Nothing is wrong. Everything’s fine. It’s morning time, the day is full of potential, I can write myself “up” into optimism and plans and hope. It’s just … today just feels like “I’ve been here before”. I already know that the time spent on making a pretty and tidy environment feels squandered in the 20 minutes it takes for everything to devolve into chaos once more. And I know that doing anything else feels futile or selfish or irresponsible or something.

Here’s what I feel like me day is going to be like:

  • I’ve already gotten up way late, the kids are antsy from the last two days cooped up in the house with sickness and they’re bouncing around the place in a way that means if I don’t continually correct them, someone’s going to get hurt or break something. Maybe I should just let that happen, but I probably won’t which means I’m going to be on edge and cranky all day, feeling like a nag.
  • I’ll spend longer than usual writing here as they climb all over me and demand things. Then I’ll grudgingly dress them and myself, all the while thinking “I need to go for a run today”.
  • The unclosed loop of my run will sit in my mind all day, a little cancerous nugget of guilt in the back of my skull, but it’s a work day, there’s shitloads of boring ass house stuff to do, and the kids really should be taken out of the house for an extended period today.
  • So, we’ll likely be finally dressed by 11. Maybe.
  • I’ll grab the now sodden clothes from the line, bringing the dogs out with me, the kids will demand to come, dogs will go barking at the gate, someone will slip and get hurt or lose a toy or need the toilet, or make some other complaint and what should be a five minute task will take 20 minutes.
  • My will to live will have evaporated by then, so I’ll sit down for a “quick” social media check in in order to escape feeling like a nag and a referree and a person who only exists in order to facilitate others’ lives.
  • By 12, not only will I not only have not done anything more than dress myself and the children, but the house will have succumbed even further to the forces of 4-year-old entropy.
  • But it will be time to attempt to feed them something approaching real food.
  • With bribery, corruption, threats and yet more soul-destroying nagging and negotiating, they’ll eat less than I’m happy with, but I’ll still be swamped in guilt from having forced an eating issue with them.
  • Lunchtime will expand until at least 1:30, by which time there will be food in places no food should be, and either T will be sick and the afternoon will be gobbled by that, or he’ll be feeling well enough that we’ll attempt a trip to the cinema to see Cars 3, because this is what we’ve selected as something “out of the house” but not too intense for a recently ill boy.
  • Let’s go with the “optimistic” outcome, and we go to the cinema:
    Wrangle children into car, drag to other end of shopping centre, buy an inappropriate amount of junk to attempt to keep them in seats for the duration, several bathroom trips with frustratingly long periods of time dancing on the stairs, remove sticky and hyper creatures from the cinema, possibly with tears because they hate change, spend money on toys or bribes which I had promised I wouldn’t do because it’s bad parenting, but I’m tired and it’s Summer Holidays and “just this once?”
  • Oh yeah, there’s a possibility that it will be a “play date” with another family and their kids, so amp up the hyper and the nagging and the headaches and stress by a factor of 5.
  • Get home after 5pm, with children who should be fed dinner, but I know won’t at this point eat anything I put in front of them because they’re full of popcorn and sugar.
  • Give up on planned dinner, meaning the meat in the fridge that I said “don’t freeze” comes dangerously close to its expiry date.
  • Attempt to simultaneously clean kitchen that I’ve thus far ignored today and cook sausages or something quick and hopefully palatable enough.
  • Get interrupted literally every 2 minutes as husband attempts to make up for lost work time and children are wild, over-excited and refusing to take direction or comfort from anyone other than “Mummy”.
  • Get frustrated from own personal exhaustion and feeling of inner futility and pointlessness. Shout at everybody that I need 5 bloody minutes of bodily autonomy and no-one requesting things from me. Slam kitchen door.
  • By 6pm, children fed, but no food for adults discussed or conceived. Order takeaway.
  • Remember I have to run. I want to run. Tired though, and haven’t eaten.
  • Takeaway comes right as we’re meant to put children into beds. Either husband does bedtime and I feel too guilty to eat, or I do it extremely crankily, meaning children act up even more than usual. Either way, food congeals.
  • 8pm, still no run, but finally food.
  • Eat hastily and angrily. Feel overfull and antsy.
  • No point in running now, tomorrow will be better.
  • Cannot face cleaning up anything.
  • Stay up ’til 2 am watching crappy streamed tv and fantasising about when I am a better person who does better things and makes better, more productive choices.

This is not my life every day by any means, but it’s definitely the way I could see today’s path devolving. Maybe laid out like this will enable me to make slightly better choices.

Though to be honest, I don’t see that cleaning the kitchen earlier would make that much of a difference to my overall quality of life.