#44: Let’s Kill An Hour

#44: Let’s Kill An Hour
5 minutes to read

3pm is a real trickster. You’re almost at the traumatic yet surprisingly swift downhill slope that is Dinner / Bath / Bed. But there’s still a considerable hunk of time left before you can stick the oven on and commence the front door vigil for the arrival of fresh meat (daddy).

Ben and Holly has just finished, I seize my chance. “Right,” I clap my hands assertively and stand in front of the TV. “Let’s get the fuck out of this bloody house.” (I leave out the swears)

“Is Moo gonna come too?” asks Mouse.

“Well yes, I rather think she’d better.”

It takes a further 45 minutes to mobilise, which I won’t document because if you’re a parent / have a relative or friend who is a parent then you know. You just know.

“Where shall we go? Shall we go…up to Sainsbury’s?”

Nope, already been there before lunch and I can’t repeat the same branch in the same day. Oh, remind me one day to write about the time I was suspected of shoplifting a pain au chocolat in Sainsbury’s and eating it in the baby change. That was hilarious, I tell thee.

“You could get a coffee in Waitrose shop and I can have the dribbly bits?”

Excellent idea. It’s daddy’s turn to put Mouse to bed so I don’t mind if she has a sup of caffeine. What a good little social planner she is. We’ll do that, and we’ll go the long way round to drag it out.

You know in The Hunger Games where Katniss rides into the arena on that chariot and everyone goes wild with revolutionary hysteria? That’s a bit like how Mouse treats her time on the buggy board, except with ants in her pants. We half and half it, Mouse steps on, Mouse steps off. “Get on and STAY ON” I holler like a fishwife. “It’s a busy road!”

The long way round involves a hill, one of those misleading buggers that looks alright from sea level. Mouse flatly refuses to walk up it, reminding me that I did ask her to stay on the buggy board. She talks though. By Christ she talks and she expects engagement. I pause before we start the mighty climb. “Now, this is a big big hill and you and Moo are quite hard to push so mummy just needs to not speak for a couple of minutes, OK? Why don’t you sing to me? Do ‘Wind the Bobbin Up’, we like that.”

I shunt my body so that I’m at a 45 degree angle to the ground, arms outstretched, and advance up the hill with slow, deliberate steps. I actually think I’m going to die. My calves scream and spittle forms at the corners of my mouth. I think Mouse may be singing but I can’t be sure, I seem to have lost a conscious connection between mind and body. A gaggle of school kids saunter past me in the opposite direction but they may as well be the cast of Fame because my eyes have started rolling around in their sockets with the exertion. I couldn’t speak if I wanted to. I doubt I could even blink to communicate.

I recover myself at the peak and take great, greedy lungfuls of air. “Great singing, Mouse” I rasp.

“Daddy likes that hill, he can push us because of his strong.”

Oh, I bet he bloody can. All hail daddy, perpetual good cop who can do no wrong. Piss off. Piss right off.

Luckily for every up there is a down, and we fly past the industrial estate (I know how to show these kids a good time!). I revert back to cheerful, enriching mum mode and we have a nice chat about the cars being mended (slash, owners being fleeced) at Kwik Fit.

Mouse initiates another sing song. She very much enjoys Happy Birthday, and Jingle Bells, so I suggest ABC as it’s a bit more evergreen. She sings the letters without enunciating them individually, so it’s mainly a long one-word warble, like that place in Wales ending in ‘Goch’. I’m momentarily caught in a dilemma as we’ve strayed into student territory and there are lots of highly attractive young men milling about and I really, REALLY don’t want to look like a tit in front of them with my bad singing and foaming mouth, but I don’t want to be a proper shit mum either, so I trill along. This is Southampton, there will always be more students to impress. I’ll just lurk around the Freshers Fair or something, like a tentative cougar.

We arrive at Waitrose and I realise that I’ve massively over egged the length of this jaunt and the oven needs to be on in five minutes. “Let’s be quick quick then! Hurry hurry!” (Saying the same word twice over in an attempt to maximise its effectiveness is definitely a mum thing, and it doesn’t work.) What we really don’t need now is a conversation with well meaning staff and patrons of the shop. Moo doesn’t know any better, but Mouse actively courts attention and stops to chat to the nice singing trolley lady (who is famous in her own right with a dedicated Facebook fan page and all sorts). I’m mentally calculating that by the time we get home and I get dinner sorted, we’re going to be perilously behind schedule which means Late to Bed which means Shorter Evening for Parents which means Sodding Bad Times.

