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?