Is it possible to get anything done when you have small children? If so, how? I wrote a post about getting nothing done when you have a newborn right back when I had a newborn and I think of this often nearly two years on. Mainly because *whispers* I’m not entirely sure anything has changed.
The problem is that once you stop having a newborn everyone expects you to get back to normal as if this entirely life-altering thing hasn’t really happened, then there’s work and life and more things and just so much more stuff you need to get done, all around the priority of looking after your children. And it’s a very finely balanced house of blocks, especially if it’s so easily knocked over by no-one sleeping in your only evening time or sickness or naptime being interrupted by one of these or some kind of thing happening on your precious days of childcare.
It does get easier, though, and some days I feel can do it all and more and have won life’s plentiful lottery and everyone’s happy. But other days I still never have any hands. Or time. And it feels like my to-do list billows away into infinity, while I stumble helplessly after it in a fog of sleep deprivation.
Did anyone see that baby brand video everyone was forwarding of a working mum having an evaluation meeting with her boss, who shows her video clips of her co-workers and family saying ‘She’s amazing! How does she manage to do it all?’ And she tears up and it’s all warm and fuzzy and it’s supposed to make you realise you’re doing much better than you think? Watching it, I couldn’t escape the feeling that my video clips would be people saying ‘You owe me an email!’ And ‘You forgot my PE kit!’ and ‘You still haven’t ordered the blinds or finished painting the walls or dropped all the clothes off at the charity shop or writen that amazing thing or taught your daughter ten different languages!’ (Because I’d clearly be giving my own imaginary appraisal).
But there’s always time for the important things, and, apart from being my / your own worst enemy, there are all those crucially important things you *do* get done – nurture, love, hold, listen, talk, answer, just be there for your children – that you can’t measure and certainly can’t tick off a list.
And it will get easier when they’re both at school. And get older. But then that means we’re also closer to a time when they won’t need me, which I suspect will be the most difficult task of all to manage.
And there’s always time for those other really important things. Like talking about Pokemon at a million miles an hour or eating ice lollies on the cold days or dancing round the living room to Ghostbusters or Katy Perry. What to-do list?