#DayInTheLife: Grethe Tozer
Grethe is a single mother of seven children, two of whom have special needs. Her days are busy, to say the least! You can read more about Grethe’s life at Life on Planet G.
This is a day in Grethe’s life:
This is a typical day in our life. I’ve picked Wednesday because it’s by far our busiest day.
The three girls are all in secondary school, 6th form and they leave early so my alarm goes off at 5:30 (I’ve never got used to this, it hurts every day) I don’t need to do anything for them, they are very good in the morning so I just make sure they have breakfast , take their lunch and give them some money for break time.
They leave at 6:40, then I get Ollie’s uniform ready, make my tea and porridge and take them up to bed for half an hour.
Ollie needs to be up by 7:30, this next hour is always a struggle. Ollie finds getting ready for school a huge struggle. He has no concept of time and is very anxious about the journey to school as well as school. It’s usually an hour of him screaming shouting and throwing things. Something I’m really working hard to overcome with the help of his psychiatrist. Amidst all the screaming I’ll get dinner in the slow cooker as there’s no time in the afternoon.
The bus journey is very stressful, his OCD and Tourette’s in full swing. He shouts a lot, mostly at other passengers.
We arrive at school at 9:15 as he starts a little later than everyone else. Then he stays till 11. In theory I have time to pop home for a very quick tea but I haven’t yet as there are too many mornings where I have to take him home early.
From school we need to head to CAMHS for his weekly therapy. This always causes much screaming, which makes our second bus ride of the day interesting to say the least.
We meet my mum halfway which always calms him down a little. After a wee, a quick lunch and a drink in McDonald’s we embark on our third bus ride of the day.
We arrive at CAMHS for 1:00 and Ollie does his session with his psychiatrist followed by a feedback session with his psychiatrist and I.
To get home we have to endure two more bus rides. So by the time we get home at around 3:30 we are both exhausted.
Just in time for the 3 hungry girls to arrive home.
Ollie retreats to his corner of the sofa with the iPad for some much needed relaxation. He’ll stay there till bedtime.
Between 4 and 6 I’m in the kitchen doing dinner. We try to eat at the table together although Ollie eats his dinner in his corner on the sofa. After dinner it’s all about the homework, with a-level, gcse and year 9 exams looming the girls really need to focus, this requires much nagging.
On a Wednesday evening I start the grocery shop, online, our shopping comes on a Friday but it takes quite some planning to organise meals for 7 fussy kids.
In the evening I often walk to the local shops with my older boy with ASD just to get him out of the house.
I try to find time for a bit of TV. I watched things on catch up or Netflix as I never have time to watch things when they are actually shown.
Before bed we get everything ready for the morning, uniforms , clothes, school bags etc everybody has supper, usually cereal. We change Ollies chart ready for the next day, his chart shows him what day it is and what he will be doing. We read it together in the morning.
The girls go to bed around 9:30 (the older boys whenever they want) and I take Ollie up. I read to Ollie then he takes a while to settle, I use that time for reading or writing a blog post.
If I need to I’ll get up for a quick tidy and hang some washing up.
I usually settle down just before midnight so I can squeeze in a few hours of sleep before we start all over again.
On the days that we don’t have CAMHS when Ollie and I get home from school he retreats to his corner while I do lunch and housework then I try to engage him in doing puzzles, online educational websites or sometimes a walk to the shops. I’m trying to get him out a little more now it’s warmer but this needs a lot of work. I usually manage an episode of something on Netflix (thank god for Netflix )
On an average day I’ll wash the dishes at least 6 times, do 3 wash loads, tidy 5 bedrooms, and squeeze in a couple of dog walks. As well as all the phonecalls, and emails involved when you have children with special needs.
Grethe is taking part in my #DayInTheLife project, a series of posts where people write about their typical day. If you would like to take part, please fill in the form on my blog post here.