I'm stressed, I'm exhausted and my house is a tip. Spencer and I are living off takeaways and my daughter is living off fish fingers and other processed delights. I have a rapidly growing to do list and no time to do it. What I want to know is, fellow working parents - how do you do it?
I'm the first to admit that I'm lucky. Since having Aria I have been able to leave the mundane office job that I was in for over ten years and find a job that I love, going to work just six hours a week and earning the rest of my money through what started as a hobby, this blog. People mistakingly think that as I only work six hours, usually over three days a week, I have all the time in the world. What they don't realise is that the rest of my time is split between Aria and blogging. How am I supposed to fit in the housework, the food shopping, the cooking? How?
I've reduced my hours so that I can spend more time with Aria, which is why I absolutely refuse to do my blogging work while Aria is awake and it is just the two of us. It isn't fair on her to be plonked in front of the TV all day every day so that I can work. The time that she is awake is time that I spend with her. I'm not claiming that I am perfect and don't ever turn the TV on or check Facebook on my iPad when I'm with her, that would be a lie, but what I don't want to do is get engrossed in my work when I'm with her and pay no attention to her.
When Aria naps I blog. Aria comes first, the blog comes second. Blogging contributes to our income, housework, unfortunately, doesn't. I also use this time to prepare lunch ready for when Aria wakes up, she likes to have her food pretty much as soon as she wakes up, like her mother, she gets hangry. Sometimes I'll even treat myself to a cup of coffee during these naps, usually while working.
I've recently attempted doing the housework with Aria in tow, she is shuffling everywhere now so it isn't the easiest. I can hoover the living room and dining room with her, she chases the hoover around which is apparently really very funny. The fact that she chases the hoover around means that I can't hoover the stairs with her in tow and also struggle to hoover the bedrooms as there isn't much room for both of us and the hoover to manoeuvre, she would end up banging into something and hurting herself.
This week I decided to clean the kitchen with Aria in tow, just simple tasks like unloading the dishwasher and wiping down the worktops. That ended in disaster when Aria saw me open the dishwasher and decided to slam it shut, trapping her fingers in the door.
I have decided that housework with Aria in tow does not work. Leaving Aria alone while I do housework also doesn't work, the house is far too messy and there is no 'safe place' to leave her.
My idea of housework is now iPhoto, which I use to blur out the crumbs/cat hairs/dust from my photos before uploading them to my blog. People rarely come to our house in real life so it doesn't matter.
Then we get to the evening, Spencer gets home and likes to spend an hour or two with Aria before she goes to bed, I use this time to prepare tea (by prepare I mean pre-heat the oven, place the processed food inside and set the timer, or scroll through Just Eat.), and do a little more blogging. Aria then goes to bed and, you guessed it, I blog some more.
Some evenings I don't blog because I'm too exhausted. I sit on the sofa from the time Aria goes to bed until the time I go to bed and watch Netflix, while occasionally updating my social media sites and catching up on other blogs of course. I do this sometimes because it is the only break that I get. I feel guilty the whole time but I would probably go insane if I didn't have a break from time to time.
My house is a tip, my daughter lives on processed food and the bedding hasn't been changed for a very long time. Yet I see other parents cooking every single meal from scratch in their immaculate houses while working full time and raising children.
So, what I want to know, is working parents - how do you fit it all in?