Overthinkers, like myself, are often aware of their incessant internal monologue. It’s hardly surprising when you consider the average brain processes around 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day. Sometimes I have to tell myself to ‘shut the feck up’.
You see, I think a lot. Mostly when I am in the shower. I have a 10-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. The shower is my only hiding place. There, as I frantically wash my hair before the inevitable shout of “MUMMY!” goes up, I sometimes ponder my lot.
I recently found myself mulling over a conversation I had with a friend who has three kids and a busy life. She told me she wished her partner could spend just one hour inside her head, so he could better understand all the juggling, decision making and the sheer responsibility of what being a mother felt like.
What an interesting idea.
I decided to consciously tune into my thoughts for the purpose of letting my other half know how it feels to be me. Little did I know how exhausting (and how difficult) it would be. It’s a bit like trying to catch butterflies with a sock.
So, here they are; the ‘sieved’ thoughts of a married, working mum-of-two. A snapshot, if you will, of a 24-hour period taking in a day in the office (which happens to be located in my conservatory) and time at home with the kids. Luckily, you can stop reading at any point and step outside of my head. There’s no way out for me…
24 hours inside my mind…
09.11: What a relief. The boy went off to playschool without clinging to me like a limpet. We are making progress.
09.15: Why isn’t this coffee maker working? … *Fiddles with buttons* Oh that’s why. It’s out of water. Fill it up you fool.
10.00: What the hell is wrong with this coffee machine? It’s not meant to do that. *Scoops flecks of coffee bean out of latte froth*
10.01: I am sure we have some crumpets. Get off the counter cat and don’t lick the butter knife.
10.02: Butter is dripping; it’s dripping out of the bottom of the crumpet.
11.27: Which day of the week does Valentine’s Day fall on? I’d love to go out. Wonder if we can get a sitter?
11.28: Scrap that. The toddler won’t sleep unless someone sits at the end of his bed. It could be a bedtime disaster. What day of the week is it? Sunday. I can work with that. I’ll buy steak and a bottle of Rioja.
11.29: Steak? Seriously? I’ll go to M&S and buy one of those posh Dine In meals.
12.31: Crumpets for breakfast and lunch? It’s fine…
12.45: I’ll just check granddad collected the boy from playschool.
12.59: Why do cats try and sit on keyboards when you are working?
14.28: Oh. My. God. I am tired.
14.29: Could I lay my head down on the desk?
14.30: That would be extremely dangerous…
14.31: Have another coffee.
14.32: Boil the kettle and make coffee the normal way. Stupid coffee maker.
15.11: You are going to be late for the school run. Wait. Eldest child has a play date.
15.12: It’s actually not raining. The school run is the only exercise I get when I am working. I should go for a brisk walk.
15.13: I’ll check Facebook…
15.32: I just spent 19 minutes reading about detox balls for vaginas. (What the actual? Why would you? I can guess why but still, why would you?) They look like bouquet garni. I’d be tempted to pop them in a soup recipe.
15.33: This ‘Cats Vs Toddlers’ video is funny…
15.40: I’m hormonal.
15.54: Opening that last tin of Quality Street was not a wise move. Sod it. One more won’t hurt.
15.55: I can’t seem to find any toffee deluxe ones. Have I eaten them all? Step away from the tub of Quality Street.
17.11: God is that the time? Turn off the computer. You have children to collect. Go, go, go!
17.45: It really doesn’t matter that the toddler will only sit at the table and eat fish fingers if I let him watch Justin Bieber videos on my phone.
17.46: Justin is Bieber is hot. When did that happen?
17.46 [Milliseconds later…] That is an inappropriate thought.
17.47: Let’s watch another video. No need to say Sorry Biebs – the toddler is eating his broccoli. He must be a Belieber. Wow. I am funny.
17.48: It’s a good job that gag stayed inside my head
18.03: Eldest child has taken her plate to the sink and has just informed me she received a pencil from the headteacher for fantastic writing. I am bleddy brilliant at this parenting malarky.
19:00: Bathtime. Only another hour until the husband is home.
19:15: Eldest child is washing her brother’s hair. That’s kind.
19:30 Did a tsunami hit here? *Picks up a fake jelly-fish and bath toys discarded next to the tub. Mops bathroom floor with discarded school jumper*
20.19: It’s so lovely and dark in the toddler’s room. I’ll just sit on the end of his bed and wait for him to fall asleep. Sssshhh.
20.37: What time is it?
20.50: What is the 10-year-old watching on her laptop? Minecraft videos. That’s okay. Wonder if she has brushed her teeth?
21.00: A BBC Four program about brains? I won’t get it.
21.17: This program about brains is fascinating. I am clever just for watching BBC Four.
21.19: Husband has gone up. He’s gone up to bed early. He’s had a bath and now he’s gone to bed early.
21.20: I’m staying down here for a bit…
21.33: This brain program is utterly engrossing.
21.37: I’d better check the 10-year-old has turned off her laptop.
21.45: If she doesn’t turn off her laptop after three seconds I am extracting it from her grip.
