I have been asked a few times ‘What do you do all day?’ This, as Samwise Gamgee discovered once, is the kind of question that requires “a week’s answer or none”. So it’s usually none. But hey, if you’re interested, read on (it will take less than a week, I promise).
I work from home, and while I’d love this to be a simple 9-5, or even 9-3, with a break to meet my girlfriends for a latte and organic ciabatta in the park, followed by playing educational games with my children before rustling up a healthy tea with some fresh ingredients from the local Italian deli, it never really pans out that way.
So, in case you were wondering why I’m so tired all the time, when all I do is sit on my arse all day watching BBC iPlayer (OK yes, this does happen, but only when I have sitty-downy work to do), or why I have no social life outside the internet, here is a sample of what really happens. This was my yesterday (literally, not metaphysically):
7am: Wake up (well, not really), make tea, drink tea.
Shower, get dressed, make packed lunches, remind children they need to give me their lunchboxes when they get home from school, because finding one full of ketchup (WTF?)(I didn’t say that) five minutes before we have to leave is really not on. Find lost/missing items, walk to school, walk dog.
9.15am: Eat breakfast whilst checking emails, writing emails, shuffling finances, stuff like that. Wash up.
Upload project photos to online portfolio – no, wait… rummage through drawers to find camera cable, *then* upload photos.
10.30am: Catch bus into town, search for new school bag for WonderBoy, new bedding for us, and other dull town-tasks. Treat myself to a Lush bath melt, because I’m totally worth it.
1pm: Get home, grab token lunch items, get on with actual sewing work.
2.30pm: Do some cursory housework, including another round of washing up. Walk dog, collect Wonderboy from school.
3.45pm: Get home, make sure everyone has tea/snack/clean water. Collapse in chair, check emails.
4.30pm: More cursory housework (I’ve heard there’s another kind, but it doesn’t sound fun, so I’ve not looked into it further). Prepare dinner. Feed dog.
5.45pm: TV dinner, yay! Watch Agents of SHIELD, shake fist at telly for leaving it so long until the next episode, clear up dropped bits of dinner (the dog won’t eat peas, she’s not much use in that respect), tidy away. Run bath for Wonderboy, put him in it. Put him back in it, because five minutes isn’t long enough, sunshine. Put him back in it again, because splashing doesn’t count as washing, and yes you need to wash.
8pm: Wonderboy clean (enough) and in bed. Sit down with Supergirl and go through GCSE options. History looking remarkably lame, so she switches to Geography instead. Shuffle chosen options around to fit curriculum spaces – honestly this is like mental Tetris – and we’re done! Her future is secured.
9pm: Walk dog. Last minute panic from Supergirl about forgotten ‘food tech’ preparation. Make shortcrust pastry for food tech.
9.45pm: Supergirl in bed. Make tea, unearth chocolate from emergency stash, sit down with a book.
10.30pm: Bed. Beautiful, soft, clean, new, bed.
1.30am: Hug Wonderboy after screaming nightmare, tuck him back into bed.
7am: Start all over again.
So, there you go, that’s what this Work-At-Home-Mum does all day. Not a lot changes – sometimes I manage to sit down a bit earlier in the evenings (pastry at 9pm? Not doing that again), and once our kitchen electrics are fixed I/we will be able to wash up in the evenings rather than having to wait until there’s enough daylight to see how much we haven’t cleaned things. The only thing a bit atypical of this day is the making tea first thing in the morning. My partner usually does that (correction: always does that), because he is amazing and wonderful and he knows that I cannot function without it. I mean, I barely function with it – I’m really not a morning person – but it’s better than not. But sadly he is laid low with a horrible fevery chest-infection, so I’ve done the tea run THREE DAYS IN A ROW now. Seriously, Hercules had it easy compared with the effort I’m putting in here. Anyway, some day soon I’m hoping to steal enough time to use that Lush bath melt, but until then I’ll just store it in the bathroom cupboard and sniff it wistfully every now and again. And now… now I *really* should get on with some work. And no, I don’t know what’s for dinner tonight.