Advice for working mothers... - My Own Den

Advice for working mothers…

Sometime ago I wrote a post titled 40 things I did before I started work- you can find a link to it here.  This blog caused a bit of a stir evoking much laughter at the school gates.  The lovely and talented Artist Ophelia  Redparth ‘helpfully’- note the inverted commas- suggested where I could have improved on my morning panic and wrote some helpful advice and observations.

I love the surreal nature of some of her comments especially number to have the time to …watch a family documentary about the African scrub jay.

Below is my original post with Ophelia’s in italics..


Don’t know about you but this is what I did this morning before I started ‘work’.  The diary of a working mother.

The alarm went off at 6.45am, this is officially a lie in as I had a glass or two of wine last night having finished ‘work’ at 9.30pm.  Husband is away, boy is 12, girl is 5.  Here’s how it went.

  1. Radio comes on, I relax thinking it’s just before 6- then realise it’s just before 7 and shoot out of bed. Throw the radio out of the window. Then fetch it in. Great way of waking up.
  2. Run downstairs to check if rugby kit is dry- it isn’t- put in tumble drier.  Wet rugby kit goes to school. Child can sit on it during lessons. Clothes will dry.
  3. Run back upstairs and start shower. Shower? Morning?
  4. Go into boy’s room, open blind, wish good morning. Give guinea pigs a free run in boy’s bed. Boy will wake. Guniea pigs will enjoy change of scene.
  5. Creep past girl’s room (she’s tetchy if woken early). Earplugs for girl.
  6. Have quick shower. Well….If you must, shower in your clothes. Use either washing powder or shower gel.
  7. Through clothes on from yesterday. Of course this is a no brainer
  8. Back into boy’s room- a motionless form still in bed.  Shout GET UP and then ask nicely if he can be down stairs in 10 mins? Unintelligible yet clearly grumpy grunt in reply. See 4.
  9. Creep past girls room and go downstairs. See 5
  10. Kettle on, put away dishes.  Kettle on. Teabag inside. Leave dishes.
  11. Feed guinea pigs and put in new straw- didn’t the kids promise they’d do this? Is boy’s mattress staw? If not, invest in one. Happy guinea pigs.
  12. Put on toast and frying pan. Fry the bread….
  13. Make a fried egg sandwich.  ….and egg….together.
  14. Look at clock- no 12 year old in sight. Get a gong.
  15. Run upstairs, open boys door. Standing in his pants he stares at me mutely. Stairlift. Guinea pigs.
  16. Creep past daughter’s room back to kitchen to boil kettle again, this time get as far as putting tea bag in cup. See 10. Add milk if needed.
  17. Check rugby kit is dry- dry enough, put it on stairs along with rugby boots. See 2
  18. Foot steps! He’s up- he isn’t.  It’s the girl  in silent rage at being woken up.  Carry her upstairs put her on bed in our room with school uniform and switch on telly.  He’s up catching guinea pigs before they ruin his ipod. No need to go upstairs. She sleeps in school uniform.
  19. Barge into 12 year old’s room he’s now got pants and socks on and reading a comic. Guinea pigs shredding comic, making bed out of paper. Boy downstairs having breakfast.
  20. Stand at door and watch him get dressed- not a happy occasion for either of us. See 19.
  21. Run downstairs, and get juice to go with fried egg sandwich. Already downstairs. You’ve finished your tea and have time to experiment with an exotic cocktail.
  22. Crash out cereal and milk on table.  Boy can’t eat fried egg sandwich this morning, it hurts his mouth ulcer. More likely has smelt sugar laden cereal in house and like a addict has got to have it. Boy helping.
  23. Boil kettle and make tea. Feet up! Hmmmm. How about a few chopped almonds and a swirl of cream on top?
  24. (Try to) reply tenderly to calls from help from girl, take stairs two at a time. See 18. Stairlift if needed.
  25. Instigate dressing ‘game’ to encourage compliance with girl. See 18. Now…Where’ that magazine with the article on boredom?
  26. Carry girl downstairs whilst being careful to see the stairs as I have the joy of a toy elephant in my face. Stairlift again. An extra one for surplus guests.Dressed Elephant - Girl
  27. Daughter bursts into tears as son is sitting in ‘her’ seat.  Try to calm argument but end up joining in. Son is heavily into cocktail project. Girl likes chopped almonds and cream.
  28. Send boy to do teeth and brush his hair. Forget it.
  29. Make toast with honey, cajole and beg daughter to eat it. See 27. Add toast and honey by stealth.
  30. Dodge out of son’s way as he careers through kitchen muttering about gum shield, join in hunt for gum shield. Gum shield will always be in left trainer in the corner.
  31. Start shouting about time, bus leaves in 5 mins.  Boy is blissfully unaware.  A long wait before leaving for the bus. Watch a family documentary about the African scrub jay.
  32. Boy rushes to hall with me in pursuit carrying water bottle. Forget it.
  33. Brush son’s hair with hand as he ducks out of the way and leaves carrying three bags and sweater, looking like a tramp. Hair-brushing?
  34. Run to kitchen get daughter who insists on employing the ‘waving committee’ where we stand at door and wave.  Son is gone but we still wave. Waving is fun.
  35. Take daughter upstairs- tell her lies about what will happen if she doesn’t clean her teeth.  She reluctantly cleans her teeth. The guinea pigs can show her what to do.
  36. Read school book with daughter, counteract her defiance with over enthusiasm that makes her laugh.  I read most of the book and sign it off. Oh….And let them do this too.
  37. Run to the bottom of the garden- whose idea was it to get chickens?  No food, so fight way to shed and fill up feeder. Let them eat eggs.
  38. Back to house, take out tea bag and take sip of stewed tea. Throw away the tea and make another cocktail.
  39. Polish daughters shoes and ‘help’ her put them on. Polish shoes?
  40. Put daughter in car and drive to school, arrive late and park near school gates as most parents are leaving. Arrive on time smiling sweetly. Kiss girl and wipe cream off her cheeks.

Anyway back to my Den!

Love Nicx


PS If Ophelia designed a den it might look like this.  I told you she was talented didn’t I?


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