Tribe talk: How to have a good morning

Posted on: 13/07/2011

I am one of those people who, given half the chance, will pick up a gadget and fiddle with it for hours.

This can be great with older children, especially if you’re playing a game and they want to watch.  Less good, of course, if they want to have a go, but that’s another matter.

All the same, it’s not compatible with younger children. They like to join in, by yanking the power cable in and out, and then sucking on it for good measure. Nor, to be fair, is housework.  Smallest one is totally obsessed with the dishwasher.  If it’s open (which is quite often, considering it runs once or twice a day), she feels compelled to help me.

Now, if you’ve ever had a 14-month toddler ‘help’ you with the dishwasher, you will know where I’m coming from here.  Basically, you end up with a toddler finding  a sharp object you hadn’t spotted, or  removing dirty plates and bowls.  Possibly worse is when they then stick dirty cutlery in their mouth. Eugh.

Hoovering? Well, when she’s not surprised by it and bursting into tears, she tries to crawl on it, or worse still, grab the hose and find out the hard way why people don’t touch the end.

Washing machine? Well, those buttons make great beepy noises.  I have frequently come into the kitchen to find a recently finished load of washing getting an extra two-hour rinse thanks to the irresistability of said buttons.

Tidying up? Well, that’s when smallest one follows me around, pulling things out of the drawers and boxes I’ve been filling up.  It is a complete waste of time before she goes to bed.  I’ve wondered whether, if I’m having a low-stress day, I could maybe see who is quicker. Count 50 items on the floor, tidy up for 5 minutes.  Smallest one wins if there are more than 50 items on the floor at the end.

Ironing of course, is a complete no-go unless I stick her in the sling.  And to be honest, I’m still not comfortable that she wouldn’t find a way to hurl herself near the hotplate.  She does, after all, like to wriggle around in it.

I had been wondering why I had found life at home so stressful, when I realised that housework and computer time were my two main activities when the kids were at school. The penny dropped. I slowly cottoned on to the fact that the only way we were both going to be happy was if we removed ourselves from the house every morning.

So now, on a Monday I go to exercise class at the municipal pool, and smallest one goes to the creche, on a Tuesday we either go to a toddler group or go swimming, Wednesday is melody makers (sing-song for 0-5s), Thursday is a different toddler group and Friday morning is nursery.

It works.  Brilliantly.  We get the bigger ones to school, we go off and have a nice morning, we come home for lunch and snooze the afternoon away.

The only down side is the expense.  Monday: Class & Creche £6.90.  Tuesday: Toddlers £2.50 or Swimming £4.10. Wednesday: Melody Makers £4. Thursday: Toddlers: £2. Friday: Nursery: £28.

OK, so we were taking smallest one to nursery regardless, so let’s not count that, but that still means around £18-£20 per week in cost of activities.  When I’m only getting £11 per week or so in child benefit, that’s not ideal.

No doubt I could find some free sessions if I looked around and went to some of the children’s centres… But I’m a bit of a snob and, even though none of the groups I go to could be described as middle-class, I really like the variety. After all, I need to not get bored too.

I’ll keep thinking about this.  I’m enjoying things as they are for the moment, even if it is over budget.  And the system works for me.  I get to spend quality time with smallest one, not feeling guilty about emails remaining unread or housework not being done, and then I focus on that stuff in the afternoon while she’s out for the count.

I might tweak here or there next term, especially if I find something I like that’s FREE!  But for now, the new status quo is pretty good.


1 Response to "Tribe talk: How to have a good morning"

[…]  – comes snob.  I’ve only mentioned it twice (here and here)since starting this blog. Surprising that nobody else seems to be talking about snobbery […]

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