Children, Life, Parenting, Working Mother Guilt
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Taking East Dulwich

Working full-time and raising a toddler is not always the easiest job in the world.

If my husband were here now (and not on his annual lads only cricket tour for the weekend) he would jest “you’ve got it really easy, love”.  He will be referring to the fact that he took out the bins and gave our son his bath yesterday.

My day usually starts around 5.30am when our toddler first starts to wake up.  On a really really good day, he’ll sleep until 7am (this has thus far happened twice in his 21-months).  On a really good day, 6.30am.  On a regular good day, he’ll entertain himself in his cot until 6am.   Most days though, it’s 5.30am when the first “Mama” is called out.  He’ll then get louder and louder and alternate between “Mama”, “Gah” and eventually “YiaYia!” until I finally get up and go to him, usually around 5.50am.

We’ve tried bringing him into the bed with us “No No No No No”, giving him milk in his cot “No No No No No”.  We’ve tried sending Daddy in “No No No No No”.  All he wants is Mummy, which I secretly love Sunday-Friday but could do with one Saturday morning off now and again (this has thus far happened probably no more than 10 times since he was born).

Weekdays, we always get dressed together, brush teeth together and have breakfast together.  He follows me from room to room, helps to comb my hair and helpfully offers my shoes to me, one at a time from the boxes or floor on which they live.  We’ll take breaks to read his Mr Men books or race cars up and down the hallway.  He takes a few minutes to pick out which t-shirt to wear with his jeans but usually goes along with my suggestion after pulling 5 or 6 out to choose from.

The whole routine, takes around 1.5/2 hours but this is easily the best part of my day and I treasure it.  This is my time with my boy and I would happily get up at 4am than give it up.

After handing him over to his nanny around 8am, I drive to work (whilst constantly looking back at his car seat to double check I have handed him over to his nanny) where you’ll find me until 5.30pm, when I then make a mad dash out of the door with the rest of London to form a queue to cross the river.  I usually make it back in time for cuddles on the sofa before putting him to bed and reading a couple of bedtime stories.  Hubby does bathtime most days.  I do have it easy with regards to that.

So, I was quite delighted to find myself without childcare yesterday and booked the day off work.

Excited by the endless fun possibilities that I haven’t been able to experience since maternity leave, I had a quick glance at the ED bible,  SE22 magazine, and found a Baby & Toddler session at Dulwich library that we could go along to in the morning.  We arrived a bit late, around 11am, so understandably it was a bit hectic and rammed to the door with mums, bumps, babes in arms, toddlers and Cath Kidston changing bags.

He made a beeline for a big wooden train and climbed aboard happily.  He had a great time pretending to drive the train and I would have taken photos of him but didn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb as the (only) ‘Mum with a day off from work’.

A few minutes later, all the children were asked to sit round and listen to a story – this week being Lullabyhullaballoo, performed brilliantly by the library staff, I have to say!  He sat on my lap for a brief moment but was too easily distracted by the toy cars in the play area.  So much so, that when I tried to get him to sit still on my lap to sing ‘The Wheels on the bus’, he went beserk and we had to take some Time Out (over by the cars…). 

It was almost lunch time anyway so we made our way to Pizza Express in the Village, who do a great kids menu.  There, he tucked into dough balls and chicken pizza, ignored the salad and refused to wear a bib.  Nonetheless, we chatted about cars and buses and trains and watched the torrential rain outside.  I instantly regretted wearing flip flops (should have taken the ankle boots when I was offered them!) as after paying the bill, we then had to make a run for the car, which he was not at all happy about so I stood for 5mins in the pouring rain trying to strap him into his car seat while he wriggled impatiently and screamed “No No No No No”.

We made it home just in time for his afternoon nap “No No No No No” he said but I was dripping wet by this time and no longer in the mood.

He was asleep within minutes of course, so I took this opportunity to dry off and watch Grey’s Anatomy on the Sky Planner seriously, Little Grey, just get back with McSteamy – he LOVES you, idiot! AND you love him no matter how hot Dr. Avery looks with his shirt off (which is for most of the show…)

We didn’t leave the house again as the sky turned darker and started to thunder and lightening.  We had a lovely afternoon though, reading, cooking up plastic vegetables in the Sizzlin’ Kitchen, vroom vrooming cars and chasing each other all over the house.

The Greek God(zilla) got back for bathtime, for which I gladly handed him over.

Being a working mum to a toddler may not be the easiest job in the world but I’d say being at home and finding new ways to entertain one all day long is probably even harder!

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