Almost exactly this time two years ago (8th November 2018 to be precise), I was wondering to myself why I never seemed to have any time to do anything. I was on maternity leave, and my house was constantly dirty. The children were 5, 2 and six months old. I quite enjoyed the constant activity, and I decided to keep a little track of where, in exact detail, all the time in a typical day went. Little could I have imagined that nearly every step of that day would no longer be feasible. Almost every trivial little place I went is currently closed. Also, I have long since stopped reading The Times. The irony is that the differences in my life are almost imperceptible, but seem huge. Just standing around chatting to people is now controlled by the school or by the government. And yet I have suffered no economic hardship as a result of the pandemic, nor has it made any real difference to my activivities.
6.55 Wake up and feed baby whilst reading Times.
[2020 equivalent: show Ingrid ballet on Youtube, she tells me she likes pink. Feel sad about the demise of performing arts].
7.18 Play with Basti on bed
7.25 Get Conrad up and get Basti's clothes ready
7.30 Change Ingrid and put in high chair
7.35 Wipe Basti's bottom and get him dressed
7.40 Pour myself coffee and make kids breakfast (muffins and toast)
7.45 Pack Basti's bag for preschool
7.48 Texted sister about her mice
8.00 More toast requested. Read a bit of Rachel Johnson's article in Times 2 (which I think was about messy houses).
[2020 update: I can't bear to read anything about any Johnson. Tragic, strange family].
8.10 Sweep up mess and start getting kids in the car. Tell Basti off for playing with light switches.
[2020: Absolutely zero difference].
8.20 Set off for school.
8.35 First drop-off.
8.40 Go to playground with Basti and Ingrid and play in puddles.
8.50 Walk to preschool and read Basti a book.
9.00 Drop Basti off and walk back to car.
9.12 Set off for eye test.
9.25 Walk to eye shop after parking faff outside Debenhams (wanted the cheaper spaces, and failed). Whilst walking with buggy, email recruiter, check news on my phone and pay for parking.
[2020 update: I got that job, and it was terrible. I got another job, which is now finished. Debenhams is no more.]
9.35 Wait for eye test, make this list of day so far while I wait.
10.15 Finish eye test, and walk around finding birthday presents for a kids party, then give up and go to boots. Check phone while walking around, buy £8 lip balm with points and feel a bit guilty.
[2020 update: There are no more children's parties. I spent more in Boots.]
10.34 Go to Costa and feed Ingrid. Check phone, update this list, read Times with my baps out, drinking coffee. Go to toilet before I leave, and finish coffee sitting on toilet, as I forgot to finish it whilst feeding baby. Think about browsing in Waterstone's. Set off for toy shop at about 11.10 and google astigmatism on the way back to the car, as I don't really understand what I need glasses for.
[No more coffees out. I never wear my glasses.]
11.31 Forgot I was heading to the toy shop and drive home on autopilot. Leave baby asleep in the car on the drive. Chat to neighbours briefly, empty washing machine and put more washing on before updating the list. Ingrid wakes up, so bring her inside and change her.
[2020: pretty much the same apart from not really chatting to the neighbours as I'm not sure they would appreciate it.]
11.37 - 12.23 Empty dishwasher, fill dishwasher, tidy kitchen, clean cooker, empty bins, hang up washing, change nappy, tidy up clothes, clean coffee machine, make Ingrid peanut butter sandwich. Worry about the rosehips in the front garden, they are huge and must be removed, must fix.
13.00 Sit at table with Ingrid, looking at Facebook and writing an outline for a blog post. Then cleaned the food off her, scrubbed tray and took her clothes to the sink to soak the stains off. Sat down to feed her.
13.30 - Thatcher turns up for a rethatch quote. Put Ingrid in bed. Start on clothes, and kids' room.
14.30 Dithered a bit online. Finished kids' room. Scrubbed clothes.
14.45 - 16.20 Picked up Conrad, chatted to Sukhi in front of school, picked up Basti. Hung around a bit talking to her before going to the playground. There were some other mothers there. Then went home and made kids apples and peanut butter snack. Tired now. Next job is making dinner, which I can't be arsed with. Irritable.
[2020 update: I don't talk to people much, it's hard with masks on, which I suppose is the idea. I walked to someone yesterday in the playground about kids, but felt a bit awkward standing so far away. Then bumped into a close friend who was super friendly and wanted to show the kids her new puppy.]
16.45 - 17.35 After watching 15 mins of kids TV, start making dinner.
17.35 - 18.00 - Sat with kids eating dinner, definitely guilty of looking at my phone.
18.05 - Ran bath, whilst doing Sainsbury's shopping on phone. Got sidetracked, overfilled bath. Bathed kids, bathed baby, got her out and dressed her, then Richard came home and put the other two in bed whilst I fed Ingrid.
19.06 - Finished feeding and read kids a story.
I don’t know what I did with the rest of my evening, no doubt it was a very similar trajectory of eating sweets in front of the TV. I led a small life then, looking after children and housework, and I lead a very small life now. It’s just that I also went to birthday parties, and play dates, and was planning a Christmas party. Now, there is really just gardening, housework and cooking. And looking for Christmas presents online.