Parenting – How the Smallest of Tasks can be the Hardest
Being a parent means the simplest of tasks can take twice as long.
I remember the days where I was married, carefree, and childless. My house would be immaculate (most of the time). Everything would have its little place. Washing stayed in the washing basket only when it was dirty, and vacuuming used to take up to 45-minutes tops.
It wasn’t long after I was pregnant that the wise words of seasoned mothers explained that my household would never be the same again. They’d say comments such as;
“You’ll have to loosen up once you have a child.”
“Your house will never be as tidy as it is right now.”
“You’ll have to do at least one load of washing a day, you know.”
“Pfffffftttttt,” was the extremely tactical reply I would retort with. In my head all I could picture was this wild banshee, creating a tornado of a mess throughout my house. Well, I’m glad to say it’s not quite that bad… the banshee has been downgraded to a very energetic toddler, so I guess that’s an improvement 🙂
Here are the top three tasks that I believe take twice as long to complete when you have a small child in tow.
1. Vacuuming the house
Kids like to push my buttons. I mean this is both the figurative and literal sense.
Picture this. I’m blissfully vacuuming away (I say blissfully because let’s face it, within half an hour the pristine palace I’ve created will be ram-sacked and turned into a junkyard), and all of a sudden the vacuum stops. I haven’t touched anything. The power is still on. Surely there’s a fault with the vacuum cleaner.
In most normal scenarios this may well be the case, but in the land of parenting, I look a few metres behind me to find the culprit. She’s looking at me with big blue eyes, her chubby little index finger, touching the power button on the vacuum cleaner. “Casey, please don’t touch the button while Mummy’s vacuuming,” I coax. She looks at me as though she 100% agrees with what I am saying.
I continue on my merry way, and within two minutes the vacuum has been turned off again. I figure I’ll try a different tactic. “Casey, please press the button again to turn the vacuum on,” I say. She tries, but interestingly enough it takes less pressure to turn the button off than it does to turn it on (story of my life)!
We go back and forward over this little ‘incident’ about half a dozen times. There. Two bedrooms finished. And you think I’m joking? I’m not.
Overall that poor little vacuum had its button pressed at least a dozen times, and my patience button had well and truly been worn out.
2. Putting the washing away
By now I’ve learnt that putting the washing away is a chore best left once the child has gone to bed. It’s fine if I put her own washing away, heck she’ll even try to lend a hand by passing me an item here or there (which I totally appreciate). But when it comes to putting away my clothes, and my husbands’ clothes, that’s a completely different kettle of fish.
One minute I’ll be sorting the clothing into piles (you know, underwear in one pile, socks in another, shirts to be hung up in another), and in enters little miss grabby hands. I know what you’re thinking, she just wants to help put the clothes away right? Wrong.
While I’m busy hanging up items in the wardrobe, miss grabby hands decides to go through every single draw in my bedside table. I look over and on the floor, there’s a lint roller, a sunglass case, a hair clip, deodorant, a makeup bag… basically any item she can get her little paws on. And it doesn’t stop there. Next up is Daddy’s set of drawers.
It gets to the point where there are two piles of items that have been politely thrown from the drawers and once again I’m back to clean up mode.
3. Having a shower
Ah, flash back to that time where a shower was a peaceful, relaxing moment where I could lather myself into a body wash foam of goodness, and deep condition my hair not just once, but twice, because I could.
Now my showers consist of trying to wash as quickly as humanly possible while the child is either a) having a nap, or b) preoccupied with today’s choice of toy. When it’s option b, time is of the essence, otherwise, I’ll find myself with a small human clambering over the step into the shower, whilst still fully clothed.
I’ve had times where I’ve tried to play peekaboo with the shower door open while little miss gets covered in overspray from the shower head. It’s not as cute as it sounds, trust me.
And at the end of the day, when hubby comes home to put his feet up, he looks at me, all the while wondering why the line in the middle of my forehead is gradually starting to deepen as each passing year goes by.
He kicks off his shoes, chucks his laptop bag on the floor, removes his jumper and throws it on the floor, and I make a mental note of every item I will need to pick up off the floor before the night has ended. I then take a large sip of port, smile, and remember to enjoy this moment of peace while little miss grabby hands is tucked up in bed, dreaming of unicorns and lollipops, without a care in the world 🙂