Singing in the car

Singing in the car post.png

This blog is Day Three of my 30 days of motherhood blogging challenge. Every day, for 30 days, I’ll be sharing diary-style snippets of my life as a working mum to one cheeky toddler. Consider this part creative experiment, part indulgent self-therapy. Feel free to play along at home! You can read Day One and Day Two here.

5 am
Zoey is ‘singing’ what Tom jokes is “the song of her people” – a monotonous, droning whinge. It’s not a cry and she’s not in distress – in fact, she’s usually still asleep. She just likes to ‘whinge’ herself (and us) awake. It’s her thing. We laugh about it, even though it’s quite painful.

Our girl is not much of a morning person (despite her early starts). I know some toddlers wake up happy and lie in their cot babbling away. Not our Zoey. Sometimes, she’ll whinge herself back to sleep, so we don’t go in too early. Instead, we both lie there and wonder who will cave to the whinge first. This morning, Tom did (yus – he got the first nappy!). And so the day begins.

7.55 am
You’d think being woken up at 5 am would give me ample time to get out of the house by 7.30 am, right? I’m meant to be meeting my mum at 8 am a half hour drive away and we’re running very late. This irks me – I’m normally the sort of person who’s on time (or even annoyingly early) – but thankfully my mum understands. I imagine I’ve held her up quite a few times in my 28 years.

The worst part is, I’m running late because I tried to be too organised. I prepped a slow-cooker meal the night before; all I had to do was pour in the liquid and turn it on before I left the house (all while basking in the smugness of my efficiency). Instead, that one tiny addition to my already hectic morning seemed to tip me over the edge.

Or maybe it’s just that getting Zoey dressed is a half-hour exercise that starts with me asking her very nicely to get dressed and ends with me physically holding her down, dodging blows to the face as she thrashes like a fish, forcing her to wear clothes.

But no, it couldn’t be that. I blame the beef bourguignon.

8.15 am
Traffic is light, so we make very good time. We’re meeting my mum halfway between our place and hers (she lives about 45 mins away). Zoey is spending the day at my mum’s house, which is like her version of paradise – there’s a huge lawn to run around, chickens to feed (and chase), and a doting, devoted ‘Granby’. And today, Granby’s house is even more special: her youngest kid, my 10-year-old little brother (Zoey’s uncle!) is on school holidays. Yep, my mum and I are ‘parenting together’. Obviously at very different stages, but still. It’s weird and glorious at the same time. Zoey adores Olly (he might just be her most favourite person) – I know she’s going to have such a fun day.

8.30 am
I hand my mum the nappy bag, thank her profusely for having Zoey again (I’m so lucky to have so much family help), kiss Zoey goodbye, and head back home to work.

3.00 pm
I made good progress on a few big projects today, although I’ll probably still have to work over Easter weekend. Being self-employed is wonderfully flexible, but often that flexibility means evening and weekend work. I never feel like I’m finished, like I can truly clock off. There’s always more work to be done. But it’s early days yet (I’ve been self-employed for nearly 4 years, but I’ve only been a self-employed mum for 20 months!). Must keep reminding myself that it’s okay not to have it all figured out.

3.30 pm
Back in the car to pick up Zoey. Going to thoroughly enjoy listening to the radio and not pointing out every passing bus.

5.30 pm
If you’re wondering why this post is called ‘singing in the car’, let me unravel the mystery for you. We got stuck in traffic on the motorway on the way home – probably for about an hour, although I can’t remember exactly. It felt like ten hours. Zoey hates her carseat at the best of times and toddlers aren’t known for their tolerance…

It took me about 10 mins to figure out that telling Zoey ‘we’re stuck in traffic and mummy can’t do anything about it’ wasn’t going to cut the mustard. So, I started singing. I belted out Old MacDonald like my life depended on it, crooned ABCD like it was my favourite song in the world, and even gave Hakuna Matata a few tries (I only remember one verse; Zoey wasn’t very impressed).

Then came a very proud/weird moment, a moment that epitomises just how much my life has changed since becoming a mum: I recited ‘Baa Baa Smart Sheep’ (one of Zoey’s favourite books) from memory.

In case you don’t know it, this book is about a sheep that tricks a turkey into eating its poo. Not even kidding. I’m still on the fence about whether it’s hilariously clever or just plain gross, but I can recite it word for word.

You know what, the drive home was kind of fun. A torturous kind of fun, but fun all the same. One thing is for sure: I didn’t think about work for even a moment. I was too caught up in the present moment, as weird and wonderful as it was.

6 pm
We may have got home late, but at least dinner is ready! The house smells delicious, the beef bourguignon tastes great, surely Zoey will at least give it a try.

Hahaha. She won’t go near it (not even when I impersonate the carrot and give it a voice and a personality and everything!). She’s also refusing everything else I offer her, except for pineapple. Dinner of champions.

Does anyone else have a toddler who barely eats dinner? It always makes me feel like such a failure.

7.30 pm
Zoey is unsettled tonight. I think she’s finally falling asleep. She needed a lot of cuddles and physical touch – apparently singing in the car wasn’t enough, even if it was kind of fun. I’m more than happy to give her cuddles and sit with her in her room until she finally settles. Sleepy toddler cuddles are the best.

9.30 pm
My eyes are drooping as I put the finishing touches on this blog. I’m thoroughly enjoying writing about my days, but it’s far more time consuming than I expected! I’ve got so much to say, and every moment feels like it’s more than just a moment – like it’s part of a bigger conversation. Every nappy change, every battle of wills, every cuddle, every laugh – there’s so much more happening than just what’s on the surface.

But I guess that’s why I gave myself 30 days… I can always reflect on motherhood more tomorrow.

Thanks for reading along!

Jess x