The minutiae of motherhood

Zoey climbing.JPG

This blog is Day One 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!

Hello! Thanks for indulging me as I attempt to record moments from motherhood in real time.

This first post is long, rambling, and could do with some more editing – but I wanted to start this 30-day challenge by recording as many moments as possible: the minutiae of motherhood.

I’ll refine my writing approach as the days go on and strive to share one or two significant moments instead of a detailed play-by-play of us eating breakfast… but, in the interest of getting started, today I recorded each moment as it happened using the notes app on my iPhone. It’s rough around the edges, and probably a little dull in parts, but I hope there’s something in here that speaks to you. x

5.45 am
I’m awake before Zoey – this hasn’t happened in weeks. She’s been waking up at about 4.45 am, demanding a bottle, books, and plenty of attention. I’m stoked she’s still asleep this morning, even though I’m not. Tom’s alarm goes off at 5.20 am every weekday (ouch), so I rarely sleep in later than this, although I try to stay in bed for as long as possible. I’m taking Zoey’s ‘sleep in’ as a good omen for this 30-day writing challenge!

5.49 am
Tom leaves for work. If he leaves now, the commute takes about 15mins. If he waits until around 6.30-7 am, he could be sitting in traffic for close to an hour. So, he leaves early to get a headstart on the day. And to keep on top of his crazy workload – his job is extremely demanding. Last week, he took a vacation day and his phone rang at 6.30 am –  I gawked, but Tom didn’t even blink an eye. “Welcome to my life,” he said. I can’t fathom a job where it’s normal for your phone to start ringing that early.

Tom works exceptionally hard and I try to support him as best I can. He’s ambitious and driven and he enjoys his work (most of the time). I’m grateful for the many ways he provides for our family. But I’d be lying if I said I found it easy, that I didn’t sometimes wish he worked a less stressful, less demanding job.

I, too, am ambitious and driven and enjoy my work – but I’m also the primary caregiver to Zoey and I take care of running our home. It was confronting how quickly we fell into ‘traditional gender roles’ when we became parents, but it was also unsurprising. We never discussed that Tom would be the main breadwinner and that I would stay at home with Zoey – it was always accepted as a given, for both of us.

It’s only since becoming a mum that I’ve wondered how things might have been different if I’d had the forethought to challenge this norm, to explore alternatives. But, to be honest, I was pretty naive about the impact a baby would have on my career. I didn’t really think about it, my approach was pretty much: let’s try for a baby and see where the cards fall. I didn’t feel like it was something I could plan for or influence, especially as I was told having a baby could take a long time due to my autoimmune condition (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis). In reality, conceiving Zoey took three months – the most precious gift, but also a big adjustment for my 26-year-old naive self.

6.08 am
I’d love to write more about our transition to becoming parents (and how motherhood has changed my career trajectory), but Zoey’s awake! You can expect my entries to get significantly shorter from here on in…

6.15 am
First nappy of the day changed – it’s often the most challenging one. Zoey doesn’t ease into her mornings; she’s a 0-100 kind of kid. When she wakes up she wants everything right away – her toys, her bottle, her crayons, anything she sets her eyes on. She’s usually shrieking with excitement to begin playing and doing all the things. So she hates that she has to endure a nappy change first thing. But it has to be changed, so we start the day with a decent battle of wills. It can only get easier from here, right?

6.41 am
We’re colouring in. I’ve managed to down a cup of tea. Zoey is not at all tolerant of me taking breaks from colouring to write notes on my phone. Every time I take a break, she shrieks “Mummy colouring! Mummy do it!”.

Zoey colouring.JPG

6.55 am
I just sang the alphabet song for about the sixth time this morning. She demands this by chanting “ABCD! ABCD! ABCD!”

7 am
Zoey just followed me to the toilet. She sees me going to the loo as an exciting event that she must attend. I don’t share her enthusiasm for this little ritual.

7.05 am
Breakfast time. I had to confiscate the colouring because Zoey drew on her chair. I think I can get it off with Jif, but it’s the principle, right?

She’s in her high chair, which is a win, but she’s refusing to wear her bib unless I wear one and I’m not in the mood (I guess she gets her stubbornness from somewhere…). So she’s not wearing a bib, and her cute new pajama onesie will probably be forever purple from blueberries. Maybe I should have put on the damn bib.

7.15 am
I’m cleaning up the breakfast dishes and Zoey finds a bit of plastic from the frozen blueberries – the part you tear off to open the seal of a new packet. She’s running it along her teeth. We lock eyes. She looks at me square in the eye and says “don’t eating” while continuing trying to ingest the plastic. I try not to laugh. I find it hilarious when she acknowledges she’s doing something she shouldn’t and then just stares at me like, what you gonna do about it? (I put it in the bin).

