A moment for mummy

I’VE been running on the Mummy Treadmill.

Do you have one? Where you only sit still if you’re nursing a baby or folding the washing?

It occured to me… alright it didn’t “occur to me” so much as someone pointed it out to me (hi P&J!)… that I don’t stop running. I’m on the Mummy Treadmill.

They may have been using larger brush strokes than I’m about to draw here (hey, some things are for me alone). But the example used was J who would bring a book to the couch when they were sitting down to watch a movie. Her argument being that  if the movie sucked, she could start reading. No muss, no fuss.

I understand the logic entirely. They’re probably not the first person to notice my ‘multi-tasking’. My sister stopped me tidying the shed while she was paying a visit recently. I wasn’t being rude, we were standing right there, I was still talking with her, just picking up a few things at the same time. She told me it “wasn’t going anywhere”. Well, of course it wasn’t, but would I have the time later to come back out to the shed specifically to tidy up?

There’s the rub. I have so much on…

On an ordinary day, I spend the morning on ‘breakfast shift’ before we go to playgroup/day care/kindergym/toy library/the bank/the shop/the doctors/the chemist/the park/a playdate/the beach… It means two sets of tummies must be filled, two bodies clothed, two heads brushed, two sets of teeth scrubbed, two water bottles packed, yadda yadda yadda and, somewhere in there, I’ll rip on some clothes and hopefully remember my shoes.

Then we’ll spend approximately two hours ‘playing’ by which, of course, I mean I will stop one child from throwing sand, push another on a swing, break up a fight, clean up some poo, find someone else’s mum, pry apart glued fingers, help unpack and pack a shed full of toys, clean counter tops at the bank, blow up balloons, break up another fight… and all the while explaining EVERYTHING I’m doing and why we can’t STAY at playgroup/friend’s house/the beach.

After that I come home and switch to “lunch shift”. That consists of feeding, cleaning and naptime. Probably clean up more poo… if they’ll tell me where they did it. After that there’s the laundry, the dishes, the “chocolate milk drawing” on the coffee table, the avalanche of blocks across the floor.

Somewhere in all this, ‘my time’ is whittled back to: sipping a Milo while I try to wake up and simultaneously feed the children around 7am; suck back a coffee milk while pushing a kid on a swing and talking about excema to another mum at 10am; writing a blog while my children eat lunch (words ARE my diet!); and sometime after 8pm tonight I’ll get to sit and watch TV. Argument with husband about what to watch, optional. It’s Monday though. His turn.

I don’t mind. I’m used to it… I mean, the entire drill in general, not the remote control situation.

But it means there’s the unexpected side-effect that I don’t know what to do when I’m sans children. I’m like Marshall on How I Met Your Mother when he’s trying to act natural. “What do I usually do with my hands?!”

Pre-children I indulged in entire days with NOTHING on… as in no activities (still wore clothes, I’m funny like that). Sleep in, eat something, watch TV, sloth around.

But now, because my time is such a precious commodity, it ought NOT to be wasted. Not a millisecond of it. So, if perchance I get a moment’s peace, I will research a new family car online, make about six work calls AND prep tea.

I’ve forgotten how to slow down. Though, truth be told, it was never my strong point.

I once tasked myself to “do nothing” but sit and watch TV only getting up for food and the toilet. I wound up rearranging the house.

A much-loved colleague of mine used to say (probably still does): “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” The idea being that they’re so busy, they’ll get it out of the way simply to concentrate on The Rest.

Now I believe it’s safe to say: “If you want something done, give it to a busy mum.” She certainly has no time to waste.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jentbrave
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 06:51:51

    this is comedy AND literary gold! 😀 I loved how some of your ‘me’ time was talking to another mum about exema … *wipes tear from eye* … still laughing 🙂


  2. Actually Mummy...
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 11:13:40

    It is grim. Since I started blogging I don’t even watch TV in peace! So I am on the treadmill all day and all night! There is even the temptation to multitask whilst playing with the kids and I am trying so hard not to do that! Good post
    Found you on Flog Yo Blog Friday


    • petajo
      Dec 02, 2011 @ 22:23:47

      Yay for FYBF… playing with kids is the toughest time to STOP doing other stuff. Evidenced by my daughter’s parroting: “I’ll be right back. I just have to check my email.” She’s two! *smacks wrist… bad mummy! 😉 Thanks for visiting! xx


  3. Trackback: Digital Parents Blog Carnival December 2011 | Motivating Mum
  4. motivatingmummy
    Dec 19, 2011 @ 20:18:20

    I am so, so with you – I experienced the same thing recently and always find it a challenge to do something with my spare time. Best thing I found to cure this was plan ahead – yep, plan my free time!! – so that when I sit down it’s filled with things enabling me to take 10 min i.e. magazine, chocolate icecream and something cruddy taped on the TBox!


    • petajo
      Dec 19, 2011 @ 23:09:41

      Alli, would you mind coming over and working up a schedule for me!? I used to be quite good at that, but lately I seem to be flying by the seat of my pants! xx


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