Tuesday 8th February 2011. Scottish Borders.
I know, I know. I'm going. Out of bed. B was up and out over an hour ago. But just ten more minutes, please....? Oh, alright then.
Oh sod it. I'm sure I look fine.
Sunrise over the bypass. Going to be a lovely day.
First nappy of the day
Wake up L! She's overslept. Actually, we've all overslept. Now I've got to get them all fed and out in just over half an hour. How bad a parent would I be if I sent them to nursery with no breakfast?
However bad it is, I'm not that bad. No time for toast though
Everyone out! In the car! Quick, quick, quick!
Back. Builders have been here since eight. Pop round to see how they're doing with our new kitchen.
Back inside. Dishwasher loaded. Breakfast table cleared. What next? Laundry.
Five minutes for me. Tunnock's teacake and a cup of tea. Who says Scotland doesn't have haute cuisine? Very proud of my mug too. Lidl's finest. £2.99 each. Or £5 for two. We decided two was extravagant. Regretting it now though.
Tuesdays are a working day (hence the nursery). This is my orderly desk. Aka kitchen table. And yes, I did raid the children's chocolate ten minutes after eating that teacake. Apparently it's very good for the baby. Or something.
Work half done. As usual. Leave it til later. Meeting with builder and architect about pipes and ducts (eh? Did they really think I'd have anything to contribute?) fully done. Girls collected, five minutes late as usual. Right you lot, out. Go and play quietly while Mummy has some lunch. And if I hear any whinging or arguing it's straight to bed. Go!
Lunchtime. I know it looks disgusting but it was left over and in the fridge and not cheese on toast for a change (Nigel Slater Chicken and Bean Casserole if you're interested). Actually it was delicious.
Sneak in ten more minutes work before the fighting starts. Little ones off to bed. Protesting.
Remember the laundry. And the dishwasher.
Convince L, briefly, that she wants to play a "game". Finish playing the "game" by myself.
Play L's game. She is a bird. I am, apparently, a caterpillar. I am required to wear the green spiral thing. Not a good look with a bump.
Accede to a request for "big painting". Wonder where "big painting" is going to be possible when we have floors we actually like.
Big painting lasts about ten minutes. Clearing up takes rather longer. "Ticking" now the activity of choice.
Universal whinging indicates imminent starvation. I attempt to resist the lure of CBeebies and cook with girls hanging off three of my limbs. Fail. Give in. This is happening more and more often. Feel guilty.
Builders gone. Sneak out to inspect their handiwork leaving children eating, unsupervised. Bad parent. Builders still have a way to go but am unfeasibly excited by a big hole.
Three empty plates equals one happy mummy.
Tidy up time. Allegedly.
B home. Bathtime. So much easier with two.
Dry, dressed, into bed
B is reading L's story. I have A&S. L chooses The House at Pooh Corner. I have definitely drawn the short straw.
All quiet from upstairs. Supper cooked and eaten. B out rehearsing. Time to do that work I didn't get done earlier.
Decide I am feeling post-modern instead.
B off to Rome at 3 am tomorrow morning (via Amsterdam as apparently you can't fly direct to Rome from either Newcastle or Edinburgh. Oddly). Packing time. This is everything he needs (minus the sponge bage of course) for three days.
All quiet. So far.
Dull, wasn't it? Very like the day before, in fact. And, if my sister weren't coming to stay, very like today would be. Very like most of my days, and, I suspect most of the days of many other women (and a good few men) nation-, if not world-, wide.
So why did I find it emotional? The problem is, taking the pictures made me think about what I was doing, rather than simply getting through, getting by, getting on. And I realised how mundane my life is. How full of little, unimportant, repetitive tasks. How full of "must do this" and "no, not now" and "in a minute". And how, when I do have half an hour to spare, how little time I actually spend interracting with my children, sitting down and playing with them, doing what they want to do when they want to do it. They asked to do painting, but I can't honestly say I'd have agreed if I hadn't known it would be a good photo.
It makes me want to weep. I'm not sure how I got here. I'm not sure I'm being the mother I want to be. I'm not sure, sometimes, that I'm living the life I want to live, even if I'm also not sure that being in London, being a lawyer, being stuck on the tube, or in a meeting, would feel any less dull, less mundane, less banal.
But when I stopped feeling self-pitying, I also realised how happy some of this quotidian life makes me. How amazing my children are. How lucky I am to live in this beautiful place, in this beautiful house (or it will be). How incredible it is that I have the choice to work when I want to, and am not tied to the nine to five, Monday to Friday.
So although it was dull, and it was pedestrian, it was, and is, also my 24 hours. My day. My life.
*Actually, that's artistic licence. It was actually about half past ten, but midnight (or indeed one minute to midnight) isn't a time of day I voluntarily see very often anymore. I can't imagine it looked much different to this though.