“We didn’t do the token mummy! Mummeeeeeeee I didn’t do my token!” Those bastard tokens. Trolley lady senses unrest and brings forth a fistful of green discs. I resign myself to the fact that this entire misadventure is my own fault and haul Mouse atop the token depository, where she puts all six into the same slot. You win, local animal rescue sanctuary. You win.

-SJW September 2016


Mouse Moo Me Too


  1. September 27, 2016 / 7:13 am

    This is me! The dreaded 3pm puzzle of what to do!! Love this!

  2. Kelly
    September 27, 2016 / 8:51 am

    Aaaww you’ve almost made me nostalgic for the pre – school days… I know? What the hell kind of sadist am I?! 3oClock though, always doom time!! #chucklemums

  3. September 27, 2016 / 8:51 am

    Oh the pain of it. I, too, battle an uphill when delivering my son to Pre-school. I know that 45 degree angle climb with no air and legs burning. I have taught my son to hold on to the stroller when we are out and I am consequently dragging his dead weight uphill, too! Looking forward to hearing the croissant story. #chucklemums

    • September 27, 2016 / 10:32 am

      My legs should be stick thin, in theory! Croissant story to follow…

  4. September 27, 2016 / 9:40 am

    Move the clock forward one hour after the baby has finished her afternoon nap and I’m right here with you… we made a trip to the local library (literally across the road) to pick up recycling bags last forty five minutes yesterday. Definitely one of my proudest parenting moments.

    • September 27, 2016 / 10:31 am

      That is epic! Great skills! How lucky are you living so close to a library too?!

  5. September 27, 2016 / 10:30 am

    She is! Ah it’s not too bad. It’s actually a lot of fun when they start to interact verbally. Thanks for commenting lovely xx

  6. September 27, 2016 / 10:59 am

    This is all so familiar. In particular the foaming at the mouth! Is 3pm the parental witching hour? #chucklemums

  7. September 27, 2016 / 12:06 pm

    Snorty laughs and foaming mouth here, you are totes f.u.n.n.y! The student bit so reminds me of me gawking at the Exeter students who look pretty hot if slightly over Jack Wills(ed). Oh the green tokens, yay. On the odd occasion i shop at the big W (usually after a small windfall on the postcode lottery) I have the screechy tweenager stand off as they squabble over the ‘3’ tokens I seem to have acquired! Cue the old dears with their tokens who think we’re the foul family who have got lost on the way to the spar! #chucklemums

    • September 27, 2016 / 12:35 pm

      Ooh yes I imagine the young lads are all very “rar” down that neck of the woods, I really must come and visit ???? I think there’s a little bit of Spar in all of us my dear xxx

  8. September 27, 2016 / 12:10 pm

    You’re right, 3pm is the worst – too early for dinner but too late to go too far because you have to prepare dinner. I’ve been known to take the Popple to Morrison’s ‘for fun’, but it’s only really fun for her – I spend the whole time trying to stop her from pulling things off the shelves and feeling anxious about all the glares I’m getting. #chucklemums

    • September 27, 2016 / 12:38 pm

      I suppose the optimum is a day trip that slides to a natural close around 4pm, but they create a raft of hassle in themselves! Lose-lose…

  9. September 27, 2016 / 1:28 pm

    I only started blogging 4 weeks ago and hadn’t really read many humorous blogs until I started googling ‘how to get your blog read’ and stumbled across you lot on Twitter. This is brilliant! Just my sense of humour. I was trying to pick a certain paragraph I could quote but I love it from “fresh meat (daddy)” down to “bastard tokens”. XX

    • September 27, 2016 / 1:30 pm

      Ah I had no idea you were so new! Welcome to all the crazy. Hope you’re enjoying it and thank you for reading ????

  10. September 27, 2016 / 1:34 pm

    Just brilliant! Sheer genius your storytelling is – gripped from beginning to end – that’s a sign of a fab writer my lovely. You are a fab mummy!

  11. September 27, 2016 / 1:57 pm

    Hahah, I’m now picturing all the hills I remember trying to figure out which one you are talking about! I don’t think there was a Waitrose there in my day so I’m a bit stumped…! xx

    • September 27, 2016 / 2:08 pm

      Ok, you know Riverside park, and at one end you pop out by an outdoor activity centre? Around to the left there’s a sodding great hill up towards Burgess Road, then you swoop down past the old B&Q and up into Portswood high street at the opposite end to Waitrose which you might remember as a Blockbuster. Clear as mud?!!

