First, hang on for as long as you can hoping with all your might that your boyfriend might make it home in time to help with the process.
When it becomes apparent that this isn’t going to happen wait an extra 10-20 minutes just to be sure.
Finally, when your youngest child is on the brink of Total Meltdown Extraordinaire due to not having napped all day, decide you have waited long enough.
Enter kitchen which looks like it has been ransacked by burglars looking for precious jewels amongst your crockery and utensils.
Refuse to acknowledge said mess as it will only make you weep and beat the counter with your fists. Instead, turn your attentions to the cupboards which are full to bursting with tasty and/or nutritious delights, none of which actually go together to make a sensible meal.
Rummage through the freezer serenaded by the sweet tones of a 19 month old tantrum and rule out everything you come across as taking too long to prepare ( a whole chicken, entirely frozen) or as having zero nutritional value (ice cream).
Happen across a bag of frozen peas and decide on a whim to base your entire meal on them.
Check on your sad, hot, slightly cross 3.5 year old who is lay on the sofa watching WallE after having had his preschool boosters earlier in the afternoon.
Secure small child in laundry basket adjacent to washing machine on spin cycle which not only entertains him but drowns out his protestations. Provide him with a range of clean* (*optional) utensils, not forgetting, whatever you do, to make sure a wooden spoon is amongst them.
Begin to actually cook dinner.
10 minutes later receive instant chat message from aforementioned boyfriend to say he is on his way home.
Resist urge to throw phone in pan of peas.
Add extra of everything in and hope it will all time up ok (clue- it doesn’t).
Turn around to find littlest rugrat has escaped the basket, has thrown a pile of clean laundry on the floor and is sploshing away happily in the dog’s water bowl, covering himself and said clean clothes in manky spaniel-breath water. Yum.
Clean his hands and strap him in highchair. Realise after doing so that you ought to have worn earplugs for that particular activity and possibly body armour also.
Finally serve dinner.
At which point 3.5 year old will decide he needs a wee.
Begin to eat dinner. Trying not to notice exactly how much rice 19 month old is spilling on the floor. Until it becomes deliberate. At which point confiscate bowl.
Realise 3.5 year old is crying upstairs. On investigation this is because his arm is so sore from his jabs that he can’t actually move it to pull his pants down or up. So assist him with toileting needs.
Return to eat (cold) dinner.
Lament that partner’s dinner is also getting cold. So place it in oven to warm.
Give 19 month old a yoghurt and watch with a somewhat detached curiosity as he treats it like body/hair paint.
Then realise this means a bath is inevitable and feel another tiny shred of your sanity ebb away.
Decide partner’s dinner is probably *burning* rather than *warming* so remove it from oven.
Race upstairs and start bath running.
Return to find DADDY’S HOME!
Congratulations, you did it!