Down & Out In A London Kitchen

Esther Walker started a food blog called Recipe Rifle in 2009 when desperate and unemployed. In 2010 she married restaurant critic Giles Coren and far, far too quickly had a baby daughter, called Kitty.

The boring truth about motherhood

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
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on Tuesday, 08 May 2012
My life is quite dull at the moment. Actually I will go out on a limb and say that it’s actively boring. Up at 7am every morning, tend to Kitty, try not to ignore my husband too much, try to eat something other than toast, try to keep everyone in clean clothes, try to get work done on days when I have childcare and not just stare into space.

As a special treat on the days when someone else is looking after Kitty, I get in the car and go for a drive. Sometimes, I will go to a shopping centre and have a poke around in Topshop. Then I get home, bath and bed Kitty, make dinner, watch some telly, pretend to listen to my husband while actually internet shopping on my iPad, put pyjamas on as early as decently possible, try to be asleep by 10pm.

Sometimes I talk to my friends, occasionally I will actually see my friends. But most of the time it’s me, Kitty, my husband, the people in the coffee shop, a few other mums...

And that’s it, or variations thereon, day in, day out, week in, week out. Whenever I find myself in my car on the A406, listening to Capital Radio and musing on the fact that doing this, driving and listening to the radio by myself, is a treat, I remind myself that this life is not forever. It is just a stage, a rather boring stage, probably the same amount of boringness as secondary school. And, just like secondary school, it will end.

My niece Emily turns two and a half soon and in September she will go to nursery. My sister Harriet has no more children so for her the real hard work – the nappies, the buggies, the toddling, the dementing non-verbal management of illness – is over.

I am sick with envy. Although I know that it is just a stage, and one that to other people seems to be over in the blink of an eye, (“HOW is Kitty one already?!”), even if I manage to have another baby, fairly soon, I am still in this full-time game for another three-and-a-bit years. The whole thing, two children, plip, plop, takes five years if you’re lucky. FIVE YEARS! On one hand, hardly any time at all, on the other hand, it seems like flipping forever.

And it’s even longer until the eldest child is old enough to switch on the television and fetch itself and its younger sibling a bowl of cocoa pops for breakfast.

But it’s not healthy to think of these things in terms of numbers of years – it’s all too incomprehensible, daunting, and depressing. Instead, like an alcoholic, when you’re at the start of the long, dark tunnel of motherhood, you just have to take life one day at a time.

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