Preschool years, the magic 3 hours.
6 months ago my life changed. My youngest child started at nursery. For 5 mornings a week I would have 3 golden hours a day totally child free and boy was I looking forward to it. Over the summer my terrible 2 and turned into a terrible 3 or ‘threenager’ as he will now be known. I was sure that the routine and discipline of nursery would change my shrieking monster into a calm, instruction following angel. Well it has when he is there, back at home is a different story.
Back to my magic 3 hours. Getting to the magic hours in itself can be a trial. As parents we all know preparing and leaving the house with a child can be a juggling nightmare, think shoes/coat/do you need a wee, throw in a deadline and lack of parking, forgotten kit (my eldest) or paranoia over if you have shut the front door or not, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Anyhow once said children are deposited at the correct educational facility with the necessary items for games/show and tell, you saunter back to the car, not grabbing the hand of someone who has let go or turning around to see your threenager sitting on the pavement refusing to move until you have put his gloves on correctly. Then there is peace. Its 9.05am what are you going to do with this magic freedom?
Every fibre of my being screams “take a bath in peace, mooch around the shops, wee on your own or have a hot beverage” then there are the good intentions, you tell hubby “yes when the boys are at nursery/school I will go to the gym or swim or power walk or make those phone calls or eeeek make a health supper for everyone” no you do none of those things. You arrive back at home with the breakfast things strewn about the place, climb over the abandoned toys and books and piles of pjs and pants – yes I am talking to you Mr T, you switch on the tv only to find its still on a cartoon channel or gulp, even worse Mr Tumble is yelling “hello hello how are you” at you, but still you sit there wondering where to start.
On a good day I will be the domestic goddess and swoop around clearing up said mess, music on, usually something that gives me a bit of a boost or a cheeky bit of garage harking back to my A level days when we used to spend break times trying to get a bit of Craig David on the ancient radio that lurked in the 6th form common room. Perhaps I will make a dent in my “to do” list or bung a wash on.
This is all on a good day, on a good day my magic 3 hours (not Mondays) can be especially productive, not saying I’ve baked sweet treats for everyone or ironed hubby’s shirts, but the house will look respectable, washing is folded and put away and you can walk across the house without falling over a tiny car or treading on an, ouch, Lego brick. If I am organised then I may even get the chance to whizz to the shops for a very fast browse, or collect something I’ve clicked or even meet a friend for coffee.
Bad days are something else, taken up by Monday weekend hangover, where I sit and drink coffee, look at the mess, ignore it and watch Phil and Holly until it’s time to collect my threenager. Where did the time go? What did I achieve? How is it midday already? Or bad days are taken up by doctors/dentist appointments, trips to the bank or just all those things that you just can’t do with your toddler or 8 year old sidekick in tow.
Yes those three hours are precious. Very precious I don’t think until you have children you realise how little time you get when you are totally alone. Then you realise you miss the little monsters, you’ve missed them very much and you smother them with kisses at pickup and “mummy missed you”. Half an hour later the threenager is yelling at you because you have served up the wrong thing for lunch or left a smidge of crust on his cheese sandwich. Then you long for your magic time back again.
So take this away with you, make the most of your golden time with your pre-schooler, before you know it they are at school full time and you forget what it was like to have them there all day.