I find myself, as I poddle through the days, doing this, failing to do that, mentally weighing up the scales of what is to to be done and what can be left, mostly automatically. Then suddenly I catch myself thinking this stuff very, very loudly and it strikes me as odd that life has turned out to be such a balancing act, and such a compromise. As an impatient woman who hates to share and hates to do anything other than exactly what I please (me and Tallulah related much?) it is so strange to me that I have learned to bend and learned to let go.
Of course, I do not let go of everything, and nor am I as bendy as many people would like. And that is not a euphemism.
But I do seem to have a system of checks and balances that allow me to moderate my days reasonably successfully, and I also seemed to have learned the tricky lesson that it is simply not possible to do everything. And if, by some random, crazy chance you kill yourself to do everything, you find that the next day there are twice as many things to do. The devil makes work for idle hands as my grandmother, who had a truly excellent line in sayings, used to say.
It is also amazing the things that don’t happen when you don’t do things. I have found that the prompts I use to beat myself with when things do not get done – X will hate you. Y will tell everyone you are a filthy scutter. Your children will weep and have no shoes. These things simply do not happen. And if Y does tell everyone I’m a filthy scutter, well, it hasn’t killed me and I found that actually, I don’t care. Which is nice. Also, the children quite like a bit of benign neglect, and love not having any shoes. Who knew?
Like Chicken Licken – I have found that the sky does not actually fall in. And on the day it does, I will be too squashed to give a rat’s ass whether the children had boiled eggs and soldiers for tea again.
I am not gifted with the oft touted womanly skill of multi tasking. Or at least, not to the same extent as other women I know. When I am in charge of tasking, something always has to give. Usually my mind, or my bladder – and then other things.
Last weekend, for instance, the house got cleaned, but mostly we ate rubbish, because cooking complex, nutritious meals had to go out of the window. This weekend, I have cooked complex and fairly nutritious meals, but the house looks like a bomb has hit it. On the other hand, I have wrapped a bajillion parcels, stuck dozens of things on EBay and read a lot of Percy Jackson to the children. So, you know, it’s not all bad.
I do sometimes catch myself feeling guilty that I can’t do it all. I think ‘X manages to hold down a full time job, raise three children, make delicious food and her house is as spotless as a new pin – what is wrong with me?’
Then I think that I could do all those things. I know I could. I have done such things in the past.
Children without rickets, gleaming surfaces, money in the bank – but mental as anything and no fun or relaxation or time just to arse about being myself.
Not my idea of fun. Another one of those death’s door scenarios ensues where I picture myself being unbelievably grateful that I always had a pristine house and children who knew their way competently around a brussel sprout without screaming blue murder, instead of being glad that I shut the door on it all and had another glass of wine and finished my book.
It’s just not going to happen that way.
Although I am grateful that so far I have managed to stave off the rickets. Thank holy baby Cheezus that baked beans are a super food. That’s all I can say on that matter.
Nobody wants to get the rickets phone call from the school, right?