Today I forgot to drop off the ironing off…. this is quite probably the most middle class statement I’ve ever written and yes, in the grand scheme of things it’s not the end of the world. BUT it meant I’d dropped one of the many balls I was juggling.
Now I’m good at juggling. Without wanting to sound arrogant I’d say I’m probably better than most:
As well as being a Babywearing Consultant, Trainer, Sling Library owner and Baby Carrier Retailer I also teach one-to-one Singing lessons. I’m involved in the local Amateur Dramatics group which takes up a couple of evenings a week (more during show week), plus line-learning. I have two school-aged children, a husband and parents who we’re in the middle of building a Granny Annexe for. Oh – and an almost 4-months-old puppy, a 9 year old dog and an 18 month old cat. I try and get to the gym to do dance or yoga classes a couple of times a week too, plus go to gigs or the theatre when I can.
Most of the time I juggle it all relatively easily. I mean it’s incredibly rare that I get an evening ‘off’; if I’m at home for the evening I’ve generally got one eye on the TV and the other sorting things out on my website, or I’m cooking dinner while replying to someone about their upcoming Consultation or creating an ‘interesting, informative or amusing’ Social Media post to schedule at just the right time that – hopefully – Social Media will consider it worthy to be seen.
So yup, it’s pretty relentless. You’re probably wondering ‘why on earth does she do so much?’ and it’s a good question. It’s something I ask myself too. Wouldn’t my life be easier if I did less and had more free time?
But the problem is (if you can see it as a problem) that I enjoy all the different aspects I do. I know my job as a Babywearing Consultant involves travelling to see people evenings, weekends. I know it involves me replying to people at anti-social hours because I can tell from the way their e-mail is written that they really are struggling and that my replying now really will make a difference to them, rather than waiting until the morning. But I love being able to help people to cope that little bit more easily with the transition to parenthood.
Singing teaching – although only a few lessons a week – reminds me of the ‘me’ before I had children. I love being able to build confidence and encourage people to explore their own voices. Using all the skills I’ve built up over decades of singing and teaching. It feels great not to let that go to waste.
And then I’m doing something for me – my drama. These people have become my extended family and support network. I’ve only known most of them for a couple of years but I feel I’ve known many of them all my life. It’s lovely to do something that’s for ME. Not for my family, or helping others, or because I ‘have to’, but purely because I enjoy it and get a lot out of it. Plus it gives me the team-working aspect that’s missing from my day to day job (where I spend the majority of my time working alone).
And last – but certainly not least – my family. Yes, it’s pretty challenging right now. Building work is never easy – however smoothly it’s going – and coupled with the emotional upheaval for my parents of downsizing from a 4 story townhouse to a one-bedroom flat – that’s not even completed yet – it’s a difficult time for everyone. My children are starting to enter the ‘tween’ stage – they’re growing up and part of their brains is starting to become a bit more like a teenager, but a lot of them is still very childlike. It can be challenging for them to figure this all out.
However my job allows me to be flexible around them – taking them to the beach by our old house after the Dentist yesterday, then going to Pumpkin Patch today. Half Term is a crazy, at times overwhelming, juggle, but at least I am able to be flexible around my family (even if the downside is I’m then working until midnight)
My wonderful, supportive husband really is amazing and I know there is absolutely no way I could manage to juggle all this without him as the backbone of it all – holding everything together as I race off to Oxford to run a full day training course, head down to Portsmouth late one evening to do a newborn Consultation, helping me load the van countless times for various Events and shows. Or when I’m spending pretty much every waking hour at the theatre during show week.
So no, I don’t know that I do want to stop the juggling. What I DO need to do is to cut myself some slack. It’s ok to drop the ball once in a while. Even more so when it’s half term and I’m juggling all the above with having the boys at home 24/7. I love having them at home – that’s one of the reasons I run my own business rather than going out to work – but attempting to do the same amount of work I do in the term time at half term just isn’t realistic. So I need to give myself a break. Let some things go – temporarily at least. Set myself a few boundaries during the holidays.
My lovely ironing lady was fine when I text her this morning – apologising profusely. I dropped the ironing off 35 mins later. The world didn’t end – she totally understood (she even gave me a hug!).
If you’ve made it to the end of this – well done! I hope it was accompanied by a cup of coffee (or a G&T).
If any of it resonated with you, I hope it’s helped to know you’re not alone.
Whether you’re a juggler or prefer to take things at a gentler pace, I hope you have a good day and are kind to yourself, whatever the day throws at you.
(And now I’m going to schedule this to be published just before I go to rehearsal, when hopefully everyone’s juggling is calming down just a little bit….!)