Since I became a mother I have come to dread doing nothing.
I’m talking about those long, lazy, layabout days when you lounge around in your pyjamas, relishing the fact you have nowhere to go and nothing particular to do.
Some ill-informed fools even believe that everyday is like that for the Stay At Home Parent. But alas, not only are we unable to enjoy lazy days every day of the week – we are not able to enjoy them AT ALL. EVER.
Rainy Sundays and Bank Holidays have become an endless turmoil of hours to fill before the children finally fall asleep.
Since my daughter entered my life, I have ensured weekdays are a busy calendar of groups to attend and chores to do, in order to keep her occupied and tire her out. For Saturdays we usually plan a day out or a play date. But on Sundays, ‘Doing Nothing’ has become a chore.
When you have a child, you can’t enjoy a lie-in anymore, even if you try. Your cup of coffee will end up going cold while you are half-heartedly drawn into making a tent under the duvet, before it is inevitably spilt all over the sheets.
Pancakes and bacon seems like a nice treat for breakfast on such a day, but young and impatient appetites can’t wait that long. They must be staved off with a bowl of cereal, which they manage to spatter all over the walls while you are focused on cooking your own special breakfast, only to give most of it to them when they realise it was actually worth waiting for.
By all means try starting a crossword, as long as you are resigned to the fact you will be offered ‘help’ in the form of scribbling all over the puzzle and shredding up the clues irreparably.
Any other form of relaxing entertainment you may have previously participated in will be similarly snatched from your grasp. Reading the papers, playing a board game, binge-watching TV, even listening to radio – your attention will always be divided, as a small person demands you read Dear Zoo, play Hide And Seek, or draw a picture of a cat.
If the weather allows you can go outside. But if you find yourself resorting to a park trip at 11am, just what on earth are you going to do for the godforsaken vacuum of an afternoon gaping out in front of you after lunch?!
You can’t even try and take the edge of things with a Bloody Mary or too much wine at lunchtime, because you have to be responsible now you are responsible for another being.
Eventually you may find yourself slumped on the sofa, watching a film about talking animals, which your child has ignored since the opening credits as they are now intent on emptying every toy they own onto the sitting room floor.
When bedtime finally rolls around and you tiptoe downstairs to slump back down amidst the chaos, you wonder how on earth doing nothing came to be so exhausting.
When it comes to lazy days at home, with kids there is no such thing. Any excuse to go out and break up the day is a good one. We’re almost out of milk you say? I’ll get my coat.