Secrets of parenthood: MAGIC THREE MINUTES


So. It takes three minutes to sterilise a baby bottle in a microwave bag.

Pre-baby, I might have used three minutes of microwaving to do any one of the following:

  • Stare musingly out of the kitchen window.
  • Stare musingly at the hole in my right sock.
  • Stare musingly at the microwave timer.

Here are some of the thoughts that might have gone through my head while I mused:

  • I ought to build a little firepit area in the garden, so we could sit out with our friends all night long, drinking beers and playing guitars. Wouldn’t that be nice? There could be bunting, and lanterns. I should definitely get onto building one right away. Or at least research it on Pinterest. I’m a little tired today, though. Maybe next week… Ooo, look, a butterfly just landed on the apple tree… Aren’t butterflies lovely?
  • I hate it when my toe gets caught in a sock hole. Really I ought to take that sock off and throw it away right now. But then I’d have to go upstairs and get another one to put on. And I can’t be arsed. So I’ll just wear it for now, and I’ll throw it away when I take it off tonight. Maybe. If I remember.
  • I wonder if I can guess exactly when ten seconds has passed on the microwave timer? *Closes eyes* 10… 9… 8…

Pre-baby me had a lot of nice wandery thoughts and a lot of good intentions that I was going to follow through on tomorrow.

Post-baby me, however, uses those three minutes of microwave time thusly:

  • QUICK, QUICK, grab a tea towel, yank open the dishwasher, GET ALL THAT CROCKERY AWAY! No, you don’t need to dry each piece of cutlery individually, just dump them all out on a tea towel at once and hope for the best. Worst case scenario: they’ll dry in the drawer! Quick, if you push yourself, you might even be able to LOAD some of the dishwasher before the microwave beeps!
  • QUICK, QUICK, grab your phone, you haven’t replied to your NCT friend’s WhatsApp message in SIX DAYS, now is your chance, quick, bash a reply out, don’t worry about spellings, sod punctuation, PRESS SEND! Great, now dash a text off to your dad so he doesn’t think you’re dead! Brilliant! CRAPPING HELL, you’ve got four voicemails from the health visitor – listen to the first few seconds of each one, get the gist, delete.
  • QUICK, QUICK, grab some food out of the fridge, don’t care what it is, just need calories. Is that hummus past its sell-by date? Crap, probably shouldn’t eat it, what if I get food poisoning and can’t feed the baby? OK, QUICK, jettison the out-of-date hummus, find something else, QUICK! Ah, crumpets. Grab the toaster! Oh, MAJOR BONUS – now while the crumpets are toasting and the bottles are sterilising, I still have SIXTY SECONDS in which I can find something ELSE to do!

Post-baby me is insanely productive in small bursts. Post-baby me wonders why the hell pre-baby me didn’t write ten novels, make dozens of dresses from scratch, and bake all her own intricately plaited sourdough loaves in all the DAMN TIME she had. Post-baby me LOVES the challenge of attempting a full kitchen clean in the two lots of three minutes it takes to microwave sterilise one baby bottle and one expressing kit. (Note: when attempting a full kitchen clean in six minutes, be really careful because it will probably involve running around with sharp knives.)

It is a secret of parenthood that three minutes can be a really, really long time. (A really long time. You may not be so grateful of this while in labour (WHAT DO YOU MEAN, IT’S ONLY BEEN THREE MINUTES SINCE I LAST ASKED WHAT TIME IT IS?!), nor so when willing your screaming baby to go to sleep (HOW HAS IT ONLY BEEN THREE MINUTES SINCE I LAST CHECKED THE TIME ON MY PHONE?!), but when your kitchen is a right bloody mess because the baby has refused to nap all day, or it’s 3am and you’ve just fed the baby and now you’ve realised you’re starving hungry yourself, those lo-o-o-o-o-ng three minutes of microwave sterilising can be an absolute effing godsend.

Never, never, did I imagine that I would look forward to the window of time afforded me by waiting for the microwave to do its job. But I do. I look forward to it! I feel super-affectionate towards that green digital timer display. Three minutes, people. It’s one hundred and eighty entire seconds. It’s a gift to frazzled parents, it really, really is.

Do you have any secrets of parenthood? Let me know in the comments! 🙂


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