Two weeks in and desperately seeking balance

Well here we are. I have been back at work for nearly three weeks now and how is it going? You might have noticed that the blog has been quiet. It should come as no surprise, now that I have somewhere else to be 24 hours per week, that finding the time for everything is a bit impossible. Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not failing. But this change is taking a bit of adjusting to. Old methods of doing things are no longer fail safe. Not now that there are three monkeys to juggle around being punctual, professional and basically just competent. It’s like being on a tightrope, holding a number of plates on sticks. Everything is easier if you can just find a balance. Here’s the story so far.

Why do you have to leave?

I have to be honest, actually being at work has been ok. On my first day back it was only the older monkey’s that caused any issues. Monday and Tuesday they were excited about the new school year. Getting themselves dressed and behaving well. The day I returned to work, despite me preparing them for the seven weeks prior, they suddenly reverted to old baby like behaviour. “Dress me mummy!” “I can’t put my own socks on!” “Why do you have to leave?” Luckily I have to be at work early, so was able to legitimately focus on just me and Little Miss and walk out of the door. Granted I was, and have continued to be, approximately thirty to forty minutes late for work. But I always leave with enough time for Mr LMR to rectify the situation and get them to school.

Nursery drop of has also been surprisingly easy. Despite a number of settling in sessions that began with tears as I left, from day one of the real thing, Little Miss has been brilliant. On my first day I walked her to the front door and was met by a smiling mother, practically skipping with joy. “No crying today.” She declared almost beside herself with happiness. I took it as a good sign. I certainly cannot fault the care that Little Miss has had and, she always seems happy when I collect her. My only issue is that the nosey little madam will not nap during her days there. Too much to see and do. This means that after I get her home, it isn’t long before she is grumpy and tired. A quick bath, some supper and a cuddle, then off to bed. Not much quality time.

Being ahead of the game.

By Friday of last week, I was drinking gin with The Chicken before the monkeys were even in bed. My days off have been a mish mash of trying to be ahead of myself. Pre cooking meals, writing lists and catching up on jobs. No quality time with Little Miss, who just slowed everything down. Hanging round my ankles, shouting and sobbing for attention. This week, I have endeavoured to be even further ahead of the game. The tipping point was Monday morning. I realised after the nursery drop off that I was still wearing the nursing bra that I sleep in under my very smart work clothes. To minimise the chances of children wiping their hands, noses or faces on my work clothes, I get up early, shower and redress in my pyjamas. Then I get dressed properly at the last minute.

That day I stood in front of the mirror thinking, “I really look frumpy today”. “I can’t believe I paid so much for this bra and I still look like I have my nursing bra on”. It didn’t occur to me until after I was monkey free to look down my top and check what I was wearing. Luckily it was in time to go home and change. I was almost an hour late that day. What can I say? I am lucky that I have a lovely manager who understands my situation and knows, that when I am there, I work hard. It doesn’t make me feel any less guilty or stressed about getting there on time though. One day I will make up for it.

It won’t be like this forever

On a daily basis I remind myself that it won’t be like this forever. As the children grow up, the balance will naturally correct itself. As sleep increases, and communication between parental unit and monkeys improves, things will change. The trick right now is to do the best I can. I’ll keep moving the little squares on the Christmas cracker puzzle (It’s Just a Matter of Time) until an acceptable picture emerges.

It means a little bit of extra work early in the week or after the monkeys are in bed. But it will be worth it. Like writing my little blog or finding time for a run. Things I don’t want to give up but are severely reduced by time constraints. I am actually writing this as I stand in the school playground waiting for the bell to ring.

Time out to focus on the more important job

The thing is I enjoy my job but not all the time. I enjoy being a parent but not all the time either. I am also pretty good at both. Am I professional, punctual and competent all the time? No. But I am getting good at looking like I am. Every work day I get out my little bag of eye make up. I conceal and highlight my tired eyes and do my best to get out the door dressed appropriately. After nursery drop off, I take out my identification (affectionately referred to as my noose) and apply my lippy. Then I am work day ready. The lines continue to be blurred but certainly not without balance.

My days off are for running, time for Little Miss, doing the school run, after school activities and keeping on top of laundry mountain, amongst other things. I’m grateful for time out from one job to focus on the other (more important) job. But then I am also grateful for a different type of time out. The one I get from work.

So, therefore, we’re doing ok. Finding our groove, balancing and juggling as best we can. For me, I am finding balance in a hot cup of coffee purchased on my way into work. It isn’t cheap but it is worth it. My little treat to kickstart my second shift of the day. Then on Friday nights I have a gin and tonic or two. Made carefully, using the finest of gins and in my special glass. Sometimes the chicken joins me when I liberate him from my handbag. Another small treat to celebrate surviving another week. A welcome pause as life races on.

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