Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

Posts Tagged ‘tired mum

Rant alert: What does a three-day weekend mean to a housewife?

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DH was like a little kid when he came home from the office last Thursday night.

“Long weekend!” he sighed as he sank into the sofa. “No work till Monday!”

“Yay! No school on Sunday!” yelled the kids, jumping about with glee. “What can we do, mummy? Cinema? Play area? Play dates? Swimming!”

And you know what? If anyone deserves a long weekend, it’s my DH. He routinely puts in an 11-hour day – often a 13-hour day – and didn’t get a day off at all last weekend.  While I know he enjoys his job, I’m still grateful to him for being the main wage-earner.

Weekend? Did anyone say long weekend?

“But,” a small, unentitled voice within me whispered, “what about me? I am quite royally knackered, too, and I would give my back teeth for a long lie-in and a little time ‘off’.”

As the housewife of the family, I’m the one who holds everything together; the one who keeps the cogs turning; the family well-fed; the bills paid; the a/c working; the pool clean; and the house ticking over. I’m the one who gets the flights booked; the suitcases packed; the homework done; the cars serviced; and the social life organised – the one who maintains the rhythm of our happy house – but when do I ever get a three-day weekend?

Actually, come to think about it, when do I get a “weekend” at all?

My working days are 13 hours long, seven days a week, and they’re not spent in an air-conditioned office. They’re spent running from pillar to post in 40+ degrees of heat, soaked in sweat and usually dragging various children with me, wrestling them into car seats, listening to their screams, wiping their tears, adjudicating their fights, toiling over a hot stove to make dinners that are thrown back at me – and trying to be “fun” as well.

And a three-day weekend for me means nothing more than an extra day of the above when, really, the kids should be at school – and I have to get my “other job” done on top of doing all the above.

No wonder I’m so blinkin’ knackered.

Written by mrsdubai

June 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm

On training children to wake up later

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I’ve always maintained that small children are a little like puppies. Not in that messy, slurpy way, of course (though I have seen some children who are exactly like that) but in as much as they respond very well to training programmes.

So, after two months of 5.40am wake-ups caused by DS running into our room for a cuddle, I’ve decided I need to train him to wake up later before I start to look 165 years old and start quivering with tiredness. But how to do it? I tried making his room as dark as possible: With shutters and black-out blinds, you’d be hard-pressed to find Darth Vader in there before 7.30am.

Night and day. Simple but effective. And who’s going to know if you set sunrise for 11am?

Didn’t work.

I tried putting him to bed later: Didn’t work. I tried cutting out the afternoon nap: Didn’t work. I tried putting him to bed earlier, increasing the afternoon nap: Didn’t work. I tried bribing him, threatening him and pulling a guilt trip on him (“Mummy’s SO much nicer when she’s slept enough”) – nothing worked.

So in desperation, I went on Amazon and bought a Gro Clock. This works on the simple premise that, when it’s night-time, the clock face is lit up blue and shows stars sleeping. During the night, the stars gradually disappear and, when it’s time to wake up, the sun rises and the clock face turns yellow with a big, smiling sun.

But will it work?

Last night we had great fun setting it. I thought I’d better not push my luck by setting it too late, so I picked 6.20am. DS understood that he had to wait for it to turn yellow, his favourite colour, before he could come out of his room – and he duly appeared downstairs at 6.40am, full of the joys of the yellow sun.

I’m wondering if I’ll get away with 9am tomorrow.


Day 1: Set for 6.20am, woke 6.40am.

Day 2: Mummy out gallivanting. DH couldn’t set it.

Day 3: Mummy & daddy out gallivanting. Clock not set.

Day 4: Set for 6.30am, cried “Mummy! I need a wee-wee!” at 6.20am. If there’s one thing that’ll get me out of bed, it’s the thought of not having to change the bed sheets….. here’s to tomorrow.

Written by mrsdubai

May 17, 2012 at 11:40 am

Demise of the afternoon nap

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This time last year, I was bemoaning the fact that DS, then aged 18 months, liked a nap at midday. Any later and he would be too fractious to get to sleep. Given he’s never been good at sleeping in the pushchair, it meant we could never go out for lunch.

I’d force down my sixth homemade lunch of the week and throw myself around the house in whingeing “When will we get our lives back? All I want to do is go out for lunch! Is it too much to ask?”

