Last Friday I learned that there was to be a Halloween disco at my daughter’s school this week. She wanted to be a unicorn and had grand ideas of a costume that she could create. These plans conflicted with my plans of a restful weekend getting the house clean and tidyish.
You see, I don’t always respond to the creative calling as I did during the book week situation I shared in an earlier post. But I wasn’t about to go and spend money on a once off costume either. I chose a half way point. I found some cheap rainbow fishnet gloves at Big W, she had her unicorn headband, we found three different coloured skirts she could wear on top of each other, fabric scraps for a tail and purple T-shirt. A rainbow punk unicorn. She looked pretty ridiculous, but she wasn’t in school uniform and she had fun.
I think it’s so easy to get caught up in what we think we should be doing these days that occasionally you find yourself being sucked into believing the bullshit. But the reality is sometimes that’s just bloody hard work and it’s not really worth it. Sometimes you’re just in survival mode keeping things ticking over as steadily as you can.
I used to really struggle with this concept. Think that it was insufficient to use family life as an excuse, even if I’d spent the previous 24 hours cleaning up vomit and didn’t have a single clean towels left in the house anymore, let alone get any sleep. I’d try and battle on regardless in case people would think poorly of me. Or else feel really ashamed.
I felt like I couldn’t use it as a reason for not achieving what I’d intended because there were times when it felt like there was always something that came up, and I would feel really bad about it and then it feel really anxious.
Nowadays I don’t fake it. I accept that part and parcel of having little kids is that they rely on me, making them my absolute first priority. Things do always come up, so I plan for that as best I can. I make deadlines longer. I try not to overcommit. If it’s a work commitment that’s not flexible then I make sure my husband doesn’t book any work trips over that time. And sometimes that means I have to say no to work opportunities.
I don’t accept this means I’m an underperformer though. When my time is available to me I can more productive than ever before. Because I value that work time and I know I have to take advantage of it.
Everyone has redundancy in their working week. Motherhood just means you can’t hide it so well. That’s not something to feel bad about. Having 5 coffee breaks, doing endless “research” and 15 toilet breaks a day, that’s the sort of redundancy that may be worthy of some guilt. Not parenting.