Thursday is the new Friday

NS August 19th, 2010

Thursday for me is what some might call ‘Me Time’ but in reality would more accurately be called Outsourced Housework and Childcare Equals a More Patient and Fulfilled Mother Day. But that’s a mouthful so I just call it my favourite day.

On Thursday morning, my wonderful cleaner comes. I greet her as I scramble to get shoes on excitable children and herd them out to the car where I will transport them to Grandma’s house. I feel no existential feminist guilt for this. I look after two small, demanding children all day and am self-employed in two different capacities. If people can outsource their childcare in order to work, I can outsource my cleaning. Or both!

I know someone out there will be thinking I’m some kind of pampered, indulgent, stay-at-home mother who should be looking after her own children 24/7 and cleaning while her husband works hard to bring home the bacon, but to those people I say get off that sanctimony pony, make yourself a cocktail and hitch yourself a ride into the 21st century, compadre.

I do not cook. I do not sew. I do minimal cleaning. As of next month, my daughter will be in school all day and my son with either a childminder or his grandmother three days a week.

My kids probably watch too much TV. I spend too much time on the computer or with my nose in a book. I frequently say No to playing or chasing in order to do my own thing, or do the playing or chasing only until I get bored and decide it is grown-up time again, which is usually after ten minutes.

On Thursday, after I drop the children at their grandmother’s for the day and before I go home to a clean house, I spend an hour in a coffee shop drinking lattes and reading the newspaper from cover to cover. I go for a walk or a meander through the shops. Today, I put up a couple of flyers promoting my doula services.

I drive home. Alone. I sing as loudly as I want, drive faster and revel in not being asked a hundred questions from the back seat. I might stop into the shop on my way home and nearly forget not to park in the parent/child spots. I am able to get in and out in less than 10 minutes. Another Thursday miracle.

I open my front door in gleeful anticipation of clean floors and a gleaming bathroom. The air smells faintly of lemons. It is quiet. I can hear the clock ticking in the living room. Does that clock tick? I never notice unless it’s Thursday.

I look out the smudge-free window and admire the sight of washing flapping in the breeze, juxtaposed against the blue sky and emerald green grass. I turn on the radio and listen to my favourite radio program, Robert Elms on BBC London at noon, while I prepare lunch for one.

The Robert Elms show is a celebration of every aspect of this tumultuous city that we share. For three hours a day we revel in the numerous stories and characters, memories and aspirations which make this such an extraordinary place to live and work. Art and architecture, history, movies and language, shopping, drinking, dining and dancing all carried out to a soundtrack of music for grown ups.

On Thursday I do not have to cut crusts off sandwiches or put juice in cups with lids. I nibble at olives while I half-listen to the radio and daydream of all the places I’m going to see and all the things I’m going to do once I have not only one but THREE days a week in which to be alone.

Most of those days I will be working: doing my editing job; blogging (I consider my two blogs work in that it sometimes results in payment and because it keeps my writing skills sharp, which I still hope to utilise professionally one day); administrative work, research, study and preparation for my doula business; and general household stuff like taxes, banking, shopping, doctor’s appointments, DIY, gardening, etc..

But on at least one day each month, probably on Thursdays, I will catch the train into a new part of London or an area I’ve been but not properly explored, or to a place I’d like to visit. Somewhere along the way while out and about in this wonderful city of mine, I will do something nice for someone I’ve never met. It might be something simple like leaving a note or a small gift for a stranger to find, or helping a mother struggling with her pushchair on the stairs to the Underground. It might involve a bit of street art or guerilla goodness or a random act of kindness.

When out doing my history lessons/walkabouts/random acts of kindness, I will bring my camera and use it. With no children in tow, I will have time to change lenses or adjust  for the lighting and actually learn what my long-coveted pride and joy is capable of. Killing three birds on my life’s to-do list with one stone: fall in love with London, be a positive presence in the world and finally (finally!) learn the art of photography.

Thursday is definitely, and will hopefully continue to be, my favourite day. A day for me and only me. That, in turn, makes me a whole lot nicer to everyone else.

