Don’t hate me but I’m naturally organised. I can’t help it. I just remember things and like order. I’m reliable, I text back, I’m on time.
At school I was one of those people – you know, the ones that handed their essays in two weeks early. Not because I wanted to be a teacher’s pet, just because I can’t relax until my to-do list is ticked off. I definitely did not make it into cool gang for this!
To be fair I didn’t have much of a choice, being born to two super organised parents meant there was no escaping it. They are like machines with their weekly syncing diary meetings and their ability to keep their house like a show home at all times. So nature or nurture, here I am with similar traits.
It’s actually quite annoying. I’d love to be able to relax ignoring the hundreds of to-do lists in my head, to chill out in an untidy home and not care at all. But my body twitches when something is out of place and doesn’t relax until order is resumed!
Only since marrying my, shall we say, ‘laid back’ husband, did I realise that not everyone was born like this. I just assumed that everyone knew how to be on time, not forget things, multi-task and just get things done. And I keep meeting more and more people who don’t keep diaries (literally how?!), and live in a happy chaos. So it would seem that maybe I’m the abnormal one?!
Secretly I’ve been quite proud of my super power. So when I embarked on parenthood I just knew I’d boss it. I’d be one of those mums that had their baby on a perfect schedule. I would always be prepared with snacks, wipes and plenty of entertainment. I would breastfeed whilst both hoovering and practicing my pelvic floor. I would attend baby swim, sign, and massage classes, arriving on time with elegance and an equally well behaved baby.
When it came to school, I would be a PTA mum. My kids would win best fancy dress, I’d make incredible home baked cakes for their fundraisers, and they’d have perfectly neat, enviable French plaits.
So here’s how that plan worked out:
As a baby my daughter had a bad case of colic, so to sum up I rocked the more frazzled, dark eyes look, and barely made it out of my PJs. Now my daughter is older and at pre-school, I am similarly not living up to this expectation – I have forgotten its cake sale day every.single.time and have had to run out to get something shop bought. If we’re lucky she allows me to scrape her hair into some sort of ponytail as we’re walking out the door whilst she screams at me as if I am literally pulling one of her arms off. I seem to pack her wellies when it’s sunny, and her sun cream when it’s raining. I have messed up fancy dress days so not only embarrassed her, but made her play all day in an impractical, large, and itchy princess dress that I found in a charity shop. Sometimes I forget the essential things – like wipes. Trust me if you don’t have kids yet – you do not want to be without wipes! Poo, snot, the unwanted chewed up food they suddenly want to spit out into your hand – yeah you don’t want to forget wipes. But to my shame I have, and have actually had to go up to random mums that I do not know, to ask to borrow some. I just was not going to be that mum!
So I guess I’m not doing as well at this as I thought. But I’m trying, I’m really trying to have it all together. But I’m tripping up and failing anyway. I am crazy busy. I rush around attempting to make places on time, shouting and losing patience with the kids as I go. I’m often simultaneously making dinner, putting a wash on, making a phone call, playing pretend with the kids all without having taken my coat off yet – having returned home 2 hours previously. I’m trying to do it all. Trying to not let anyone down or let anything slip. But it’s at a cost. I snap at the kids, I burn the dinner, I even put my son in the bath with all his clothes still on!
Whereas previously I’ve been slightly annoyed with mums who don’t care if they are late, who buy food out because they didn’t make a packed lunch, who are ok with a messy house when visitors come over etc, I’m now starting to envy them! They seem happily unrushed and accept that it’s not all possible. Whereas here I am juggling hundreds of things, making sure I don’t let anything drop, or anyone down, trying to keep up with the organised life I had pre-kids, appear to have it all together and well… I can’t do it much longer.
Is this how I want to live my life? Frazzled, exhausted, shouting all the time? Because it’s not achieving anything. I’m still letting people down. The never-ending list of jobs to do, is just that – NEVER ENDING.
And do you know what, my daughter doesn’t care if we’re late, she doesn’t care if our house is a mess. She does however, care that I haven’t spent time with her. That I’ve shouted at her ten times to hurry up or go play by herself.
I’m starting to gain a new perspective that it doesn’t have to be like this. I actually get to decide how I want to live. Sometimes that will mean being super organised, hosting 10 people for dinner and managing to do something with my hair other than a messy bun. And sometimes it will mean buying a shop bought cake because spending time with my family was more important. Sometimes I’m gonna be late because sometimes (most of the time), my kids do not co-operate. And even though every inch of my naturally organised self shudders at the thought, if it means prioritising my families needs, well then I’ll just have to get over that.
It’s a slow process and it’s so hard to resist my normal urges, but I’m starting to let a few balls drop. My diary is going to be clearer. My house messier. Hopefully there will be less shouting and more listening, more stopping, more playing. Because I enjoy life so much more when I slow it down. When there is less of a rush to have it all together. There’s more care, more appreciation, more joy.
So here’s to being less crazy busy, and maybe even letting some people down…just as long as they aren’t my family.