7.20 am
I said “table” and she thought I said “play dough”, but I don’t want to get out the play dough. So now she is wailing like it’s the end of days.

7.25 am
I’m sitting in an armchair, taking a breather. Zoey crawls into my knee and gives me a spontaneous cuddle (the best). Then she hits my face in an ‘affectionate’ way and cackles. I guess you take the good with the weird, right?

7.30 am
Zoey’s climbing in one of the few areas of the house I don’t allow – on the window sills behind some of the couches (see the main pic of this article for a visual). She likes to blow raspberries on the glass and try to put her head out the window. It’s kind of cute but I don’t like her playing on glass (for obvious reasons) so I have to play bad cop and take her down. She gets kind of crazed when I do this, and immediately starts to try to climb up again. This is usually my cue that I need to move the morning along pronto and get this kid out for some fresh air.

7.31 am
I’ve put her in her pram in front of the Wiggles. I do this most mornings. It gives me 10 minutes to get ready in relative peace, knowing she’s strapped into a pram and zombied-out by ‘Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy’ so I can take a shower or whatever. This morning, I just get into my walking gear.

7.47 am
We’re out for a walk!! The first outing of the day always feels like a massive accomplishment.

Out for a walk.JPG

9.10 am
Home from the walk, hot drink in hand (for me) and savoury muffin from the cafe for Zoey’s lunch (because when I go for a morning walk, I sacrifice the time I would otherwise spend making her sandwiches, etc). Tom’s mum (Grandma) is coming at 10am to look after Zoey while I work, so I have 50 minutes to get myself showered and dressed, Zoey dressed (she’s still in her PJs and dressing gown), and the house looking half-decent. I know Grandma wouldn’t mind if the house was a bombsite and Zoey was butt naked, but I think I would. It’s nice to leave the house in relative peace, not too much chaos.

10.30 am
I’m at ‘work’ – I’ve taken my laptop to Tom’s parents place while his mum looks after Zoey at our place. We do this house-swap every Monday and it’s amazing. It’s much easier to switch into work mode when I’m out of my own house and away from distractions like laundry, dishes, and a fridge full of my own food. I’ve got a decent to-do list today: a few blog posts and some editing – so it’s time to focus on the precious time I have set aside to work.

3.45 pm
Home from work. Nothing beats seeing Zoey’s face light up when I walk through the door. Which is good, because it’s straight back to mum mode from the moment I get in the house. I’ve barely put down my laptop bag and Zoey is begging me to get out the colouring books and sit down to play.

4 pm
I coloured with Zoey for 15mins, which may not seem like a long time but if I’m completely honest, I got a bit bored. I’m working on being present for longer time slots, but it’s easier in many ways to dip in and out. Besides, I have pumpkin to chop for dinner tonight.

Zoey colouring in.JPG

4.30 pm
The pumpkin is roasting in the oven, and I’ve got a stack of books to read to Zoey. She doesn’t let me finish many (she likes to skip ahead or swap books mid-reading), but this is still one of the happiest moments of my day. I adore reading to her and I’m already excited about when she’s old enough to listen to books like Harry Potter. I so hope she’ll let me read to her for years and years to come.

5 pm
I’m on my yoga mat for some Yoga With Adriene. I’m trying to do yoga every evening, – straight after I put Zoey to bed and before I eat dinner – but I need to fit it in earlier today because it’s Game of Thrones night!!! Yoga with Zoey is not at all relaxing, and I have to skip most of the poses because she’s sitting on me, but it is really entertaining (for both of us). She loves that I’m hanging out on the floor with her, being ‘silly’ (in her mind). It’s a great way for me to be present with her while also getting a bit of a stretch.

5.30 pm
The Wiggles are back on while I finish off dinner. Zoey is watching them while lying down on my yoga mat. She looks very zen.

Zoey watching the Wiggles.JPG

6 pm
Tom walks in the door – Daddy’s home! I love it when he makes it home in time for Zoey’s bedtime. Not just because I’m tired, but because we can all be together for a little while – a small slice of family time. Although, today I don’t linger – I escape to our bedroom while Tom gives Zoey dinner and then does the bedtime routine, so I can start typing up this blog post.

9.30 pm
I’m putting the finishing touches on this blog post and uploading it to my website (this part always takes longer than I think). I’m tired AF but I’m behind schedule because we watched Game of Thrones straight after Zoey went to bed and then I got lost in a Reddit thread of Game of Thrones theories… which I plan to return to immediately after finally pushing publish.

Day one of 30 days of motherhood - in the bag!

Until tomorrow,
Jess x