Time waits for no man (or woman)

Never has a saying had so much relevance to life these days.  Time waits for no man (or woman) – it really doesn’t.

In the passing year, as our daughter finishes her first foray into the British education system, tempers are flaring, tiredness is abundant and the family dynamic is very slowly morphing into something that I can honestly say I despise.

Time waits for no man/woman/child because, quite frankly, there isn’t enough of it.

I call myself the paranoid working parent because I am paranoid, I am working and I am a parent.  Oh, and I am also a daughter, a sister, a friend, a partner, a neighbour, a customer.

I’ve written posts about holidays, work problems, child problems, friend problems, health problems – generally just problems.

However, as I sit here on a Saturday night with Daniel Craig on the box, my phone on charge, my daughter in bed and my partner on his way back from Goodwood Festival of Speed I am realising that time is what causes the frictions, the pain and the difficulties.

Or rather, lack of time.  Or, quite possibly, a lack of decent time management.

Each area of life which feels stressed and in trouble can be put down to time.

Let me show you:

  • Relationship with partner strained and arguments a plenty = a distinct lack of time with eachother to talk,  to just be together
  • Fractious moments with daughter = usually caused by being a rush to get to school, to get home, to go out, to get up, to get dressed
  • Work pressures = time-bound tasks, the need to leave early or arrive late, the missing period of calm between home and work which allows the brain to switch into professional mode
  • Health problems = little time for ‘me’ to exercise, to cook healthily, to fully switch off and relax, to see a doctor, dentist, optician at the time of need; instead appointments being put off for a later date
  • Social-life challenges = lack of social life as difficult to fit in the visits to family, to long-distance friends, to school Mum coffee mornings (almost impossible to make)
  • Confidence problems = no time to work on appearance, iron barely used, make-up several years old, nails broken and bitten, roots looking distinctly mouse with a hint of grey; all this because I don’t make much time to focus on myself even though the face looking back from the mirror looks tired and weathered

All this comes back to time. To rushing around trying to fit everything in and desperately making sure that no balls are dropped.  But what would happen if a ball was dropped?  Do these so called ‘life balls’ actually exist and are they as fragile as I think they are?

What if I arrived at work a few minutes late because I had a short social chat with a Mum at the school gates?  Would work reprimand me?

The answer is probably no.

What if I booked a night away with the other half and left our daughter with her Grandparents?  Would she hate us?

The answer is most definitely no.

What if I decided to go to the gym after work, which meant Daddy doing the 5:30 after school pick-up? Would he resent me? Would our daughter be upset that I wasn’t around to make her tea?

The answers are probably not.

So, generally, all this rushing around and struggling to be everything to everyone is a pressure I put on myself.  We all put on ourselves. Worried that the slightest hiccup sticks us on the bad parent, bad employee or bad partner list.

Actually, it turns out that time does wait.

It isn’t always about making time, it is about losing time.  About allowing time to run away a little in one area of our lives at the mercy of another for the sake of our sanity.

Whether it is a few minutes at the school gate, or getting home late because you went for a run – these little time losses allow us to re-prioritise and re-balance and the impact will be far less than we fear.

So, starting tomorrow I will spend a little longer in the shower and will moisturise, even if it means we leave the house a little later than normal. On Monday maybe I’ll arrive at work a little late, but I’ll have made myself a healthy packed lunch so will be able to take a shorter lunch break to make up the time that I have deliberately lost.

I will stop rushing and just do my best and if I lose a little time in a few areas over the course of a week who cares? If it means that I’m a bit happier and feel a bit more relaxed and in control, then I am winning.

Where will you decide to lose a little time next week?

 

 

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Taking back control

Welcome to 2017, with it comes some hope, some desperation, some joy. People all over the world are daydreaming about what 2017 will bring as they sip their flat whites, ferry the kids back to school, saunter into the office and if they are feeling really optimistic spread a cheeky smile with a high pitched “Happy New Year!” to a colleague or friend.

For me there is no New Year’s resolution (apart from the obligatory eat healthier and do more exercise maybe). Instead, I am just taking each day as it comes, for once not flinging into grand plans, diets or detoxes.  This isn’t because I don’t fancy them or have no motivation, but more like:

‘What’s the rush?’

I am taking back control and rather than ricocheting from one exciting escapism idea to another, I’m going to take my time, evaluate my life as it is now and then make a few subtle changes as I see fit.

And here’s the crack.

It is,

As I, see fit.

No more keeping up with the Jones’, feeling dreadful because I haven’t cleaned out the fridge yet, my work clothes aren’t looking too sharp anymore, panicking that my daughter isn’t swimming 1km,  and we haven’t had a date night for 5 months.

So often, the decisions we make are as a result of a multitude of influences, feeling like we ‘should’ do something because others are doing it. Social media is the worst for this, it is everywhere from celebs, family members, friends, crikey, even the local hairdresser is on Facebook and giving advice on the right 2017 style!

Don’t get me wrong, all this information is teaching us new things and giving us new ideas, but we are so darn critical of ourselves we feel like we should follow to fit in and in doing so, undermining our own self-belief that we are doing just fine.

Blogging is a relatively new phenomenon in comparison to magazine articles, tv advertisements, radio shows and the like.  With an estimated 2 million blog posts written each day that is a hell of a lot of influencing in one small digital channel.

So, as I’ve said, I am taking back control and not making comparisons. I may choose to eat healthier and tomorrow grab that chocolate bar.  I may book a restaurant for two weekends time, or I may choose to spend another Saturday night watching tv on the sofa with barely a word spoken. Neither choice is right or wrong and there is nothing to stop a different decision being made in February, or March, or even August.

I’m taking back control.

Anyone care to join me?

