I feel myself cringe every time I hear the words: “I’m busy” or “Not now, I have other things to do” come out of my mouth in response to a: “Mooommmyyy!”.
I hate thinking that there is something I could prioritise above one of my kids, but really, no-one told me how they would completely infiltrate my entire existence! Actually, I tell a lie. People do tell you that, my mother told me that all the time, but you just don’t quite realise the extent of the invasion until you have your own.
I read a cute article this morning of a husband realising that he shouldn’t blame his dirty house on his stay-at-home-wife. (Took someone long enough to admit it!) Like I said, it was cute…and it makes so much sense, but really, we all still apologise for messy houses, unkept gardens and unwashed dishes. We wouldn’t do that if something or someone hadn’t imprinted on us that houses need to be kept neat, gardens immaculate and dishes clean!
When I was working full time, had a baby and a rather time-consuming hobby, I always had a list of things I would do “when I have the time”. These included things such as weeding the garden, washing curtains and basically everything that wasn’t essential to keeping everyone fed, clothed and living in reasonably sanitary conditions. I have not worked full-time for more than 18 months now, and despite the fact that I have indeed weeded the garden a couple of times and managed to wash the curtains in the dining room that were turning an unpleasant shade of dog-dirt-on-the-bottom-of-the-curtain, that list is still pretty much in tact and longer than ever! And the garden has beautiful knee-high weeds that flower with much more oomph than any of the plants I am trying to cultivate.
I find it impossible to do anything at home despite the fact that the elder of my two children is at play school all day. His little sister keeps me quite busy enough and demands more supervision than I ever thought I would need to give. If she is not climbing on tables, sticking her fingers in plugs or redecorating the kitchen in wax crayon, she is running around on the lawn terrorising the dogs. I never thought I would see the day when Lilly the Labrador actually got tired of playing, and yet, she came stumbling in the back door with a tiny human attached to her tail shouting: “Lilllyyyyy, play outside!!”
It’s not really their fault I don’t get anything done. I realise only too well it is a personal fault of my own because I am not very good at focusing on more than one task at a time. If I want to weed the garden, I have to know I have all day, because believe it or not, it is in fact something I rather enjoy; when I have the time to do it.
I spend a lot of time feeling guilty. I have never had more time in my adult life to spend with my horse. And yet, the fact that I have to rely on other people to look after the child while I’m on the farm, makes me go out there, do my thing and come back as soon as I can. No, I can’t take her with me. I think the stable cat would be in serious jeopardy.
Every minute I spend doing something that does not focus on generating an income at some point in the future, makes me anxious, and this of course means that even the time I do spend with my kids, my mind is somewhere else.
I have had it – I’m done feeling guilty! I. Give. Up. For how is utter frustration better expressed than in the writhing body of a screaming child unable to express himself? What can be a better manifestation of pure joy than uninhibited toddler-laughing? For now, I will take a life lesson from my children and try to focus whole-heartedly on them and their lives while I wait for my own to fall in place…
We will simply have to learn to revel in the chaos and delight in the dirt!