I’ve got 12 seconds and not a moment longer!

AFTER a glorious 12 months on maternity leave I’ve returned to work and, quite frankly, feel like I’ve been hit by a freight train. Twice.

I have no idea how people with multiple children cope because having one extra human being to organise in the morning is pushing me to my limits.

(What I do know is that they deserve medals and glory and unlimited wine on prescription.)

These days, Casa Smith is a tight-run ship.

Everything is planned down to the last minute and there’s no room for manoeuvre. 

If an activity has not been put on the timetable with a precise start and end time it won’t, and can’t, happen.

My poor husband does not know what has hit him.

“What do you mean I can’t have a drink?” he asked slowly, his hand paused halfway towards the kettle, where it had been stopped in its tracks 10 seconds previously by a large squawk. From me.

“I just wanted a hot chocolate before bed…” he added.

I looked at him aghast.

“It’s 9.37pm! Nine! Thirty! Seven! PEE EM!” 

I squawked again.

“We have to be in bed by 9.45pm or we won’t have 15 minutes to nod off and eight hours of sleep before the alarm goes off at 6am! Are you mad?!”

At that point he looked as if he was about to say something, but thought better of it.

He looked longingly at the kettle, then back at me.

“So…you don’t want one then?”

I didn’t have time to answer him.

I was too busy hanging up some wet washing with one hand, ironing the following day’s outfit with the other and using my mouth to run a hairbrush through the baby’s hair.

Now I really must go as I’ve used up my allocated time for writing this column.

Next on the evening’s agenda: making tomorrow’s lunch.

I have four minutes and 32 seconds and not a moment longer.

Article first published in The Westmorland Gazette on February 4, 2016.

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