Photo credit

23 Responses to “Thursday is the new Friday”

  1. Gappy says:

    I kept sighing whilst reading that post. To come home to a perfectly clean house smelling faintly of lemons, with the whole day ahead to do what you wanted with. Heaven. I’ve decided I love Thursdays too. And I love London. Perhaps one day your random act of kindness could be taking me along in your handbag on one of your jaunts. Perhaps your childminder wouldn’t mind three extra…
    Gappy´s last blog ..My Little GirlMy ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @Gappy, Now I can’t stop picturing you as a little chihuahua in my handbag, a la Paris Hilton. Tee hee! You would always be welcome to come along with me if ever you could. Perhaps our random act of kindness could be finding a sweet old grandma who misses her grandkids and allowing her to ‘borrow’ yours for the afternoon. :D

  2. That sounds so utterly fabulous. I’m DROOLING.

    And no, you’re definitely not pampered just because you have a maid (or house cleaner/keeper/whatever). It’s a full-time job all on its own when you have small people always upending some thing or another all over you clean whatever.

    I wish I had my maids back. More than anything. I’m thinking of selling plasma just to get them back again… or maybe a kidney.
    Jessica – This is Worthwhile´s last blog ..2-05 pm- My nursemaid is SO unprofessionalMy ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @Jessica – This is Worthwhile, I can see it now — a direct ‘plasma to cleaner’ payment plan. Hang on to the kidney for now though. ;)

  3. TheMadHouse says:

    I think that I would be looking forard to Thursday from the minute they ended. Nothing wrong with that at all.
    TheMadHouse´s last blog ..The Benefits of PlayMy ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @TheMadHouse, Oh, I do. Friday is usually pretty good too because I’m uber-careful about not letting the house get too messy. But by Saturday…forget about it. Mess central again.

  4. I think your Thursdays sound wonderful. And, no, I don’t think you’re a pampered, indulgent SAHM at all. I was quite annoyed with MIL recently when she asked what a friend of Rosemary’s mother did, as she saw the children in the park with the local childminder. When I told her the children went to a childminder a couple of times a week, so she could go to the gym, my MIL frowned and tutted. Because, God forbid you should have someone else look after your children so you can do something for yourself. That’s just not allowed.

    Anyway, I would love your Thursdays. Enjoy them and I hope your 3 days a week come term-time are absolutely wonderful!
    Tasha (Coding Mamma)´s last blog ..The Gallery- A memoryMy ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @Tasha (Coding Mamma), That is exactly the kind of attitude some people have. It’s like if you’ve chosen (or have no other choice) to stay at home with your kids, you must do it all, 100%. No help here, missy! You’ve made your bed now you must lie in it. Some people seem positively gleeful at making sure SAHMs meet the terms of their ‘punishment’. To them I say Pfffffffftttttttt

  5. Mediocre Mum says:

    Someone on Twitter once accused me of being middle-class and smug for having a cleaner. Ny husband and I both work and we would rather spend time together as a family opposed to wearing marigolds cleaning the toilets. It’s the best £16 a week I spend (2 hours). I’m also contemplating arranging some adhoc childcare next week so I can have a go at cleaning the loft. She does go to a child-minder normally but not during the school holidays. Enjoy you’re me time.
    Mediocre Mum´s last blog ..Hands Off The BumpMy ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @Mediocre Mum, I hope you gave that person a virtual Twitter slap! The cheek.

  6. Sandrine says:

    Like Mediocre Mum my husband and I both work so we have a cleaner. We could do the housework at the weekend, but we prefer to spend time with the kids. And because of Max’s many appointments we wouldn’t really have time anyway. It’s a luxury, though, as well as a necessity, because we do regularly come home to a house that is way cleaner than it would be if we did it ourselves, and a pile of ironed clothes (we’d never bother with that).
    I wish you many many happy Thursdays!
    Sandrine´s last blog ..KissMy ComLuv Profile

  7. Liz says:

    That sounds beautiful! NP went to a nursery twice a week during the last school term – those two mornings were wonderful and cost £18 a week, it was well worth it. I’ve been going slowly mad during the summer with the combination of 3 year old independence and lack of alternative care, looking foward to her starting nursery in september, I”ll be sure to include my own version of your lovely relaxed thursday!
    Liz´s last blog ..3 years oldMy ComLuv Profile

