The Secret to Not Being At Work

One of these days, I’ll be a stay-at-home superwoman. I’ve totally got a mask and cloak ready for when I get my act together.

In the meantime, though, making the transition from working full-time to baby-mothering full-time is tricky. We’re still working it out, Henricus Rex* and me. I used to have deadlines and meetings and co-workers to give my day some structure, and now there’s just me, a house in some state of trashedness, and a baby with an adorable face and an overactive gag reflex.

*Today I am trying out nicknames. Not especially successfully.

Do we have to get up now?

At first, this is what my brain thought:

No early mornings? No meetings? No editing with red pen? You must be on holiday, lovely – enjoy the Facebook time!

And then, pretty soon, my brain thought:

Argh. No sleep. Please nap. No, never mind that. NAP, IDIOT.

Well. Now we’re getting used to the disturbed nights, and after seven weeks off work we’re clearly not on annual leave anymore, so what next? A daytime routine, is what. Prince Hal being still oh-so-tiny, he isn’t napping at particular times – just quite a lot of the time – and he’s also feeding round the clock thanks to his regurgitation habits, so we can’t really decide that at so-and-so time we do this. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far – are you ready? This is the best wisdom my sleep-deprivation can rustle up:

Do the bare minimum…and then ONE OTHER THING.

Obviously it’s up to you to decide what constitutes the bare minimum: what’s the basic requirement, routine-wise, that you can live with? Here’s mine: The Henster needs to be well-fed, well-rested, clean-bottomed, suitably entertained, not smelling too much of sick and happy about all of these things (this is almost a full-time job in itself, these days). For me, I need to make the bed, tidy our bedroom, do the washing-up and have dinner started by the time Timothy gets home. Anything less than that and I feel grubby.

Well, with a whole day to play with, that’s doable. And then, for my own sanity, we plan ONE OTHER THING. Sometimes the ONE OTHER THING is walking down to the weighing clinic. Today, I’ve used up my ONE OTHER THING writing this blog. Or it might be doing some laundry. Or sorting out Henners’ clothes in the nursery. Or finally writing my baby thank you cards (I will do this very soon, honest). Or curling up in bed together and watching some Heroes. Or doing the grocery shopping. Or making cake. Or meeting up with friends.

Of course, if you get through the bare minimum, your ONE OTHER THING, and you’ve still got time left in the day, then you can think up ANOTHER THING, and that’s pretty exciting. Or you can just go and nap, because you’ve earned it. I’m sure this will evolve into something more ambitious as Hennybaby gets older – already, I’m thinking that getting out with the pushchair once a day needs to start being part of our bare minimum – but for now, I need to feel good about my days, and this is what we can manage.

Henry's bare minimum involves much staring.

Any other routine suggestions? And what would make up your bare minimum? Do tell. Hankalicious is now awake, emitting a curious smell and hiccupping in a threatening sort of manner, so we’d better go attend to the bare minimum of Monday.

[I think I’ll be sticking to ‘Henry’, for the time being.]

3 thoughts on “The Secret to Not Being At Work

  1. Bryony says:

    Way to soldier through like a champ. I agree that once it feels manageable, a walk outside should be part of the bare minimum…having to be suitably dressed to be in public can help a lot with the whole still-feeling-human thing.

    Perhaps, once H-Dawg’s cousin decides to vacate his or her increasingly cramped uterine quarters, we can institute a weekly One Other Thing that involves hanging out and getting some adult face-time from someone else who understands the adventures of being home alone with a small baby all day. (Maybe for Christmas, I’ll hunt down a lovely mask & cape set for you…complete with spandex jumpsuit, just to round out the Super-Mum image.)


  2. You are so smart. I don’t think I figured out this magical one-other-thing stuff nearly so early. One thing that surprised me about being home with babies was how much I loathed staying in my pajamas all day. Pre-babies, staying in pajamas all day was a sign of an Awesome Day. Post-babies, staying in pajamas all day was a sign of Despair and Craziness. Even if they weren’t clothes I would actually leave the house in, I still had to put something on other than pajamas every day or I would not feel human.


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