Something I get asked a lot as a relatively new mum, business owner and TMK blogger is how do you organise your time? How do you prioritise and get everything done? And fit in Zumba, running and yoga too – you must be some sort of super woman! How do you balance it all?
Er…sorry to shatter any illusions but no…the simple truth is is that I don’t. I do try, really I do, every day. But most of the time I am winging it by the seat of my pants thinking, ‘Is this normal?’ ‘Am I doing this right?’ I feel guilty!’
I love my son – my loving, little loon and as hard work as he can be at times, he is my world. I also love my job – my creative, fun, demanding and exhausting job. Finding a guilt-free balance between the two of them will probably be my life’s quest.
I’ll set the scene…
I feel guilty when I go out to work. I feel guilty when I am on my laptop as my son plays happily. I feel guilty if I actually get to drink a cup of tea – while it is still hot – while he feeds himself his own brekkie. I feel guilty when I drop him at my mum’s so I can get the food shopping done. I feel guilty if I cave in and let him watch too much Peppa Pig. I feel guilty when I am ill and we don’t venture outside of the house for the day. I feel guilty if I plonk him in his cot with a book so I can wash my hair. I feel guilty putting him in his cot knowing that when he wakes up he’ll cry for me. I feel guilty letting him sleep between us in bed. I feel guilty just contemplating nursery…and the list goes on and I’m sure many of you reading this will sympathise.
Being a Catholic (loosely speaking) I know a fair few things about guilt. I guess it has been instilled in me and I have grown up feeling guilty about most things. But this is guilt on a new level!
The thing is I am blessed to have a really lovely, smiley, happy and contented little chap who is well loved. Everyday he seems to be thriving and learning something new, entertaining us with a new quirk. I just hope that I don’t look back and feel as though I have missed too much – that would be guilt overload!
I thought I’d share my little coping strategies on days when I am really feeling it:
– Remember you are not alone! Your situation is not unique – your closest colleagues probably feel exactly the same.
– Spend quality time with them. Wednesday is our time. No matter how busy work/home life gets, dedicate time for mum and child fun. We like to get up, have a late brekkie, go for a walk, then to mums and tots, on to a relative for a brief visit and back home to play. Whenever you have time to spend together, make it memorable. Surely just a 30 minute trip to the local park is better than 5 hours together spent dragging him around appointments and dull chores?
– Remember that being a worker is teaching them a great lesson. Now, don’t get me wrong I have absolutely nothing bad at all to say about women who choose not to work, I am merely talking from my own experience. I truly believe whether you work or not, whether you are married, divorced, single…whatever…all parents want the best for their children. I don’t believe going to work is emotionally scarring my son – I think going out to work teaches him the value of hard work and how to be independent.
– Remind yourself why you work. Whether it is for the money to pay your bills, for the love if it, for your own sanity or other benefits – you and your family are gaining from it and that can only be good.
– Rope in the best carers. For the times you do need an extra pair of hands, three more days in the week to get any housework done or just an hour to yourself enlist someone you can trust to help you out. This will make you feel less guilty about leaving them.
– Talk about it with other parents. Feeling like you are not alone can help you realise that you aren’t having a personal failure and that you aren’t the only one struggling. In fact, making a guilty confession can often lead to a few laughs. I’ll share one of mine…spending a few minutes a day teaching my boy to call, ‘Daddy, Daddy’ if he has done a poo! 🙂 Not to mention, skipping out pages in story books hoping he won’t notice…or just freestyling the story to mix it up a bit, telling him the TV is broken on a regular basis, wiping his nose in public with a sanitary towel when it was all I had in my handbag…the list goes on…
So, these are my tips. Oh, and most importantly, I like to remind myself that imperfections are what make us unique and that guilt achieves nothing.