Pick a stranger, family member, or friend. Imagine a day in their life.
It’s 6.30am and I am awake, listening to the sounds of my husband and my son, their breathing almost synchronous, the air warm and sweet with the smell of sleep. I lay there for as long as I dare, still weary from too many late nights and early mornings, gnawing at my patience and depleting my immune system.
Too long in bed means no lunch for the kids and a stressful morning, so I begin as I always do and start to wake the sleeping house. The kitchen smells of last night’s cooking and two-day-old garbage; the recycling is bursting from the carrier bag that hangs precariously from the kitchen door. I wash up, rinse the scale from the kettle, fill it, and put it on to boil – he won’t move without his morning cuppa.
On the floor behind the door is a green puddle, half dried from the heat of the radiator. My Chihuahua stands on two legs pawing at my shins; he won’t go to toilet outside if it is raining. I don’t have time to cuddle him but I can’t resist. I clean the pee one handed, my other wrapped around his middle. I kiss him and put him outside anyway, because I know his pee is several hours old. The rain drums incessantly on the polycarbon roof of the utility room as I take a pair of trousers and a couple of school shirts from the washing machine and stick them in the tumble dryer.
From the kitchen I hear the click of the kettle and I pour the tea for my husband and my own coffee. I take him his tea and he stretches, thanks me and lays still, staring at the ceiling. With luck he will be up soon, but probably not. I make breakfast for everyone, call the kids, iron their shirts when the dryer is finished and tell everyone where they’ve put everything. I feed my little boy who only eats cooked breakfast (and then only if I feed it to him) while my coffee goes cold on the worktop, next to the toast I won’t have time to eat.
By eight forty five they are all gone and the house is quiet. I wash up, make the beds and check my phone while getting ready. There are three missed calls and two messages. In twenty minutes I should be at work – but I won’t. Fortunately they are forgiving; they also need me there.