Last week, I had what I affectionately term as “a bloody shit day”. In retrospect, nothing bad actually happened, but I remember commenting to my husband over text that “oh I don’t know, I just feel like a failure today”. Call it parent pressure.

This isn’t one of those misery porn, self-deprecating posts where I crave a bit of sympathy and “aaw, you ok hun?” platitudes. It’s just me, doing what I do best, and having a little moan. Now, we are are extremely lucky in that my husband arrives home from work at about 5.30pm every day, so the DinnerBathBed hell is always a problem halved and a problem shared. However, on this bloody shit day, he’d been invited to a little corporate jolly straight from work, involving food, drink, and football. How wonderful for him, I’m sure you’ll agree.

It was to be a quick turnaround and, as we’re a one-car household, he asked if I could work from home so that he could drive to work. This would allow him to get back, change, and walk to the venue in plenty of time forĀ all that corporate jolliness. So, I was largely aboard the good ship Solo Parent, but it was fine, as I’d had a couple of weeks to warm up to the idea. “It is on the calendar! It’s definitely on the calendar!” <– Our standard caveat for any situations where we’re desperate to maintain some sort of life beyond parenting.

On this so-called shit day, here’s what I did, in rough chronological order.

  • Got up, did a work out
  • Showered, dressed, rallied the girls out the door
  • Dropped them at nursery and walked home
  • Pitched in a 9 hour working day, with a 45 minute walk in the sunshine at lunchtime
  • Put on three loads of washing
  • Hung three loads of washing out to dry
  • Put three loads of washing away
  • Phoned the dentist
  • Collected the girls from nursery
  • Chatted to a friend outside nursery who I’ve not seen in ages
  • Shared texts with three other friends I’ve not seen in ages (there’s a theme to my social life)
  • Made myself dinner and a snack for the girls
  • Cleaned up the mess in the kitchen (for even a handful of fruit and some plain pasta makes an unlikely amount of mess)
  • Loaded the dishwasher
  • Made a picnic lunch for us to take out the next day
  • Cleaned the microwave (tomato sauce spillage)
  • Put some hair dye on
  • Played with the girls before bath
  • Showered and washed the hair dye off while the girls brought every conceivable toy into the bathroom
  • Ran their bath, washed their hair, brushed their teeth
  • Read them a bedtime story (Mouse chose “Guess How Much I Love You” – why would she do this to me when I’m already all the emosh!)
  • Breastfed Moo theoretically to sleep, and then rocked her for twenty minutes when my milk ran out and she was a bit pissed off at me
  • Unloaded the dishwasher
  • Took the bins out
  • Got out outfits for the three of us for the next day, to save time in the morning
  • Closed all the blinds and curtains (I know, this is not a big deal, but there’s an awful lot of blinds)
  • Did a bit more ‘day job’ work that I didn’t have time to do in the day
  • Wrote and submitted two posts for a freelance client
  • Tidied up my 2016/17 self employed earnings record, and created a blank one for the 2017/2018 financial year
  • Checked on the girls, several times
  • Tried not to scowl when my husband sent a message to tell me what he’d had for dinner

How is that a failed day? What more could I possibly have wrung out of my 17 waking hours, given that I was technically at work for more than half of it, and the above only details everything BEYOND what I did work-wise? What else was I hoping to achieve, a spot of light domestic housework and some batch cooking for the freezer?

I can’t be the only one to heap so much pressure on myself, to try and be everything to everyone all at once, and set ridiculous to-do lists. I also can’t be the only one to then feel crushed by the guilt, that I should have done MORE and maybe if I’d just got up at 5am instead of 6am, I might have squeezed in an extra load of washing or a longer workout.

Adulting is hard, right? Definitely time to adopt a bit more self-care, I think. That day was a bloody productive day.

-SJW April 2017