21.45 [Three seconds later…] I am an utter failure. I can’t even get my eldest child to turn off her laptop. Ban it. Okay, threaten to ban it. My blood is starting to simmer. If she smirks or rolls her eyes at me one more time I could blow.
21.53: She’s turned it off. I might hide her power cable when she’s sleeping. She can endure the agony of watching the battery die with no way of charging it as punishment for being cocky.
21.54: She still hasn’t brushed her teeth. One night won’t matter… I’ll remind her in the morning to brush for SIX minutes.
22.00: What else is on TV tonight? Fearne Cotton and Gok Wan talking fashion on ITVBe. THIS is fascinating (and a little bit trashy).
22.45: There’s only so much ‘you look fabulous daaaarling’ I can take. Where’s the remote? Where’s the bleddy cat hiding? Did I lock the front door? Damn it, the sink is full of pots.
22.46: I wish I had a dishwasher.
22.55: I don’t want to make packed lunches. I want to go to bed. I’ll make them in the morning.
22.56: It’ll be hell in the morning if I leave it. Chicken and mayo? Child already had jam sarnies once this week. Remember when she quoted #changeforlife at you?
22.59: Jeez. look at the bags under my eyes. My eyebrows need plucking. Is that a grey hair? I’ll just get that grey hair…
Three grey hairs. I’m not looking for them any more. They are breeding.
23.01: Jeez, I hope this face cream really does target under-eye circles as you sleep…
23.02 Listerine mouthwash is like some kind of endurance test for gums. SPIT. IT. OUT. *Breathes cold air in through tongue curled into a tube*
23.04: Might just check Facebook on my phone…
23.45 Sleep now…
23.46 Is that a spider tickling my inner thigh, right near my lady garden? It’s a bloody spider. There’s a spider in the bed!
*Swishes hand around nether regions expecting to brush a spider away*
It’s a pubic hair. It’s a ridiculously long pubic hair.
At least it’s not a spider.
23.47: I really need to make more effort to reach UNDERNEATH with the razor.
What if I slice off my clitoris?
What the hell would I tell the paramedic?
23.49 Sleep NOW.
Some time later…
*Opens one eye*
Someone shouted “mummy”.
What time is it?
DO NOT CHECK that mobile phone to see what the time is.
It doesn’t matter, it is definitely not time to get up.
I wish the toddler knew that.
Maybe he’s getting a cold.
Maybe I am not spending enough time with him.
Maybe he is being traumatised by starting playschool two mornings a week.
What if I am scarring him emotionally for life?
He’s shouting my name again.
This is a go-and-check-on-the-toddler situation.
It’s fine, sleeping husband, you rest, I’ll go…
*Checks on grumpy toddler*
Ah. Your duvet has come off and you have lost teddy.
No, we are not watching ‘balloooooon bideos’ on mummy’s phone.
Don’t cry. Let me rock you for a minute.
I think that’s been longer than a minute…
Are you asleep? You seem asleep.
I’ll just lay you down…
I’m going to sneak out…
Feck, feck, feck.
It’s okay, mummy is here.
What if mummy lays down next to you?
I love your little arm around my neck.
Let’s sleep. Funny how your breath smells so sweet and is warm on my face.
Weird how I don’t mind that at all.
Are you snoring?
Some time later…
*Opens one eye*
My hips ache. I really shouldn’t sleep in his cot. My body is now twisted into the shape of a question mark. I need to unlock my hips.
DON’T YOU DARE CREAK. Damn you WOODEN COT.
I’m in my bed. I can lay flat.
07.20: That alarm can go screw itself…
07.27: I really need a new coffee maker
07.29: The 10-year-old is up. She’s moaning about her laptop being dead.
07.35: I love this juicer. Throw in frozen fruits some milk, some oats, a squeezy yogurt tube and bzzzzzz. Breakfast for the eldest child is served.
07.36: Hilarious how the toddler screams and runs out of the kitchen every time he hears the juicer going.
07.51: Coffee for the husband. How does he get ready for work in seven minutes?
07.59 until 8.35: EVERYBODY NEEDS TO LEAVE THE HOUSE. Go! Go! Go!
09.15: An empty house. Three hours. Alone.
09.27: This morning I am going to watch something on Netflix, drink coffee, read a magazine, do the Davina Five Week Fit DVD, paint my toenails, bake some muffins, watch more Justin Bieber videos, eat chocolate, see how much a long weekend at Center Parcs would cost, catch up on Call The Midwife, book the cat in to have his furry little balls removed, pluck my eyebrows and shave. Yes, shave my body everywhere.
09.30: I can’t believe I am defrosting the bleddy freezer…
About Sam Curtis
Sam, 46, is a columnist for the Lincolnshire Echo newspaper and writes for parenting magazine Molly’s Guide. She lives in the beautiful cathedral city of Lincoln, in a house that’s not as clean or tidy as she’d like with her husband and their two children: A tweenage daughter, 10, and toddler son, 2, who is often mistaken for a Tazmanian Devil in supermarkets. She owns two psychotic cats and will settle for chocolate when the Merlot runs dry.
Photo: Brain Anatomy Hoop Art by Hey Paul Studios (cc) Flikr.com