Four Days of Bliss
This is a guest post written for me by Brand Meets Blog, for modern mothers who need to find their bliss where they can.
My husband has four days off work and offered to “do the school run for me”. FOR ME. I don’t have four days off work. So, yes, you can ‘do the school run’ but you can do it for “our son”. Over the next four days, I experienced bliss. Not because I work from home so it meant I didn’t have to get out of my PJs. Not because I avoided the run with a school-hating seven year old to his most hated destination, listening to the whining and the complaining… not because it meant I had time to leisurely drink my coffee… but because for the first time in my child’s schooling history, my husband would see what mornings are actually all about.
I explain to the husband what is involved in the morning routine. He seems to understand. At 25 minutes before leaving time, I hear him say – time to get dressed mate. He then disappears. It’s ten minutes to leaving time and the child is still in PJs. I ask “What’s going on?” Husband is busily having a nice long hot shower and styling his hair, ready to make a public appearance (he likes to keep himself nice). Child replies “I can’t get ready, I haven’t had my breakfast”. So I slap together some Weetbix and check his lunchbox. Still in the dishwasher. I make his lunch and fill his water bottle and put it in his bag. Child farts around not eating his breakfast. I take the tablet and the TV remote control to ensure a speedy end to the morning meal.
Husband emerges from bathroom clean shaven and smelling sweetly. He’s horrified that the child is still in PJs. The child complains that he can’t find his uniform. Husband panics. Is the uniform clean, ironed, in the place it should be? Yes. It is. That was my job. Child just didn’t look.
It’s time to leave. Child is in PJs. Whining. Husband is ranting and making his signature *sigh* sounds. After a drama over the socks being “too big, too small, too scratchy, not his favourite” the child climbs in the car, in yesterday’s socks, in just enough time to make it before the “need a late slip bell” sounds.
Day One Result: Husband fresh and clean shaven but manic with panic. Child in comfortable but not clean socks. Didn’t brush his teeth or his hair. Nearly needed a late slip. I made the breakfast, made the lunch, packed the bag and did all the other morning stuff (feeding of pets, making of coffee etc)
After the disaster that was day one, husband has breakfast on the table by 7.30am. Child powers through his Weetbix and it looks like today will be a better day. Husband postpones the shower but spends a good 20 minutes grooming and shaving. At “get ready time” child has polished off his Weetbix. Husband is gearing up for a good morning, until the child decides to “play him”.
I’m still hungry. In fact, I’m starving. This is a delay tactic, the seven year old has three Weetbix in his stomach. The proper way to handle this is to reply with “OK, get dressed and you can have some grapes in the car on the way”. Instead, the husband cuts him up a whole apple into bite sized pieces and leaves him in the lounge room, where “Minecraft” lives. Ten minutes later I find the child 1/3 of the way through his apple. I employ my best “mum’s not happy” voice and bark “GET DRESSED”. Meanwhile the husband is standing in the kitchen looking confused by the lunch box. So far, he has packed a piece of left over steak (?), a chicken drumstick (?), a packet of chips (?) and a whole apple.
I remind him that the child has loose teeth and can’t eat apples whole… or steak for that matter. I get the grapes, cherry tomatoes, yoghurt and sandwich stuff out and help him prepare a more appropriate lunch. Child is finally dressed and tells dad that he’s ready to go. UH! Teeth and face. Brush your teeth, wash your face. NOW. He would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for that pesky mum! They pile into the car and race to school. Husband has to go get a late slip.
Day Two Result: Child is clean and fed and arrives at school with lunch. Needs a late slip. Forgot his homework. Forgot his library book. Close enough. Husband is a nervous wreck who spends an hour in the shower. I only had to help make the lunch, do the shouting and feed the pets. Winning.
Day three is tuckshop day. Husband sees this as a coup. The whole lunch routine is out the window. Easy street is coming his way. Child is eating breakfast, uniform (including comfortable socks) is waiting on his bed. The missed homework and library book are in the bag. The water bottle is full. The husband is clean and clean shaven.
Why? Husband set his alarm and got up a full hour early to make sure they didn’t end up with another late slip/nervous breakdown. Today, even the pets are fed. I have coffee delivered to my desk. The dishwasher is running. Life is sweet. At the appropriate time, husband supervises the “getting ready” including tooth care and face washing. All seems sweet. I remind him that he needs to fill in paper bags with the tuckshop order and include correct change. Piece of cake right?
The perfect morning falls to pieces. The child can’t decide what he wants from tuckshop (despite only ever ordering the same two things since the first day of prep). Today is the day he’s ready to branch out and try something new. He spends a “diversionary” amount of time perusing the menu. Finally the same order he gets every week is written on paper bags, ready for the correct change. The husband only has a $20 note.
Me: “No problem, remember the other day you found my coin stash in the car and I told you it was my trolley dollar and tuckshop fund? All the change you need awaits you in the centre console.”
Turns out he used that for a calming drive through breakfast after yesterday’s stressful drop off. Every. Last. Penny. He tells me no worries, he’ll stop at the bank. Ummmm, bank doesn’t give change. You’ll have to stop at the petrol station and get cash out.
Finally, he’s off. Returns home after getting ANOTHER late slip. In his possession is a $25 bottle of oil (which is $10 anywhere else) that we didn’t need – because he panicked and didn’t know what to buy to get cash out. Meanwhile, I have to go out to get milk and bread….
Day Three Result: Child got to school, late, with everything he needed, in clean clothes with clean teeth and brushed hair. Husband is frazzled and goes straight back to bed. I feed the pets and go to the shops to get milk and bread.
I wake at quarter to “leaving time” o’clock to find husband still sleeping and child in his PJs playing Minecraft. I wake husband and he tells me that he’s done three days in a row and it’s my turn. OH NO. NO IT IS NOT. I’ve done nearly two years in a row. It’s your turn MOFO. I may work from home but I am still working and today is no different. I force him to get up. I go feed the child, pack lunch and water bottle, swimming bag and supervise the dressing and various brushings. At leaving time, husband climbs into the car in his PJs, unshaven, uncaffinated and a bit cranky.
Finally, he knows exactly how I feel. That’s me. Right there. The hot mess mother with unbrushed hair and a bad attitude. Don’t get me wrong, he does housework, he spends lots of time with his son – he is a good dad and a good husband. As it should be. Just because I work from home doesn’t mean I own the rights to all the housework and child care. Partners. He does half. I do half. The way it’s worked itself out is that I get the morning routine half, he gets the reading bedtime stories and having cuddles half. Sometimes even isn’t even. Finally, he understands. Finally, I have found my bliss.
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