We’re over half way through the Summer holidays and I’m not actually quite sure how I’ve made it this far! I’ve found this year more of a struggle than most, and I know I’m not alone in that.
I’m married to a teacher so in theory I should have loads of spare time to work during the holidays but bizarrely it hasn’t really felt like that. We’ve both had to take on second jobs during the last few weeks for financial reasons, he’s in the final month of writing a book (deadline is looming), we’ve got a 15 year old daughter who requires us to be her taxi on a daily basis (what is it with teenage social lives?!) and a son who would rather be on the Xbox all day than do anything else so we need to manage that diplomatically and calmly...! We’ve dog sat, child-minded and had family and friends come and stay. I’ve had to prep and deliver workshops and stay on top of emails and calls. And we live in a small house with just one open plan living space so we’re all on top of each other. It’s been loud, messy and chaotic.
There’s no space – in my house or in my head. Is there ever any time for us to take care of ourselves within all the juggling?
How do you all do it?
Even when I have got some time, my constant internal monologue is telling me everything else I need to be doing, and whatever it is I end up working on, there’s guilt because something else needs my attention. And I’ve tried to be organised. We’ve got a huge calendar on the fridge which we filled in at the start of the holidays with all our fixed commitments (work & play), so we can work around each others agendas and all (in theory) be happy. But still, stuff crops up and interruptions happen and it’s gone a little bit awol!
We managed to get away for 3 days, which was lovely and I did manage to stop for a few days, but that in itself adds to the challenges of catching up with everything on our return. What would happen if we went away for a fortnight??!
This blog post should have been written on Wednesday but here we are on Saturday, and I’ve still not sent out July’s email newsletter and I’m only replying to emails today that were sent 8 days ago. I feel a little like I’m chasing my own tail. My brain doesn’t have the capacity it needs to focus and concentrate.
So I head to Google to find some tips to tell me how to manage my time better – and there are loads of them, and all very helpful. I’ve read blogs by working Mums all saying the same thing and trying to overcome the juggle challenge. All about planning, and routine, and structure and everything I know and have tried to put into place. But I think I need my headspace. I don’t want to wish the kids and husband back to school, I really don’t, but I know how much easier things are when I have the time and space to work without interruption (or guilt.) But then I have guilt for wanting my space back. Can I win?? Err, no.
I know there are so many of you feeling exactly the same, and I know because I’ve spoken to some of you about it.
I know I can’t do it all, and so what I’m doing is not beating myself up about it. And that’s taken me a while to realise – to understand that it doesn’t matter. It might have felt an age since I last wrote, but all my readers are so busy that I’ve got to tell myself that they aren’t counting the days, tapping their wrist watches, and tutting to themselves that I’m overdue on my blog. I’ve got to let it go.
I will do as much as I can, in the time and space that I’ve got – and surely that’s good, right?
There are four of us in this household with equal needs and responsibilities and frustrations, so I need to balance what I have to do, with what I have to give them, just as they need to do the same with me. But even that in itself takes a huge amount of work!
Do we ever figure it out?
My friend Helen Bryce Kisby runs The Guilty Mothers Club and had written a programme called Organise Your Entire Life. She’s a mum of three who knows the challenges that come with trying to balance work and kids and home and partner and everything inbetween, and has put together all the strategies she’s learnt along the way into this online course. I’ve bought it – it’s there in my inbox and all the documents are downloaded, but ironically haven’t had time to look at it yet… But I will! And I’ve told her I’m going to write a blog post about it too, so watch this space.
Hopefully by the end of it I will be one hell of an organized guru with everything figured out…
And if not, by then summer will be over and the house will be mine again. Problem solved!
I’d love to know how you do it – do you struggle with the juggle? Please leave me a comment, give me some tips or just let me know that you’re there with me!
Helen @ The CBN x
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