 

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I am not a completer-finisher (and that’s ok)

It has been a few months since I last wrote a post. I’m not sure it is because I ran out of things to say, but more that life got in the way.

Life.

typing-1242387-639x424Nothing that mind-blowing has happened to me, or mine – except maybe the starting of school, another crisis of confidence at work, a sneaky new-ish car and some pretty damn good TV programmes…..Yeah, the latter has taken up its fair share of my evenings over the last few weeks. Strictly, X Factor, Cold Feet, Dark Angel, Masterchef, Suits – they have all become an important part of our family life.

Maybe it’s escapism?  Maybe it’s laziness?

Anyhow, this morning on a chilly and flood-ridden drive I thought once again about my blog.  I hope I can still refer to it as a blog?

My immediate thought was that, once again, I’ve started and unlike John Humphries from Mastermind, I haven’t finished. I’ve thrown myself into blogging, passionately and bordering on obsessively for almost 9 months and then just as quickly, it has evaporated away. It sidled onto the ‘too hard’ and ‘too time-consuming’ pile without me even realising it had gone.

In my defence, there was a stressful period of migrating my site to a new host, getting caught up in wordpress database hell which didn’t help matters, but this whole process has an air of familiarity.

music-1252161-639x852I’ve done a lot with my life.  Jumped in with both feet on many occasions, with all the best intentions, hours and hours of commitment and thought, enjoyment and an honest belief that it would continue forever. Musical instruments, gymnastics, athletics (well, one session), writing poetry, playing squash, using MyFitnessPal, getting monthly manicures – they are all what the untuned eye might call my ‘fads’.

Things that I am interested in but then I lose interest.

I disagree.

You see, I still have an interest in all these things, and I still wish I did all these things.  But life gets in the way.

Life.

I’m not a completer-finisher, and that’s ok, because my life is made up of experiences of all these things that I fling myself whole-heartedly into and that is what makes me me and what makes my life.

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I’m a jack of all trades and a master of none.  What’s wrong with that?

 

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Not returning the favour (or the entertainment)

party-scene-1177094-1279x852Back in 4BC (before children) I was always very careful to return the favour when we’d been invited to friends’ houses for the weekend or for dinner, or a BBQ.  It was enjoyable and I like entertaining.

The build-up was a delightful melee of scouring cocktail-making books, sending update emails, zooming around the supermarket picking up canapes, a box of straws and a delightful little set of shot glasses.

I loved visiting people and I loved having people to visit.

Oh how times change!

Over the last four years I have in the main loved visiting people – staying with family, weekends with friends and also the odd afternoon bbq at the lovely immaculate houses of my work colleagues. I don’t mind the packing, the travelling hasn’t been too bad and the enjoyment of having other people entertain our daughter has sent me to the dizzy heights of elation whilst I sip on a pimms and hold half-intellectual conversations about life, work and recent Netflix series.

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So, as I say, I love visiting people.  However, when it comes to having them back to ours to ‘return the favour’, my desire has somewhat wained.

Now, close family are always welcome as are friends with children (as long as they bring a bottle and don’t expect waitress service).  However, I cannot bring myself to host anything for my work colleagues and those who migrated beyond the nappy-changing stage over twenty years ago.

I’m just a bit embarrassed and a bit too knackered to put the effort in.

Our house is not immaculate, I don’t have time to plan a music list, make some home-made punch, buy some more shot glasses. I don’t have the energy to be the consummate host anymore.

I ask myself whether I should have refused the recent invites knowing that it was highly unlikely I’d ever invite people to ours for a similar soiree. But, with a limited social life and the opportunity to be waited on, fed and watered, in nice surroundings – how could I possibly pass up the chance!?  It is a rare luxury these days don’t you think?

There is guilt and if I had a spare week with no parenting duties, maybe I could organise a good knees-up, but I’m sorry, at this stage in our lives, I won’t be repaying the favour for at least ten years.

I hope my colleagues understand and don’t hold it against me that we’re all take and no give, I’ll make it up to them in 2026.

I promise.

 

 

 

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10 signs you are a paranoid working Mum (Mom)

Here are my top 10 signs that you deserve entry into the ‘paranoid working Mum’ club. antistress-1-1506008-639x852

  1. You doubt you actually know your own child and their interests
  2. You google and read any material you can about high-powered women that have children, which then upsets you as they seem to ‘have it all’.
  3. Every keyworker handover at nursery is a blur as you’re too busy hugging, cuddling, staring intently at your child to listen to what the adult (who has more than 100 words of vocabulary) is saying.
  4. You are far more intolerant and impatient at work that you were pre-children.
  5. Any idea or suggestion you provide at work that is seemingly disregarded becomes a beacon in your brain that is shouting ‘that’s because you aren’t that good at your job anymore’.
  6. Sending your child to nursery or school when they are a bit under the weather leads to random thoughts of serious illness at least 5 times during the working day and thoughts of impending social worker involvement.
  7. Your child’s tantrums are researched regularly as you fear they have serious behavioural problems because you are not a stay-at-home Mum.
  8. Seeing home-made birthday cards presented on the children’s tv channels physically pains you even though you are useless at crafts and probably wouldn’t make one even if you were at home.
  9. You become interested in political topics such as sexual inequality in the workplace and flexible working.
  10. Making a decision between getting home to your children and attending a work event causes a dilemma of mammoth proportions and by the time you’ve made the decision, it is too late to accept the event.

Oh, and I’ve thought of an 11.

Other women at work who have children always seem to cope far better than you.

If you resonate with all or some of these, it is ok.  You’re not alone.  If you have more to add, please drop me a line at sayhello@paranoidworkingparent.co.uk.  Welcome to PWP.

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