The mama juggling act…
People often ask me, ‘What’s the best thing about having three kids?’ My husband usually replies, ‘Not having four.’ I normally say, ‘Being less of a perfectionist. Not trying to control everything. And letting stuff go.’ Let’s face it, you can’t control life with one kid. But when you have three of them, you’re basically always performing a risk assessment and weighing up who you’re going to save first.
The problem is, I’m starting to worry that I might now be taking this perspective too far. And my, erm, ‘relaxed’ attitude may be coming across as bad manners or thoughtlessness.
Take last weekend, for example, when we went to friends for the day. We took a bottle and a brie, that stank out the two hour journey, much to our kids’ delight, which of course they vocalised every five minutes in between asking, ‘Are we there yet?’ When we arrived other guests had made cheesecakes and chocolate cakes. Profiteroles and fairy cakes. I realised that I hadn’t even thought to ask, ‘What can we bring?’ That very natural response to an invitation to someone’s house. I mean, who wants a stinky old brie, when you can have chocolate?
And it got me thinking. When did I become SO slack? When did it just not matter that thank you cards never get sent. That I often forget to reply to emails. That I check where we’re going five minutes after we were supposed to be there? I used to be a PA! I lived for this stuff. Or at least worked for it.
I can’t really blame the kids. Can I? Yes, there are three of them. Yes, they’re still young. But am I really going to get better with time, as the others start school and there are even more dressing up days, school emails and general noise to keep up with? What if my filter eventually sifts out everything; the not-so-important stuff AND the important stuff. Until I haven’t a clue about anything.
Or is this simply a side effect of being permanently stretched because us mums are constantly doing so much stuff, like learning the language of phonics whilst putting the washing on and trying to stop the toddler from eating a dishwasher tablet? Is this the fate of all mums? And will we one day emerge like caterpillars from their chrysalises and become those organised, capable, thoughtful women we once were?
Because whilst I maintain my outlook, that being less of a perfectionist is a GREAT thing, I’m not sure letting everything go is.
Despite what Elsa and Anna would have us believe.