Monthly Archives

September 2016

A single mom’s workday schedule

September 21, 2016


6.30: the sound of the relaxing, not-too-loud alarm on my mobile phone. My trained hand swiftly grabs the annoying device and snoozes it. Just a few more seconds…

My daughter’s still fast asleep next to me, her small body motionless.

7.00: high time we got up. I hum softly to wake her, turn on the TV and pick a cartoon channel. She usually gets up while listening to Sponge Bob’s discussions with his friends.

7.30: time to leave the house, but we normally still negotiate the choice of clothes for the day.

7.45: we go out still discussing and rush into the car. Actually, I rush in while my daughter calmly places her toys on the seat. The toys „live in our car so that the child is not bored during the ride“.

8.10: we say goodbye at the kindergarten, like it’s the first time and we haven’t done it almost every single day for the past four years. I’m late for work.

8.30: I walk hurriedly into the office, with the coffee mug in one hand and the expression on my face signalling “don’t ask, you don’t want to know about my morning“. I start hitting the keys on my keyboard franticly like the doomsday’s just around the corner.  

… the workday drags on, filled with the occasional calls from my bosses, co-workers and my mother, who has to discuss a problem with the neighbours/ her new medication/ what a friend had just told her and none of this can be left for later.



4.00: My co-workers usually knock off at this time, but I have to stay longer because I got in late. While the clock ominously ticks…

4.30: I start the car and step on the gas. I have 20 minutes to get to the kindergarten, park the car, pick up my daughter and drive her to the pool where she takes swimming lessons.  

5.00: we finally reach the swimming pool after stopping at the baker’s to buy the pain au chocolat. She’s now happily chewing the pastry as if she hadn’t had a snack half an hour earlier. I change her clothes and go to take my spot by the window. I’ll spend the next hour there watching her dive like a duck (she plunges her head into the water, and leaves the butt and legs on the surface).

6.00: I dry her hair and help her get dressed. I’m assailed with a thousand questions (Did you watch the whole time? How was I? Did you see me dive? Did you hear the coach say that I was the best?).

6.15: Carrying my purse and the rucksack with the swimming gear on one shoulder and dragging my daughter with my other hand, I try to reach the supermarket.

6.45: I add a grocery bag to the purse and the rucksack. I’m still dragging my daughter, who is now almost at the final stages of starvation and exhaustion.

7.15: She watches Peppa Pig during the dinner

8.00: She has a bath with Peppa and George

8.15: She watches the cartoons while I pick up the clothes strewn across the floor and remove the dishes from the dining table.  

9.30: My daughter’s asleep. Finally, up next – my quality time! Maybe I can watch a movie, read a book or a magazine, write my blog… or maybe I’m too knackered to do anything at all.

… Tomorrow is a new day, which will most certainly bring something new. Aha! We might skip the swimming lesson and go to a birthday party, take an English lesson or visit her dad instead… Yippee!


A child never cries for no reason

September 5, 2016

How sensitive or, in trendier terms, emotional children are and how they express their emotions I am only now slowly beginning to discover with my own kid.

Small children, as we all know, cry when they’re in distress. Kids burst into tears easily. My daughter can switch from laughter to tears in a matter of seconds. And the cause for the tears? Well, sometimes it’s concrete, and sometimes it’s hard to put your finger on it.

My knowledge of all this is quite limited. I remember little about my own childhood and most of my friends’ children are grown. At the time they were little, I wasn’t particularly interested in their psychological development.

So, here I am now, in a whole new dimension. Why does my daughter occasionally cry for no apparent reason?

Because she’s tired. Yes, the fatigue seems to be the cause of abrupt mood changes, tears and unreasonable requests (I’m hungry, I want five sausages…).

Because she’s afraid. In small children, fear is sometimes irrational. She got scared because the hall was dark, and I was in the bathroom while some aggressive images were shown in a cartoon on TV (Mom, something terrible happened to the small pony…)

Because small children need to feel over and over that you are with them, that you’re listening carefully when they have something to say to you. Because the child is still small, even when you think that he or she has grown so much.

My daughter’s been going to the same kindergarten for years. Her teachers are pleasant young women and her friends are nice kids she’s been playing with ever since she was crawling with a soother in her mouth.

Not long ago, her favorite teacher came back from vacation. She told me that my daughter was at first reserved and kept her at bay, unlike the other children who were obviously delighted to see her again. Then she started crying. The experienced teacher easily detected what I’m yet to learn to recognize: a subtle emotion conveyed not through cheerfulness or laughter, but through excitement and tears.

Our children will be small even when we’re convinced they’ve grown. And then, like now, they will need our undivided attention and support. Try to understand every tear they shed and treat them with care. Put away your mobile phone or the remote control, stop whatever it is you’re doing when it happens. Open your arms and offer them consolation and understanding.