  12. September 27, 2016 / 2:27 pm

    3pm is only 4 hours away from 7pm – like chasing the end of a rainbow! Writing a post about Waitrose is showing off a bit though methinks ???? #chucklemums

    • September 27, 2016 / 2:30 pm

      Haha, I did note the title of yours and give you a virtual fist bump – looking forward to reading layer as I’m sure the output will be extraordinary James ????????????

  13. September 27, 2016 / 2:49 pm

    I can’t wait to hear the croissant story! And I have never seen the Hunger Games, but the way you described the buggy board scenario I still knew exactly what you meant! #chucklemums

    • September 27, 2016 / 3:10 pm

      I’m glad my wordy picture painting did the trick ???? thanks for reading and commenting lovely xx

  14. September 27, 2016 / 3:43 pm

    I am dying at the good cop bad cop line- piss off dads! As they swoop in for a half hr of fun a week!



    • September 27, 2016 / 4:13 pm

      I know, normally involving a messy bath time and elaborate story while I clean food and shit off the surfaces!

  15. September 27, 2016 / 5:24 pm

    It’s those 45 minutes of prep that get me.. By the time we need to leave I’m already so exhausted …. 🙂

    • September 27, 2016 / 5:53 pm

      Oh god I know. You get one person ready to leave and something goes awry with son own else!

  16. September 27, 2016 / 5:55 pm

    Hahhaha… so great. I can totally envisage Mouse and her triumphant chariot while you are slowly turning purple in stretching out motion. And those damn green chips… ugh. #chucklemums

  17. September 27, 2016 / 6:30 pm

    Ha ha, I think we can all relate to this one. Luckily my oldest is in school now so at 3pm we start getting to pick him up. Before youngest arrived this would involve popping my shoes on at 3:25pm and being home by 3:40pm, now the whole process takes an hour! At least it fills in that pre-cooking time mid week #Chucklemums

    • September 27, 2016 / 6:40 pm

      Yes I suppose I should count my blessings – this time next year I’ll either be doing the school run or breaking my balls at work trying to earn enough to pay for childcare ???? Lovely pre-defined way to kill the bad hour! Thanks for commenting lovely xx

  18. September 27, 2016 / 7:31 pm

    Totally agree – great & v funny writing! There’s a hill near my house of similar steepness (is that a word?) and I can empathise entirely. I have to say, I think I find it harder going down the bloody thing. My feet slap the pavement and I look like a woman not entirely in control (of the buggy, of life etc etc). Also – is it just me who has to either walk like John Wayne or sort of to the side with the buggy board on? Bloody thing. #chucklemums

    • September 27, 2016 / 7:42 pm

      Hahaha John Wayne or a very narrow footed little bird lady…I go for John Wayne or occasionally I stand to one side of the whole contraption and push with one arm, which is probably highly dangerous ????

  19. September 27, 2016 / 7:32 pm

    Hahaha I ask for wind the bobbin up too ????????

  20. September 27, 2016 / 7:43 pm

    Ooh I shall soon tell you if you’re not funny enough to be gracing us! Joke, thanks so much for linking up and for commenting. I should be grateful for my boring 3pm I know ???? xx

  21. September 27, 2016 / 8:15 pm

    Oh this is funny! What is it with the late afternoon? The killer for me is that post tea time/pre bath time bit. I end up just waiting it out because usually by that point I’m too frazzled to come up with anything else to do! And I love your description of going up hill. We live at the top of a really steep hill and the exact same thing happens to me every time I push the pushchair up it (including a fear that I may die). I’m sure I could never have described it as well as you did! #chucklemums

    • September 27, 2016 / 9:29 pm

      Ah thank you for the lovely comment! Er, we resort to TV in the post tea / pre bath bit, oops.

  22. September 27, 2016 / 8:33 pm

    A tentative cougar!!!! I love you!! Hahaha. At the moment TM’s attention span is mighty limited and he can’t have a conversation or request activities so everything is very short. Even taking him to the park doesn’t take long as he only really enjoys the swings and can’t do anything else. You can write about literally anything and make it funny. Tell us about the shoplifting pain au chocolat!!!

    • September 27, 2016 / 9:30 pm

      Haha thank you! Yep, even at 3.5 Mouse only likes the swings and slide so trips are quite short too. Oh alright then, I’ll do a special post when I’ve got time to write it up ????

