Probably the photo says it all… except, in many ways, it doesn’t. What you see is this family of mine, who mean the whole world to me, my two babies and my two dogs; and life with them is wonderful and challenging in ways I never imagined but I am running on empty over here, trying to do it all, and, in a nutshell, failing.
We live in this world where I have set myself the wholly unrealistic goal of being a great mother, wife and homemaker whilst simultaneously running a full time business. The problem is that there simply are not enough hours in the day and the result is that I am left feeling like I am achieving all these thing but at a subpar standard. Let’s face it, I am never going to look back at this time of my life and think, ‘Wow, I really wish I spent more time on Instagram’ but I certainly do not want to look back and think, ‘I really wish I spent more time with my family’. If I am going to do anything one hundred percent then I choose them. They are only little for a finite amount of time and before I know it Hunter will be off to school and Summer will be starting nursery and these few precious years will be gone.
I am not oblivious to the fact that it is a privilege to work for myself and have all the flexibility that comes with that, especially when you apply it to the family aspect of life, but some mornings I find myself envious of the husband going off to work for an entire day, in an office, with nothing but work to focus on. Heck, he has a one hour commute each way and when I asked him what he uses that time for he told me he reads the paper in the morning and watches tv shows on his phone in the evening and it blew my mind – could I even dream of having two whole hours of me time? No. And to be honest, if I did, I would spend it working. Social media is all consuming, my inbox is an overflowing sink and the projects pile up… which is amazing – it is not lost on me that this is an enviable position to be in – but my ambition to ‘do it all’ and my drive to produce great content has me buckling at the knees quite literally.
This past two months I have had a chest infection resulting in an excruciating rib injury (who knew you could cough so much so hard that it would be possible to separate your ribs from the adjoining cartilage) followed by a fall on uneven ground last week which rendered me a crumpled heap on the pavement and what would be my third trip to A&E. My right ankle is so swollen and bruised it won’t fit in the majority of my winter boots and I had to use a crutch for three days. Both injuries meant I could not carry my babies and needed even more help than before.
Summer has been giving me a run for my money too, racking up three hospital visits in as many weeks being diagnosed with bronchiolitis. For six weeks now, half her life, she has been unwell and whilst she is quite happy and content in herself and sleeping like a champ (through bouts of coughing and all), she seems less and less keen on her milk… which now forms a constant source of anxiety for me. What used to be a relaxing hour spent together has become somewhat fraught and I consult our shared feeding diary multiple times a day, trying to determine if she is getting enough to be nourished and grow. I think there is some element of stress that goes hand in hand with having a second child (having just one really was so easy in comparison) and a certain level of mum guilt is only natural but coupling that with trying to work as well is frankly, right now, a step too far.
MrK is an old bear now and requires a visit to the vet every week, or every few weeks at least, and Tux’s behaviour is such a challenge that we have been working closely with a trainer to try to get him on the right track. Then there are the regular drop ins from the health visitor and Summer’s immunisations to factor into the calendar and somehow all these things seem to keep falling on my ‘work’ days. Because, you know, I work from home so I have that flexibility. Except, quite regularly, I get to the end of my working day only to realise I haven’t really done much work at all and I have invariably forgotten to defrost anything for dinner…
But this is life. And I truly love it. I love these little people with all my heart but it is not easy and it is not manageable and I can’t do it all and win at everything.
So I am giving myself a break. I am taking time off. In any normal career that would look like nine months maternity leave but I’ll start with December and take it from there. Heck, I am even going to delete Instagram for the first week whilst we take a very welcome family holiday. I am going to focus on my family and even myself and try to slow my mind. I have to accept that I cannot do it all, not right now anyway, and that is ok. In fact it’s better than ok…
*Denotes affiliate links