Bringing up a small child is both incredibly hard and extremely mind numbing

The other day (it might have been a Wednesday, but at this point who’s counting?) I identified the 21st-century equivalent of watching paint dry – on my TV, when you’ve been watching it for too long, it puts itself on to sleep mode.

Various screensavers come on – mountainscapes, beach scenes, lush green forests – and on this particular day I sat and watched them, weirdly mesmerised, for hours.

Some of them were places I’d been to in my old life as a travel journalist, a long, long time ago in a place far, far away.

As I watched them flick before me, trapped under a feeding baby on the sofa, the sky outside got dark, the room got colder. And then eventually the TV turned itself off. And so, it seemed, had my brain.

Before I had a baby I thought things were either hard and challenging (like algebra) or easy and boring (like vegging out in front of Selling Sunset). But bringing up a small child is both incredibly hard and extremely mind numbing.

My whole day is occupied and busy, but not with things I find interesting.

It can feel like an endless cycle of wiping, patting and removing a swollen nipple from a damp, leaked-on bra. On repeat. Forget Groundhog Day, this is Groundhog Every-Three-Hours. 

Admitting that you find it boring looking after your own baby still feels like a taboo.

I feel worried to even write it here, scared that one day my daughter Blake will read this and think that I didn’t love her or love this time with her, which everyone reminds me is so precious, and goes so fast.

I feel guilty that my friends who are desperately trying to conceive might think I’m being ungrateful

I know how lucky I am. But I think it’s possible to love your baby almost scary amounts, and also find spending time with them incredibly dull.

I knew that the early days of parenthood would feel isolating and lonely, which is ironic given that I now have a small person by my side almost constantly.

But in normal times there would at least be activities to go to – baby cinema! baby yoga! baby wine-tasting! (if only).

But because of the pandemic, most of these infant-prefixed activities are out and I can easily spend 10 hours straight not talking to another person, or at least not a verbal one.

Yes, I could text one of my new mum friends to meet for a walk, but having barely met most of them in person, I feel very out of the loop in a WhatsApp group that is 700 messages deep and talking primarily about nipple shields.

Sometimes I think of my primary school teacher who told us “only boring people are bored”, and most days there are things I can do to lessen the tedium.

Podcasts are good. Even a pixellated friend on FaceTime is better than nothing. And getting outside can be a lifesaver.

I know I’m not alone in finding life tedious right now.

Covid-19 has robbed pretty much all of us of excitement and spontaneity.

The events of this year have heightened loneliness across the board, which in the UK was already at epidemic levels. 

I feel envious of my partner Guy, who is back at work and doing wild things like having meetings, in person, sometimes in cafes! “How did it go?” I asked him, when he got home, the day of the TV zone-out. “Oh y’know, it was work,” he said. “It was boring.”  

●Follow Kate on Instagram @katewillswrites

This week I’m…

Reading… I Want To Be Where The Normal People Are
This hilarious book is by the creator of TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. 

Lusting after…Desmond & Dempsey
If you didn’t get the luxe PJs for Christmas, treat yourself to the cute knickers instead. 

Laughing at… @Mamastillgotit_
I love the lip-syncing funny videos this model, podcaster and mum puts on Instagram.

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