  23. September 27, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    Oh my goodness, you are so right about the countdown for daddy’s return; Mother starts looking at the clock as soon as we finish lunch – and if he is delayed, wow! Your children are much better behaved that me in the supermarket aka meltdown central. V funny – and the pain au chocolat story must be told 😉 #chucklemums

    • September 27, 2016 / 9:31 pm

      Oh god if he’s late there’s a knock on effect for the rest of the week! I think I’ll succumb to peer pressure eventually and post about the shoplifting story ????

  24. September 28, 2016 / 10:33 am

    We are starting to get used to that schedule since little one started school full time. It does get crazy…daddy works evenings so all that fun is left to myself! how lucky I am, right? haha..

    • September 28, 2016 / 10:55 am

      Oh you have my sympathy – hope you get some time in the mornings or long weekends to make up for it!

  25. September 28, 2016 / 11:04 am

    I need to read you more regularly [puts it on seriously long mental to do list]. You do make me laugh. That’ll just teach you to choose the FAR easier option of just staying home then won’t it? Ba ha haaa. #chucklemums

    • September 28, 2016 / 11:23 am

      Thank you, I genuinely feel honoured! Staying home is always the last resort for me though, ‘stir’ and ‘crazy’ spring to mind…

  26. September 28, 2016 / 2:03 pm

    I remember those sort of days and the 3pm ‘nothing time’. That’s when it needs to be acceptable to sip on wine! Alison x #chucklemums

    • September 28, 2016 / 2:29 pm

      Under the cloak of the kitchen cupboard, but perfectly acceptable I think!

  27. September 28, 2016 / 3:18 pm

    Really enjoyed this. Really relate to that 3pm feeling and taking full advantage of Waitrose free coffee. #chucklemums

  28. September 28, 2016 / 4:21 pm

    Is that still the same singing trolley lady as used to be there 10+ years ago when it was a Safeway?!
    I find 3pm is ok in the summer when it’s still warm out and the kids can play in the garden, but 3pm onwards is shit in the winter when it’s dark and damp out and you basically have no choice but stick them in front of the tv for 2 hours… #chucklemums

    • September 28, 2016 / 4:27 pm

      Yes! Her hi viz waistcoat now has “Pat – 25 years” on ???? I know, not looking forward to this one bit, or the house being festooned with damp washing. Oh well, back to work soon ????

  29. September 28, 2016 / 8:27 pm

    I’m always torn, when walking to shop, between letting the Child walk slowly so it kills more time and telling her to hurry up because it is so f-ing boring walking that slow. #chucklemums

    Speaking as a funddraiser – the animal charity always wins. Every bleeding time.

    • September 28, 2016 / 10:46 pm

      Haha, I hear you mate – I get neck ache from constantly turning round to see how far behind she is. And yeah, I get that. My own cat has disowned us so I hope one of the charities feeds him *sob*.

  30. September 28, 2016 / 9:34 pm

    Those sodding green tokens are evil! Just when I’m teetering on the brink of a breakdown having survived a trip around the supermarket with my two feral beasts, we are faced with the big box of green tokens that do not give back the tokens that have been put in by my children. This does not go down well with The Boy. He likes to give things on a temporary basis and then reclaim them a few second later. Cue frantic Mummy trying to stop a toddler from destroying said big plastic box. Gah! Very very funny (sorry about that but it so is!) Thanks for hosting #chucklemums x

    • September 28, 2016 / 10:47 pm

      Hahaha yes, so true! Mine just looks at me and demands more, we’d be there for hours if she had her way. The bloody staff pander to it as well. Thanks for commenting ???? xx

  31. September 29, 2016 / 4:04 pm

    I am so with you, 3pm is a shitter. Too late to do anything successfully. I call it the TV hour. #chucklemums

  32. September 30, 2016 / 1:42 pm

    I do a less classy version of this where I go to Aldi or Lidl to look in those central bargain bins. Greg loves a good supermarket!


    • September 30, 2016 / 3:37 pm

      Pissing myself because I genuinely did this in Aldi yesterday, only we stayed for about a minute because it was so fucking busy and I kept losing a child…

  33. October 11, 2016 / 3:18 pm

    Yes, what to do at 3pm after school! Especially now it’s getting darker. Glad I’m not the only one who now views supermarket coffee as a treat and an outing! #chucklemums

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