When I was about 18, I read the book ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’ by Allison Pearson. For those who have never read/heard of it (where were you in 2002?), it’s a ‘chick lit’ book, all about the pressures of modern motherhood. The lead character, Kate, juggles a million balls, including 2 small children, a high flying career, various challenging family members, friends she doesn’t see enough, and a to-do list as high as The Shard. When I first clamped eyes on the book, I thoroughly enjoyed it, yet those eyes of mine were still young, with few real commitments or responsibilities (unless you count being the one left in charge of nabbing a decent outside spot at our favourite uni local).
Fast forward 12 years, and I am now Kate, (albeit without the high-flying lawyer gig). And I’m thinking I really should read this book again, so I can laugh mirthlessly at just how much I GET IT now.
Currently, we have so much going on in our lives, and whilst I am coping, I certainly feel my head is spinning. In fact, as I type this, it’s certainly trickier than normal to concentrate on actually banging out a blog post, due to the sheer number of tasks needing to be done running through my mind. As well as the usual day-today routine that involves looking after small children, working part-time and running a household, we are also planning our wedding for the end of June, and the loft conversion that we thought would be taking place in September has been brought forward by our builders…with it starting today. Not much can keep me awake at night (oh the joys of early waking children!), but I must admit to not having totally restful sleep the last few nights.
For example, I looked at the various ‘to-do’ lists on my phone just now, and it occurred to me just how much ‘stuff’ urgent, non-urgent, soon, ideas etc that I have screaming at me from my phone, and subsequently wafting through my tiny tired (and wired) brain.
Take a look at this:
- Send out final evening invites- uni course friends addresses?
- Sort builder Steve coming round to pick up consent forms- time?
- Update blog: interiors posts, sidebar pics and links, popular posts, edit Kew pics.
- Sort new blog giveaway.
- Blog- sponsored posts. Deadlines!!!!
- EMPTY ENTIRE LOFT!!! Where to put stuff?
- Adam birthday cards.
- Book wedding hotel.
- Adam birthday dinner- book restaurant and babysitting
- Bridesmaid dresses
- Get wedding dress alteration money out of bank (cash only)
- Book time with wedding ring lady.
- Drinks with Stu the Photographer?
- Find and book cheese cake.
- Get passports photocopied re church.
- Update wedding spreadsheet.
- Thank you cards to hens and post.
- Sainsbos to get food delivery man didn’t bring- avocados, floss, lemons, jacket potatoes.
- Kids summer clothes- sunglasses x2, sunhat (Sasha), Summer trousers (Freddie), Summer coat (F), Tshirts (both), sandals (both), trainer socks (both), Toms (both).
- Ebay kids old clothes and shoes.
- Sasha- birthday presents?
- Sasha- party invites out and order decorations and cake toppers.
- RSVP re F and T kid’s party invites.
- Buy overhead pool towel thing for Freddie.
- Sort Direct Debit re Sasha swimming lessons.
- Sasha ballet class for September?
- Horse riding for me? HA!!!!
- Pick up Post Office ISA forms.
- Blog- SEO old posts.
- Can I attend Britmums? Check tickets and dates
- Change kids’ saving accounts- book appointment to discuss
- Freddie school induction dates
And it goes on…
I don’t mean this post to sound woe-is-me, or some sort of stealth-boast at how busy and wonderful our lives are (not always the case), but just to find out if anyone else has lists like this and feels like I do? I often can’t decide if we do have too much going on as per the ‘norm’ (although I realise the next few months are an exception), whether as someone who DOES like to be busy, is it something I bring on myself, or whether that’s just what happens once you ‘grow up’ and have a young family.
I’m fairly sure though that I’d always find ‘something’ to do.
I’ve always liked lists and being busy, you know, having little projects and things to look forward to. I do also know that I can definitely make things harder for myself in terms of doing ‘extra’, unnecessary stuff. For example, for Sasha’s 3rd birthday in a few weeks, and we’re having a little party for her at our house (and praying the weather is good so we can lob everyone outside!). She would really like a ‘Frozen’ theme. If I was making life easier for myself, I’d buy a ready-made ‘Frozen’ cake from Sainsbos, stick up a few purple and blue balloons and blast out the Frozen soundtrack so the kids can go WILD on Haribo. The latter will certainly happen…along with sourcing and ordering some Frozen-themed decorations, making a purple (possibly Ombre inside) frozen-themed birthday cake from scratch, some Frozen snowflake cookies, a pin-the-carrot-on-the-Olaf game, wrapping several layers of a pass-the-parcel (with carefully chosen prizes in the layers), baking some homemade sausage rolls for the adults, making party bags up, and possibly planning a couple more party games, just in case the kids are bored shitless of pinning carrots on Olaf and are running riot.
On paper I can see this looks faintly ridiculous (and makes me look like a bit of a dick).
But I’ll probably still do most of it.
And bizarrely I’ll still enjoy it.
Is this a curse of modern life, to want to excel ourselves in this way and keep busy, or am I a total freak? I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist but looking at all of this now, I’m not sure where this need to make an Olaf pinata has come from?! I know some bloggers out here might be able to resonate with me on being busy, and the need to get things ‘just so’. After all, I know full well how hard most of them work to build up their blogs, their brands, and not always with financial reward. In fact, I’ve never felt happier or more fulfilled since starting this little space of mine, being creative, despite the time and head space it can take up.
