And by that I mean juggling. Metaphorical juggling more specifically. I’m left handed and have very bad hand eye coordination so ACTUAL juggling is a big problem for me. ANYWAY, I’ve been asked on a number of occasions to write a post on how I juggle life. What we do isn’t perfect and I can’t lie and say it isn’t exhausting (there are no magic tricks for that) but our week is like a well oiled machine that (usually) runs smoothly. Hopefully I can give you some tips and tricks on how to get things ticking along.
Firstly, let me tell you about us. The Hart family. Made up of; myself – a full time Deputy Headteacher, Slimming World member, gin drinker, tutor and Nottingham born lass; Mr Hart – full time PE teacher, cross fit enthusiast, Sunday football goalkeeper, 5 aside player and a London boy; Evelyn – just started her first term at big school, swimmer, ballerina, Disney mad and 4 going on 14! That is us in a nut shell. Busy, busy people. Busy, busy lives but we work as a team.
So, with a lot on our plate it’s important to:
1 – Have support on the periphery
2 – Be as organised as you possibly can be
3 – Don’t take on more than you can handle!
4 – Be kind to yourself
For us this is the most important part to our juggling act. Evelyn had attended a child minder since she was 10 months old. I went back to work. Some may think it was selfish to go back so early, some have to go back even sooner, everyone’s journey back to work is different. We found our childminder through recommendation and she has been the best thing since sliced bread (which I’ve given up since going to Slimming world but I’m not bitter about that at all). Now, a child minder worked for our situation. I get to work early, as does my husband, and we leave late. Her hours were flexible and she was cost effective. I knew she was getting the social interaction she needed as a toddler and the childminder knew her stuff! Some people are apprehensive about a child minder and children not ‘getting quality input’. I can safely say this is untrue. Child minders are OFSTED rated and have to meet quite a few strict criteria. We were also extremely lucky that my mother in law worked short hours and so the child minder was able to drop her there for a few hours at the end of the day to save a few pennies. More recently my Dad (who is recently retired, and my mum who works part time) came down to support us with Evelyn’s slow start to big school. Invaluable support all round.
Me and my husband are probably the LEAST organised people you will probably ever know. If we need to be somewhere socially we are always late – that’s his fault. If we need to pack to go away we always do it the night before – that’s my fault. If there is anything that needs paying for or forms to fill in we are last minute Larries – both guilty! However, being organised also means that you work together and around each other to know what needs to be done. For example, the husband goes to the gym on Monday mornings, Wednesday mornings and Friday mornings. This means he is up and out of the house before we are awake. This means that he does the packed lunches and I get Evelyn ready. It gets done. It’s an organised routine. Tuesdays I get Evelyn and take her to swimming. Wednesdays he gets Evelyn and takes her to ballet. Well. Oiled. Machine. Once you find the organised routine, perfect it. We are in the midst of fashioning a new routine now I have a new job and Evelyn is at school. Finally, spread the organisation. I’ve just got a cleaner and locked in a regular online shopping delivery. Don’t feel like you have to be the hero doing everything ALL the time.
Know your load
That sounds weird but I couldn’t phrase it any differently. Imagine you are a pack horse. They can only carry a certain amount before their tired little donkey legs give way. We are the same. I’m referring to the mental and emotional load that busy lives bring. Don’t beat yourself up if you occasionally forget something. Don’t agree to that event if you know it will push you over the edge. Be kind to you. Accept help where it is offered and don’t see it as a surrender or a failure. I’ve recently had a friend tell me that we couldn’t be friends anymore because I ‘didn’t have time for her’. That hurt. It actually broke my heart because it wasn’t that I didn’t have time, it was that she had moved away and my pockets of spare time were already overflowing with things to do. We had messaged monthly and I thought that was enough. You need people who understand you are busy, who get that checking in every few months is enough. My bestie and I see each other probably once every 3 months. But she’s still my bestie. We get it. We meet up and it’s like nothing has changed. In 8 months time I will walk down the isle beside her, beaming with pride because throughout busy life we make it work. I don’t need the friend who has judged me for being busy so don’t let that effect your load. – I’m waffling but you get the gist. (FYI it’s the blondie below who is the next Bride to be 🙂
Be Kind to Yourself ❤
Do you ever remember being young and longing for the adult days? You’ve got this far and you are doing great. Remind yourself of that daily. I don’t think comparing your situation to others’ helps. It’s hard not to, I know. Don’t expect too much from yourself. If you have a day off and decide to sit in and watch Disney in your PJ’s then bloody well do it. Don’t apologies and don’t beat yourself up about it. Surround yourself with positive people. My mum always used to tell me that you have real friends and toxic friends. Real friends being the ones who ask about you. Toxic friends being the ones who call to talk about themselves. I bet if you think carefully you will already have a face in each of box. Don’t feel guilty about spending the odd Friday night sharing some prosecco with your friends. Ensure you do this. Remember to be you as well as mummy/ teacher/ wife/ home maker/ adult.
“I realised that it was okay not to have it all together, and that was the end and the beginning of so much” – Words from the beautiful Anna Mathur from @mamas_scrapbook