Them… you know, the ones that keep their shit together ALL.THE.TIME!
The ones with the immaculately turned out kids (to match their own immaculate states of dress), the ones with the kids who never misbehave, who are always cool, calm and collected – not run-walking everywhere whilst dragging half dressed kids with snot and porridge covered faces along behind them.The ones with clean cars, tidy houses and a (shhh!!) SOCIAL LIFE! oh, and an actual relationship with their partner.
Now, before I go any further, it must be absolutely clear that this is NOT an ‘I’m so miserable in my marriage’ post. I’m not. Yes, we’ve had our ups and downs (who doesn’t) and yes, sometimes I do wonder how the hell we are still both here, in the relationship. It sure as hell, has been tough on both sides over the last few years. But we are. Somehow!
This week has been a tough one. We’ve all been ill, kids included, (only a cold but the type that makes you feel shitty, bad tempered and run down), The Husband has had a ridiculously full on week (even more than usual) and I’m, quite frankly, up to my eyes in it.
So of course this is the week that; eldest mini-me needed to have two days off school due to the aforementioned shitty cold; the littlest mini-me has decided sleep is over-rated and is therefore an over tired, teething, feral beast!; my Mum went on holiday (seriously – how rude!); and our new childminder couldn’t have the littlest for extra hours due to prior commitments (completely not a problem but, you know, timing / sods law etc!)..
So while the Husband has been trotting about the country – to glamorous hotspots like Birmingham and Slough – I’ve been reaching ‘I CAN’T COPE’ status trying to patch gaps in child care whilst not pissing off my incredibly accommodating employers!
So, here I sit on Thursday evening, large glass of red at my side, pondering the 5am run I have committed to… and I find myself wondering.. How do ‘they’ do it?
The Husband and I both work full time (him in London), mini-me one is in Yr R and mini-me two isn’t old enough for pre-school yet, so they’re pretty needy. We both try to get some training in as much as possible – I probably do take a bit more than my fair share of time for that as I am prepared to go at stupid times of the day and because, if I don’t I might actually kill someone!
The house is kept liveably clean by virtue of a fabulous lady who does an hour and a half a week(all we can afford and I will double that as soon as I can) but in reality, the house needs more time.. it has the air of always just having had a tornado rip through it! Things are in places they just shouldn’t be and if we can ever find anything without a major drama it’s a miracle! The garden is an overgrown weedy mess, the cars need a clean and the washing pile is always enormous! These are all massive sources of irritation and stress for me whilst being seemingly invisible to everyone else.
Our relationship is an almost forgotten memory. If the kids are awake there is no hope of conversation as they start talking the second we do. And if they’re asleep then, to be honest if we’re not cooking dinner & clearing up, we are prepping lunch boxes, books bags, changing bags and uniforms before falling asleep on the sofa or, in my case, heading off to bed. We communicate more by text, email and this blog than face to face. And, oh the irony, if we do talk it’s usually about the kids!
We’ve both started getting up earlier and earlier in the mornings to try and get a head start on the day (pay – now naive!).. and we go to bed later and later trying to….yep, you’ve got it, get ahead of tomorrow! But surely something has to give.. what?
How do you decide what has to be given up in order to get some balance?
I won’t reduce my hours at work. Firstly, why should I just because I gave birth to the girls? Why am I the ‘default parent’? But more importantly, I HAVE to work. Yes, we need the money – the recession, redundancy, a wedding and young children have seen to it that our finances are strapped to say the least – but more than that, I NEED to work. I enjoy my job. People actually seem to think I’m pretty OK at what I do, and that means a lot.
The Husband loves his job, and he’s really good at it. So changing jobs to do away with the commute isn’t an option.
Gym time and training could be ditched I guess but who benefits from that? I already struggle with the impact of being overweight since having the girls and have proven beyond doubt that I NEED to train to clear my mind. I’ve lost my way this year and it’s taken it’s toll so, No.. I won’t be giving up that.
There’s not really much else that can get sacked to be honest…
I know this time will pass. Before I know it the girls will be older and less needy. And I have no doubt that I will crave these times. The times when they need me, just to cuddle them, to make everything Ok. The times that Mummy’s magic kisses really can heal their wounds, be they bumped knees, heads or anything else. The times that they don’t care that I couldn’t hold a tune if my life depended on it – they NEED me to sing ‘Wind the Bobbin’ up just once more. The times when, by 7.30am I have already heard ‘Mummy!’ SO many times I want to hide!
And I just hope that, once that time comes, the Husband and I will still be standing strong just waiting to be more than housemates who pass in the hallway a couple of times a day!
By 7pm I want to crawl under the duvet and pray that the fairies will see to the chores. The mere suggestion of date nights is likely to set me off into hysteria at the thought of yet more demands on my time that could be spent doing something useful.. you know, like sleeping!
So tell me, what’s the secret? How do you do it? How do you keep your shit together day in day out? And, WHERE do you find the energy?!