don’t, they’re doomed to be a failure (magazines are ridiculous). They play on your fear as a parent and that’s how they make their money. I rely heavily on instinct, not what I’ve read.
I think about the Pre-Paid electricity, do we have enough on the meter? I think about the geyser, when do I switch it on to get hot water but still save electricity? In South Africa, with all our rich coal deposits, we have a National Energy Regulator who exports all the good coal to other countries, and leave the crap coal back here. Then with rains and whatnot the coal gets wet, the dilapidated infrastructure gets screwed, and the Powers that Be switches of the power grid nationwide. I just need some electricity to boil water, to make a bottle, to feed my baby. Is that too much to ask?
When I get home, my day starts with my little princess. What a wonderful little human being, I love her to bits. She is everything and more, and she is 100% reliant on me to get her through the day alive. I’m like Superman, Batman, Spiderman and the Hulk all rolled into one!
My wife goes to work, and I know that she misses our daughter every second that she does not spend time with her. I love my wife, she’s the best mother I know.
Back to the baby: After taking a bath (can’t shower, the noise will wake her) while she is taking her morning nap, I tiptoe to my closet to get my outfit for the day. Yes, I used to wear Levi Strauss, Polo, GAP, Adidas, Nike, all the expensive nice stuff. What do I wear now, el-cheapo shirt and pants, to counter the possibility of baby food, spit, vomit, milk and all other bodily fluids that seem to just appear out of nowhere with a baby on your lap. Nothing nicer than realising after you changed a dirty nappy that some sticky brown awful smelling residue got stuck on your wrist (don’t know how it got there in the first place, I used wipes and hand sanitizer?!). I get dressed, and mentally prepare myself for battle!
Breakfast is tricky with little ones. Try aiming a teaspoon filled with porridge at a teeny weeny mouth opening for a fraction of a second while she’s sitting at your DVD collection carelessly throwing your Bruce Springsteen Concert DVDs around like flying Saucers (She obviously doesn’t know who he is…). Awesome feeling. I’m a rather good marksman, but this is a true test of character! After 30 minutes and 17 spoonsful landing on your Persian rug (Sorry Honey!) and it seems that she had her fill. Mission accomplished!
She has some tea and then it’s play time! I glance at my Cellular Telephone and notice 2 000 missed calls and 700 voice messages, 400 SMS’s and 278 e-mails. I ignore all of them because if she sees me with the phone, she wants it! She chews on it, shakes it, bites it, slobbers all over the speaker and microphone… I have to leave it in the rice container in the pantry for 3 days afterwards just to get rid of the moisture… so if you were looking for me, I’m sorry I can’t take your call right now, I’m raising a child!
Two hours after she woke up, my internal instinct alarm tells me that I have to start looking for ‘signs’ that she’s tired (actually my smart wife told me this…) I read everything as a sign and start preparing her bottle for her mid-morning nap.
This time is bliss, because when she’s asleep, I can follow the Oscar Pistorius Trial on Twitter! (At the writing of this I still believe he is innocent and it was all just a major accident…)
When she wakes up around noon, we prepare lunch, and get ready to fetch her sister from school. I now look and feel better than in the morning when I dropped my 10 year old off at school, and so does all the other parents..
So far, I have had no time for myself today…
We get home and eat lunch (I take 2 bites…), the kids play a bit while I check on laundry, groceries, the ever threatening Pre-Paid Electricity ticking away!
My 10 year old has homework and she excuses herself to go and prepare her mind for educational purposes. I am astonished at how quickly she got this big and how much she knows about Justin Bieber?! (Who is this guy anyway…?)
I get the little one ready for her afternoon nap, my parental instinct operating at full capacity!
I still had no time for myself today…
I pass out from exhaustion on the carpet next to her bed and sleep for 20mins, my wife arrives and I prepare to go teach martial arts at my school. I finish and head home and I know we are now going to start preparing for dinner, bath time and sleep, so I stretch my aching back muscles, take a few gulps of lukewarm coffee (this morning’s cup which I re-heated in the microwave…) and start thawing the meat we are preparing for our 3 course sit down dinner (just kidding, we eat basic protein, carbs and greens all in 1 plate…).
Little one is sleeping, 10 year old is done with homework and telling me about Justin Bieber and wondering why I’m lecturing her about the brilliance of Bruce Springsteen while she’s helping to put the DVDs away…
10 year old is asleep, I ask my wife how her day was, but I fall asleep while she’s answering the question… (Sorry Honey!)
Tomorrow, I’m at it again, hopefully only at 5am, and not 3am like this morning!
- All Moms, Housewives, Homemakers are tough as nails – RESPECT.
- Always wear good shoes: Thank you SALOMON Speedcross 3.
- Bruce Springsteen will ALWAYS be The Boss