Forget DS, it's me who needs the nap

Really, I think it was the idea of having one more meal to think about and cook in a week that tipped me over the edge.

Anyway, without me even noticing, we segued into later naps and a spate of delicious weekend lunches at Tribes, Carluccios, California Pizza Kitchen (have you tried their tortilla spring rolls?), Carluccios, Tribes, Biella and, of course, Carluccios. The nap got pushed to 1.30, 2pm, sometimes even 3pm.

But now we’ve hit a bit of a watershed.

“I not sleepy,” says DS chirpily while I chase him round the house with his dummy and DH stifles a post-lunch yawn on the sofa. “I not habbing nap. I play wiv mummy.”

“Sorry, darling,” shrugs DH, heaving himself off the sofa and heading up to the comfort of our lovely bed for his own afternoon nap. Of which I’m usually a part.

Oh dear.

I’d give anything to get those naps back. Even at 12 o’clock.

Written by mrsdubai

September 29, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Not feeling so clever now

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Okay, so I started the week feeling quite clever with my deceitful plan to shield DS from the fact that DH was away. But, at 4 o’clock this morning, I wasn’t feeling quite so clever.

What they say about lies coming back to bite you on the bum? I think it’s true. At 4am, DS woke up, calling for me. I left it the requisite amount of time before going in and that’s when all hell broke loose.


“Daddy!” wailed DS. “Daddy!”

I tried all the usual comforting methods I could think of.

“Ssh. Daddy’s sleeping,” I whispered as I held him close, but DS was like a dog with a bone. It was as if he’d suddenly realised that he hadn’t seen daddy for ages and he had to see him at once. He was pointing to the door, arching his back, crying, screaming, howling for daddy. I wrestled with him in my arms; the screams got louder and more insistent. I fought not to drop him. He pulled my hair, hit my face – it wasn’t mummy that he wanted.

What would you do? Show him the empty bed and risk more screaming? Explain the truth at 4am? It crossed my mind to call DH. It would be 1am in London. Maybe he would be up? Would speaking to him on the phone make things worse? (Could they be worse?)

“Daddy’s gone out,” I told DS, as a last resort before fetching the phone. “He’ll be back soon.”

“Nooooo!” screamed DS. “Daddy now!”

Amazingly, the universe was on my side for, after about 10 minutes, all the fight suddenly went out of DS. He laid his head on my shoulder and went floppy in my arms. I walked with him for another five minutes, then popped him back in bed where he rolled over and went to sleep.

One more night to go.

Written by mrsdubai

May 12, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Five o’clock in the morning

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5am’s a tricky time. Although it’s technically night-time as far as I’m concerned, the first pesky birds are starting to squawk (anyone got a shotgun?) and the first rays of light are starting to ooze through the shutters of DS’s east-facing bedroom.

And there’s also the million-dollar question of: If I’ve been woken at 5am, will I get back to sleep again before the alarm goes off at 6am? My brain is one that starts thinking the moment I get up and, sometimes, going back to sleep just isn’t an option.

So it’s with a degree of trepidation that I go to DS’s room if he cries at 5am, as he did this morning. Opening my eyes, I did a quick scan of the darkness quotient. Would he believe me if I said that it was still “the middle of the night”? Was there enough light to give me away?

I waited. The crying got louder. I decided to intervene before he was so awake that he wouldn’t get back to sleep (it happens – he’s my son, after all).

I've used this image before. Sometimes my life, too, feels like Groundhog Day.

“Lie down,” I whispered, stroking his brow and hoping he hadn’t seen the brightness of the rising sun coming in from the landing. “It’s the middle of the night.”

He sat up. He wailed. He put his arms up in the air in that “pick me up” pose all mums know.

“No darling, it’s the middle of the night. Sleepy time,” I said, trying gently to push him back down.

No such luck.

“Mummy-daddy bed!” he cried. Then he remembered the absent Alpha Male. “Daddy” he wailed. “Daddeeee! Want daddee!!”

And I thought. This is it. At 5am on Wednesday morning, I’m going to have to tell him that DH is actually in London.

I couldn’t do it.

“No,” I said. “Daddy’s sleeping. It’s the middle of the night. Little cuddle and back to bed.”

It worked. Thank-you, universe, for sorting that one out. I even got back to sleep myself. For about 30 seconds before the alarm went off.

Written by mrsdubai

May 11, 2011 at 6:15 pm