  8. JulieB says:

    Sounds absolutely blissful, am extremely envious! (Alsothank you for reminding me that I really need to pull my finger out and try and find myself another cleaner)
    JulieB´s last blog ..TelephobiaMy ComLuv Profile

  9. April says:

    I love this. I can relate to it on so many levels…not having to cut crusts off sandwiches…and the joy of coming home to a gleaming house…(a luxury I am without at the moment but have been fortunate enough to experience in the past) In South Africa…that was pretty standard for your everyday housewife at least twice a week!
    I admire you for making it happen for yourself and identifying what it is that will make you fulfilled, less stressed, and nicer to be around! Many of us just sort of irritably growl around in a vicious cycle and never make those little things happen that can make so much of a difference.

    Right..back to my own personal chaos..moving house, packing, and grabbing baby before he pulls all the tape off the boxes i’ve just packed
    April´s last blog ..notes on a baby boyMy ComLuv Profile

  10. m t mcguire says:

    As a full time parent who has just finished writing a novel a lot of this post rang true to me… after I’d stopped laughing at the hair bit in your previous post, that was. Mini me is two and four months. He has a “rest” every day for two hours, not because he needs it but because I do. I have cleaners too and although I do enjoy being an idiot with him periodically I envy you your Thursdays…


    M T M

  11. Lyn says:

    Don’t feel bad. Your little ones probably enjoy their time out just as much as you enjoy your time alone. It is good for kids to not always be the center of their parents’ attention. It helps them adapt and learn to socialize, to be independent. And time to rejuvenate your spirit has benefits to the whole family. So enjoy your time!

  12. Adrenalynn says:

    This post is like a wet dream!! Your Thursdays sound absolutely fantastic. I concur. And applaud. Enjoy your me-days guilt-free!
    Adrenalynn´s last blog ..Sounds of silenceMy ComLuv Profile

  13. Emily Barton says:

    It’s funny, but people always seem to forget that before The Great Depression hit, it was far more common for women to have help (cleaners, nannies, and even cooks) in the home than not. And that was everyday help. Now that so many women are working outside the home, while trying to juggle child-rearing, we’re made to feel guilty if we hire someone to come in for a couple of hours every week or every other week. Something’s wrong.

  14. Sounds like bliss and I think every Mum should have some time to herself. About once every couple fo months I take the Monday off work and all the kids are cared for and I have a day to myself. Normally half relaxation and half getting jobs done that are hard to do with 3 small kids in tow! Divine Mich x

  15. Expat Mum says:

    I see your cleaner and I’ll up you a dog lady, – who comes two to three days a week. I’m about to blog about the whole thing, but long story short, we got the dog for the kids (no regrets there) but I have more to do with my life than walk it for an hour or two a day.
    My mantra – (after 20 years of marriage) “I was not put on this earth to “do” for everyone else.”
    Expat Mum´s last blog ..Flag feverMy ComLuv Profile

  16. I want your Thursdays! Can I come and meet you for a latte?
    angelsandurchinsblog´s last blog ..7 Secrets of highly organised mamasMy ComLuv Profile

  17. geekymummy says:

    sounds so lovely. Though I love being a working mum, this is what I don’t ever get, downtime. When the kids are at daycare I’m at work. When I’m not working I feel I should be with them. I can’t remember the last time I read the paper from cover to cover. I do get the house cleaned but still, my only me time is the hour after the kids have gone to bed before I retire. One TV show. A few book Chapters. Read a few blogs or write a post. I ration out these things.

    I have s secret fantasy of working only four days a week but having the kids in daycare for five! Wish I could make that happen,
    geekymummy´s last blog ..Friend weekendMy ComLuv Profile

  18. Rachel says:

    Your Thursdays sound blissfully inspiring…….these are the things I dream of too, walking around London guided by my camera, gonna try and make some time to do this now…….never listened to Robert Elm’s show (although I know him from his punk-rock days), will give that a try tomorrow…thankyou :)

    PS lovely photo-mosaic
    Rachel´s last blog ..My Child Needs Six Teeth Extracted- Does that make me a Bad MotherMy ComLuv Profile