I’m pretty sure I had a visit from my fairy godmother recently. It’s the only rational explanation I can come up with to explain how I managed to avoid all housework and child minding on an otherwise action packed day: my first day back at paid work after my second period of maternity leave.
It started out quite normally; I woke to the alarm at 6.00am, dug Son #1 out from under our doona (into which he had burrowed, undetected, in the wee cold hours), wrestled him into some clothes and propped him up at the kitchen table with a bowl of Weetbix and a cup of water.
I think this was when my fairy godmother sprinkled a bit of magic dust, because the rest of my day went something like this:
6.15am: Slipped into my shiny new work clothes, which were already laid out for me.
6.20am: Returned to the kitchen to find a hot coffee waiting for me, which I sat and drank while eating breakfast and chatting happily to Son #1.
6.30am: Went to the bathroom by myself to apply make up and tame my hair.
6.40am: Toddled back to kitchen, removed pre-packed lunch from the fridge and tucked it into my brand new over-sized budgerigar green Kate Hill bag (to go with my shiny new work clothes).
6.55am: After wandering around aimlessly for a few minutes (Son #1 and Daddy were having cuddles on the couch in front of Peppa Pig waiting for Nanny’s imminent arrival; Son #2 was still asleep), I said my goodbyes and left for work.
Yes, that’s right, you heard me, I walked out the door, got in my car and drove on out of the driveway. No negotiating small hostile humans into the back seat, no backpack slipping off my shoulder and becoming a missile to a poor unsuspecting baby. Nope. Just me. (And my brand new budgerigar green Kate Hill bag).
8.30am: After some adult conversation I dived straight into work and forgot about the kids altogether.
8.45am: Was attacked by guilt over my kiddie amnesia. Emailed husband to check on daycare drop (all good). Messaged Mum to check on recovering baby (he was fine too). I smiled as I pictured a lovely Nanny/baby day because really he was probably well enough to go to daycare but Nanny offered to look after him and so, well, that’s nice… back to work.
12.30pm: Lunch. Ah, lunch. Read the papers, came across the birth announcements. Remembered about the kids again. Messaged Mum. Still fine.
4.00pm: Toddled out the door leisurely (no daycare pick up for me: Mum has taken care of that). Read trashy novel on commute home.
5.00pm: Arrived home, was immediately bowled over by my excited three-year-old, “Mummy! Mummy! You not at work anymore!”
Nanny had just finished feeding Son #2 in his highchair. Son #2 was grizzling and had a suspiciously bloodshot, gunky right eye.
“Um, has that…?” I started. Mum cut me off brightly: “Oh yes, he’s got conjunctivitis and an ear infection but I didn’t want to worry you on your first day back at work. We’ve been to the doctor, he’s got eye drops and antibiotics.” My heart sinks. I picture wrestling eye drops and thick bright pink antibiotics into a sick baby (Why are they always bright pink? Couldn’t they make them carpet–friendly white?)
“When is his next dose…?” I started. Mum chimed in, “…Oh, don’t worry, I’ve already given him his eye drops and antibiotics and I was just about to do the pain medication too.” Wow. Ace.
I picked up Son #2 and gave him a cuddle while Mum started the bath and wrangled Son #1 in and out. I bathed and dressed Son #2, gave him his bottle and put him to bed, where he fell asleep immediately.
It was then I looked around and realised that, in my absence, my amazing mother had:
- Made our bed
- Cooked dinner for the next two nights
- Cycled two loads of washing through and folded up the dry washing
- Tidied and swept the back deck
- Cleaned up the kitchen from dinner
- Sterilised the dummies
- Washed the bottles
- Emptied and repacked the dishwasher
6.00pm: “I’ll leave you to it, then,” said Mum. “The poor baby obviously won’t be able to go to daycare tomorrow so I’ll be back again by 7.00am. Just leave me a list of housework that needs doing.”
I hugged her, thanked her and closed the door after her, dumbfounded.
Minutes later, my husband came home and Son #1 launched himself with “Daddy, Daddy, come play Lego!” and latched on firmly for the rest of the evening until bedtime. I got a few brief “Mummy cuddles!” before Daddy whisked him away to clean his teeth, read him a story and tucked him into bed.
7.00pm: I sat on the couch with a cup of tea, aimlessly channel surfing and feeling a strange sense of calm wash over me.
If only my fairy godmother could visit me every day. Or perhaps what I really need is a housewife…
(Disclaimer: I laid out my own clothes and made my own lunch the night before. I’m just like that. Still, it was nice to wake up to).