The lost art of loafing

These days, I live life to a very strict timetable. I need to get both kids through breakfast, wash them, dress them and brush their teeth (all four teeth in Baxter’s case) in time to drop Minnie off at nursery at 8.45. I then need to be back at the house and have Baxter down for his morning nap at 9. That gives me a window of however long he sleeps to achieve everything I have to get done that day. Not knowing whether you have 30 minutes or 2 hours can be a fantastic motivator.
As soon as Baxter wakes up, my life slots back into a predetermined cycle of giving him a bottle; keeping him entertained until I head back to nursery to pick Minnie up at 11.45; coming back to the house in time to give both kids lunch at 12; then putting Baxter down to sleep again at 1 while Minnie goes to her room for what we still call her “quiet time” despite the fact she isn’t very quiet and it doesn’t take much time.
Minutes later, as soon as she has called shenanigans on quiet time and got up, I have the busiest part of my day, entertaining her (quietly) until her brother wakes up, then giving him another bottle and entertaining them both (less quietly) for two or three hours until Helen comes home. This last bit allows some improvisation but is properly exhausting and takes all my attention as I strive to occupy and stimulate Minnie while simultaneously keeping Baxter away from ovens, cat litter and electric sockets.
Anyway, the point is, anybody who knows me will appreciate that having to apply such structure – any structure – to my day does not come easily. But you would be surprised how quickly I have got used to it.
However, today I have been absolved from all responsibility, at least until lunchtime. We have childcare one morning a week, arranged to allow Helen – and now me – a fixed window of a few hours to get stuff done. Helen made great use of this, retaining her sanity as much as seeing to admin, and continuing the arrangement into my leave seemed logical.
But now I’m here, I am amazed to find myself stuck for things to do. I had a fairly lengthy to-do list but the new-found focus that the rest of the week’s regime has imposed on me means I ticked everything off by 10am and am now sitting in a cafe, brushing muffin crumbs from my iPad screen, unable to just lounge and enjoy the sudden lack of responsibility.
Instead I am missing the kids and at a complete loss as to what to do with the next few hours. It’s as if I have forgotten how to waste time. This is a massive change for me and has taken me by surprise, especially the speed with which it has happened, taking only a week.
At the moment I’m confident I can keep this level of activity up for the full three months and maybe even beyond. After all, there will be plenty of time later to rediscover loafing. Probably in 18 years’ time when they’ve both moved out.

2 thoughts on “The lost art of loafing

  1. John there has not been a new post for several days.Is it because at the weekend Helen has a honey do list or is it because you are now exhausted and need a break from child care and any thing to do with it?

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