1. A cup of coffee. Long are the days of getting to the bottom of the cup in one sitting. I’ve got used to taking a swig and recoiling in horror when it is stone cold. To be honest, I’m not sure I could survive motherhood without my microwave.
2. A novel. Oh how I used to enjoy reading books! On sofas, on beaches, on flights, and before I switched off the bedroom night every night. How relaxing! How intellectual! These days, however, reading words on a page send me to sleep in a matter of seconds (if I’m not disturbed by a child first, that is).
3. A conversation. We arrange play dates in the hope that we can settle down and enjoy a little adult conversation while our darlings play happily at our feet. Between every sentence, however, we are interrupted by demands for biscuits, fights over a remote control car, or the need to jump up and wipe a snotty nose or rush a child to the toilet before we’re faced with a puddle on the floor and entire outfit change.
4. My lunch. Since my eldest decided that midday naps are overrated, he’s become fascinated with my lunch. A meal that he never knew I ate! What a revelation! And whatever I choose to eat that day, he proclaims he loves more than anything in the world – despite the fact he has rarely tasted it before – and he therefore deserves to eat the majority. I’m considering eating a plate of green vegetables every day – that should do it.
5. A thought process. In the rare moments that the boys are playing nicely, the kitchen is tidy, and I have a second to sit down and think, my mind might turn to a birthday party I need to organise or a trip I have been meaning to plan – until I am distracted by a child approaching the sofa with a pen or the whiff of a stinky nappy. And that’s the end of that.
6. Emails to friends. The same goes for emails to friends. The intention is there – but the reality is that I rarely get further than ‘Hi, how are you?’ before having to rush away from my laptop and forgetting about the draft I saved until weeks down the line.
7. The laundry. It’s a cliché I know, but I really don’t remember the last time I saw the bottom of the laundry basket. Because just when I get close, a child does a wee on a giant towel and once again, the lid doesn’t shut properly again. It’s the law of the world.
8. A relaxing bath. It’s not always the kids, to be fair. It’s usually because I suddenly remember I’ve got packed lunches to make before bed / panic that we’ve lost the library book from school / realise I have less than 6 hours sleep before the alarm goes off. I’m never going to stay in that bath until my fingers are wrinkly, because I seem to have forgotten how to relax.
9. The baby books. I had the very best intentions – and with my first, I didn’t do a bad job. I filled out most of the pages, leaving gaps for the bits that needed a bit more thought. He hasn’t done badly, to be fair. My poor second child, however, has a few pages filled in at the beginning with the rest waiting to be filled out on a rainy day. I’m blaming the fact we have very few of those rainy days in Dubai on the fact that it’s still pretty much blank. Poor neglected second child.
10. A full night’s sleep. Nearly 4 years down the line, I have realised that I may as well give up; the day I will wake up feeling awake and refreshed, thinking ‘wow, what an amazingly fulfilling night’s sleep that was!” is decades away. Decades, I tell you. Until then, I will always feel like sleep has been unjustly snatched away from me as one child crawls up onto our bed at the crack of dawn to steal my leg space, whilst the other child prods me in the eye to see if I’m awake.
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