|The weather has been a bit of a mixed bag here|
I think you enjoyed reading my last 'a day in my life' post, which you can find here. Thanks for all your comments. I thought a little reflective follow-up post would be good.
It was a full day, I knew it was going to be and I did mention this at the beginning of my post. It was however not a complete outlier. Some of you have wondered how I do it all. This precipitated a small existential crisis with the main question being is my life too busy? I can't remember a time when life was different. Surely everybody's life is full? Is it time to reset the business meter? To be honest, I don't normally think much about the business of my life, I just put my head down and run. It is a tactic that works well for me. I don't have superpowers, there is much that is left undone at the end of the day, sometimes for weeks at the time, particularly now that the kids are milling about the house.
(Digression alert) The endless summer holidays are torture if you are whether you are a working parent or a stay at home parent, or something in between. Things are bound to be hectic when holiday childcare is added to the mix. I don't have the luxury of going with the flow, as much as I would love to sometimes. I have a contract and I have a product to deliver. I am not complaining, I choose to go to work and I enjoy going to work. The income is useful, too. I have been criticised for my decision to work on more than one occasion and not always very subtly. Edit: never on this blog! I have on occasion felt guilt and regret but on the whole, work is good for me. Everyone must make their own choices. What works for me may not work for you. The few critical voices have always raised concerns about the wellbeing of our children. Well, on the grand scheme of things, our children are doing just fine. They are turning into perfectly acceptable young people. They are confident, independent and caring individuals, mostly (end of digression).
Over the years, I have developed strategies to cope with a busy life. At the off chance you are even mildly interested, I thought I'd share the strategies that have served me best.
:: I am disciplined (maybe obsessively so) during my working week. When I get up in the morning, I have a mental time table in my head, to which I stick if I can. This is particularly important for days working at home.
:: I believe a lot can be done in a very short period of time. There is an amazing amount of usefully available time hidden wherever you look for it. Waiting for the porridge to cook? Two minutes at least.
:: I am house proud but I understand that even an approximation of what I think my home should look like is unachievable at this stage of my life. If you drop-in unannounced, you won't find my sofa cushions straightened up and you might well find a pair of abandoned socks in a corner.
:: Smart phones and social media? The sirens of modern times if you ask me. People get run over because they cross the road checking their Facebook status. My main social media outlet is this blog. I am signed up to other social media but I restrict time spent there to certain times of the day, for example when I have a cup of coffee and nobody to talk to. It isn't hard and it means that I usually don't fritter way time on Instagram or Facebook. I am probably missing out, particularly with Instagram since so many of you have made the transition away from blogs (wipes away a secret tear). My phone only notifies me of calls and texts, both of which are easy to ignore.
:: I am totally low maintenance when it comes to personal appearance. Don't get me wrong, I do care but I don't obsess. My hair dries naturally. Applying make-up so artfully than nobody notices is not my thing (but I do like a bit of mascara). I dress casually unless a formal function requires otherwise.
:: We have a free-range approach to raising our children. This particularly applies to the younger ones now, the older ones don't need so much input (but plenty of listening time). I don't worry about the kids getting bored, in fact I believe boredom it is stimulating their own imagination. We also let them take risks, for example they are allowed outside to play on their own (having demonstrated that they can look out for common dangers). I don't obsess about screen time but keep an eye on it. We do play together, read books and muck about of course. But I am also happy to just let them be and get on with other things.
:: I am a strong believer in sharing chores. Everyone has to contribute to maintaining the facade of a well functioning household.
:: I make time for things I enjoy. This keeps me sane.
Of course it helps that I have tons of energy, even though you might hear me wishing that I had as much energy as a puppy. I do get overwhelmed and tired - more often than you might think. Just like everybody else, I have days when all I want to do is hide in the understairs cupboard and weep (once it is cleared of all the clutter that is flung in and forgotten about).
So here you go, Christina's guide to doing it all. The secret is that I don't. I don't garden (not counting the one week in spring when I do), I rarely meet friends for coffee, I don't to the grocery shopping, I definitely don't shop for fun, I don't iron bedlinen and tea towels, I don't tidy the children's bedrooms, I don't participate in club activities, I don't do any DIY, I don't go to the cinema (just a few of the things I don't do).
With this off my chest, I shall now indulge in a few minutes of sewing. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!