However, I often find it hard to switch off, and would like to be a little more ‘present’ sometimes with the children. Don’t get me wrong, I do a lot with them, but often it feels like me ticking something off (something crafty today? Done! Read X number of books? Hurrah!), rather than a go-with-the flow that I’d like a bit more. Hopefully this will happen once the summer comes, the wedding has happened and the loft is complete, and the pace of our life slows down a little. The one thing I do try and do is have ‘pottering’ days at home with them, so even if I’m spending a couple of hours total throughout the day doing jobs, they are having a nice, gentle, relaxing day, playing and unwinding.
And of course, I don’t go doolally in every aspect of my life despite appearances. That really would be mad, not to mention annoying for those who come into contact with me on a regular basis ;-), and I do definitely have small periods of procrastination (hello, hangovers), but otherwise, I like to grab life by the horns and give everything my best shot. Irritatingly for me, I’ve actually found I’ve become more driven and ambitious since having children, when time is squeezed the most.
I rarely mention this in real-life, as there’s nothing more annoying than someone competitively bleating on how ‘Kerr-azy’ their lives are, especially when they bring it on themselves (Yes, YOU, real-life-irritating-family-member). So it might look like I’m gliding along, but underneath I’m paddling like mad to stay afloat and not always getting anywhere fast.
As a family, we are really lucky, in that we have grandparents close by to help with the children, and I work part-time, leaving enough time to get things done, so I don’t have any reason to moan really. Adam works hard and is also really hands on, so it’s not like he’s not around to have input and ease the load.
My hats go off though to all the parents who work full time and have no help nearby, all whilst trying to juggle all the day-to-day stuff life brings- pleasurable, crap, or otherwise.
I don’t know how you do it.
I’m aware this is a bit of a rambling post but I hope you get the jist of what I’m getting at.
Please tell me I’m not alone?!
Linking up with ‘Let’s Talk Mommy’ and ‘Share With Me’ and Super Busy Mum’s Mad Mid Week Blog Hop!
Oh Becks, I flipping LOVE this post! I’m totally with you on the pressure to do everything right. Just now I’m stressing because I’m not getting time to comment enough, and people might hate me, and I’m missing my own bloody link ups too! 😉 I’d be just the sort to feel I need to make an ombré birthday cake, and homemade sausage rolls – why do we do it to ourselves?? Your life is extra specially crazy at the moment – sometimes it just comes like that, in waves, doesn’t it? Here’s to relaxing days ahead – and time to fit in that… horseriding?? 🙂 xxx
I know, me too re the commenting! I have hardly had time to read any blogs or comment, feel well out of the loop and that I will be forgotten by everyone! *wails* One of my jobs for tomorrow morning hopefully. The horse riding will have to wait! x
You are definitely not alone! I constantly feel as though I’m not achieving what I should do and wish the day was longer or I didn’t need to sleep.
Glad it’s not just me- I would love 12 hours to work, 12 hours with the children, 12 hours to socialise/have hobbies and 12 hours to sleep- it’s not too much to ask, right?! 😉
Oh goodness I know this feeling so well Becky! Sounds like you’ve got your work cut out with that list. Perhaps shelve the horse riding for now?! 😉 x
I think that’s probably a good idea Suzanne, the gee gees will just have to wait! x
I’d like to point out that, much of the time, when I ask if there’s anything I can do to help, the answer tends to be ‘no’ !!!! Not that you’re a control freak – just like me, of course!!! xxxx
I know I know, but lots of this you wouldn’t be able to do anyway, but thank you for being there when I do need you- I will always say if I do! x
I am so in awe of mothers that just looks like they are on top of things cuz I only have a son and I am struggling with life! So yes I get you and I feel you girl!
Oh and I think I have said to myself that I will see the movie (years ago) but I just still have no time for it.
Me too, would love to watch it but no time right now! I think things always get more manic when you have kids, whether it’s 1 or 6, life suddenly becomes a lot more hectic!
For me lately, it has literally been a check on the box to read a chapter of the current book my daughter and I are reading, or to spend time playing outside with my son, etc. My life is too insane and I’m trying to figure out how to scale it back, but for now at least it’s something.
I SO know what you mean, especially re the kids, and it shouldn’t be like this- I too will be looking to scale back on lots of things and prioritise the important ones (like playing games with the children) once the building work/wedding are over. Let’s hope we both manage it x
oh my you certainly are mega busy lately. I love lists too but mine is so big it nearly fills a whole notebook up haha. I read that book to a long time ago and now i am a mum myself i have no idea how some mums do it i am sure i’m missing out on some kind of mum secret x #sharewithme
I would love to know that secret too, haha! I have to admit, I do love a list despite my moaning 🙂
I love this post Becky! Okay, my to-dos are not as long as yours, but even so there’s a lot of stuff on there that I WANT to do rather than NEED to do. I WANT to make my daughter’s birthday cake with my own hands; her birthday is not something that I just want off the shelf! And your point about what a crazy time to choose to get driven – when time is shortest. Maybe it’s because having kids pulls you up and makes you think about the sort of person you hoped you’d be, and you suddenly realise that time is going REALLY fast! I also love your idea of pottering days (and may I suggest a no-iPhone day??) to reconnect and chill with the kids. And anyway, SOMEONE’S got to put away all that washing, right?! Lots of love and have a great weekend xxx
Yes, amen to no iphone days/afternoons- I am determined to have more of these, it can’t be good for the soul, looking at phones all the time and it’s not good for the children to see us on them 24/7. It’s a bad habit- if I leave my phone upstairs charging I don’t miss it, but if it’s there I can’t stop fiddling! xx
Oh you are ANYTHING but alone in this! The pressures of daily living with kids under our wings is a pretty hefty and quite frankly….terrifying job! But we ROCK it! Lists as long as our arms and then some aside! We rock it! 😉 Thanks for linking up! #MMWBH x