The average parent’s relationship with time is complicated. Before nap time it’s never as early as you think (unless you’ve been woken up at 5am with a tyrannical toddler demanding toast NOW, in which case that’s exactly as early as you think it is…) and after nap time, before bedtime, it is never as late as you hope. Time constantly loves to chuff up a parent and subject them to a whole world of pain that pre-children they were blissfully unaware of.
Day light saving time is the first testing time for parents all over the parts of the globe (I couldn’t be arsed to Google exactly where) who observe this ridiculous bi-annual ritual. Spring forward, fall back, who gives a chuff when what really matters is that the carefully established bedtime routine has been blown apart because small people can’t tell the time and do not care about the hour’s difference in schedule. They just want to know why they have to go to bed when the sun hasn’t.
Another time-phucking phenomenon that faces parents is that apparently it has the ability to slow down and speed up at will. When keeping small people alive, one minute in the morning passes at ten times the speed of one minute in the afternoon, which is why parents are terminally late. I know you’ve been there. It is 9.30am and you arrange to meet friends in the park at 10.30am. We need to leave the house at 10.15 you think, oh that’s good, we’ve got lots of time. I can tidy the kitchen, put on some laundry, check my Instagram…oh I wonder what ti– OH PUCK PUCK PUCKETY PCUK! HOW THE PCUK IS IT 10.16am? Troops, let’s mobilise! Where are your shoes? No, your shoes. No, we haven’t got time to do some drawing. You need a wee? Go on then. No, there are no monsters in the bath…What do you mean you don’t want a wee? Do you need a wee, or not? Oh FFS… You get the picture.
Except time then goes and does something so cruel and merciless that I can’t help but call it a bastard. Everyone has been in that place, cuddling their brand-new baby, sniffing their head and absentmindedly wondering what would happen if you tried to put him/her back where he/she came from (life was so lovely when the baby was just an idea, wasn’t it…) when for no apparent reason at 5.02pm he or she starts to cry. You stand-up, you sit down, you shush, you pat, you pace, you jiggle, you turn on the music, you turn off the music, you stand next to the window, you stand away from the window, you burp, you change their nappy. Your other half walks in the room and in relief you gasp, “Oh my god. Thank god you’re here. I can’t take it anymore. He’s been crying for HOURS.” It is 5.07.
Now, I don’t know about anyone else but this tense, uncertain relationship with time means that I feel like I’m eternally rushing, but I’m always late; I’m wishing for time to pass slower, and then hurry the chuff up, and let’s be honest, it is no good for anyone. The time-worn cliche about parenting and time is that the minutes drag, but the years fly by, so we should enjoy every precious second. Now if like me you did a little sick in your mouth the first time you read that, then you are reading the right blog because in my opinion there is NOTHING enjoyable about the baby doing a phlegm-based vomit in your bed at 3am. The seconds spent wiping arses, the floor, or your jeans with a baby-wipe several times a day are seconds that I am firmly wishing away. BUT perhaps there is some truth in the sentiment, after all, how else would it have become a cliche?
Every morning, I wake up with a knot in the pit of my stomach at the thought of getting myself and two small people out of the house either to make it to work on time when that was a thing, or because I’ve set myself a timetable for the day that involves being out at a specific time. So, in an effort to rebalance my adrenal gland, which surely must be suffering after three and a half years of this madness, I took a day off from dashing the other day and set myself the challenge of not looking at the clock once all morning. It was lovely. Yes, a bit like most trains, we ran half-an-hour later than usual, but just as every hardened commuter will already know, it didn’t really matter because we got there in the end.