While having an extra pair of hands around the house to help with the kids might seem like a delightful concept, it isn't always what it's cracked up to be, writes Beck Vass.
We're still in holiday mode a little bit in our house.
Because January is the relatively quieter period for my husband's work, he has been around much more than usual, with daily snippets of work here and there when it pops up.
He usually leaves home some time after 7am, so there are some things that happen that he doesn't know happen, which he isn't usually around for.
I think it has been an eye-opener for him to discover just how many times it can take to get our kids (7 and 4) to put their shoes on - and the unpredictable consequences this simple request can have.
The routine in the mornings lately is basically as follows:
One of us gets up to the two older kids (this fluctuates between us but in fairness to my husband has been more him lately, because I am maximising having back-up and I want to stay in bed enjoying the peace and quiet before all the madness begins).
Generally, I get up within 30 minutes to find the kids having toast, so I make hubby and I coffees while simultaneously trying to make the second round of toast or whatever extra food is needed.
While doing that, I'll empty a dishwasher and put away any dry dishes on the bench, feed the baby, 15 months, in the highchair if that hasn't happened yet, make a snack for whatever outing we are heading off on during our "morning window", mix a baby bottle, make sure there are nappies and wipes etc. in the nappy bag, fill the older two kids' drink bottles, wipe the bench four thousand times because it is black and shiny and always has greasy hand marks and crumbs on it that no one else seems to clean but me, maybe fill my own drink bottle.
My husband usually sits down on the couch with his coffee and reads his phone or half-watches something on TV about business or cars (*eyeroll*).
Then, I'll yell at him to stop the fight that's happening within arm's reach of him which he is oblivious to. I'll start stewing that he can't hear what's happening right in front of him so I storm off to the furthest room in the house, the laundry, where I find a load of washing that needs to be hung out.
My husband has a 10-minute shower. Uninterrupted.
He'll come out, dressed and smelling nice and ask if I am ready to go yet.
I look at him, disgusted, dishevelled and still wearing whatever I slept in - no make-up, no breakfast, dishes all over the kitchen bench.
On the rare occasion I get a shower in the morning, at some point there will be three kids in there screaming at me about some injustice one has inflicted on the other while the baby dunks a toilet roll in the toilet and starts to eat it.
Where the #^$* is he? Who freaking knows?
I scream out, furious, that he isn't paying attention when no one bothered him during his shower.
Sometimes, he turns out to be mowing the lawn. WTF?
Other times, also without warning, to be "helpful" he takes the kids down to the car and puts them in.
Every time, he will walk back in when I am doing my two-minute mascara (top lashes only) and say: "Are you coming?" In a tone that implies I have been pampering myself in front of the mirror all morning.
I don't even get time to wipe off the excess.
Sorry I took so long and held you up, mate, I'll try to move faster next time.