Parenting

Thinly Spread

I love a good dollop of jam on a scone and I like to be able to see the butter on my toast. In my book there’s not much that’s good when thinly spread. Marmit, apparently, is but I’ve never had it so I can’t say for sure.

What I do know for sure is that I don’t work well spread thinly. I like to use my time well.  I’ve said that here several times. I like to be busy. I enjoy volunteering locally and having plans with friends. I make time to do things with the children after work – baking, crafts, garden work or having their friends over. But I don’t like when everything comes at once and I am stretched to my limit, like last week when the lice struck.

Lately, with having gone back to work, my time is much more limited than it used to be. Things I don’t have time for  on other days – be they chores, visits, crafts, appointments or volunteering – get pushed to Fridays, my day off.  In my mind, Friday is a day of endless hours of free time. I imagine myself sitting alone in the house with a cuppa and a magazine or my crochet or my laptop, taking some time to relax, craft or write.

In reality though, Fridays are a blur of school runs, grocery shopping, mucking out the chickens, volunteering at school, catching up on housework and making lunch. The boys come home at 12 on a Friday, so I only have four hours of child-free time to catch up on everything.

A sensible person would say I should cut back on the extra activities or get a cleaner, or both. Most of the time I consider myself to be a sensible person, but I am not good at cutting back. You see, the thing is that I like being in charge of my own housework. I’d resent spending money on a cleaner when the house gets covered in Lego, dog hair, cumbs and dirty socks within an hour of being cleaned. And I enjoy volunteering. I feel great after an hour spent at school with the kids, helping them with maths and reading. I have a lot of fun helping out at bake sales and kindergarten events. I love spending time in the garden with my sons or helping them with make-and-do.

This week, just as I was getting on top of the mountain of washing that resulted from the previous weekend’s infestation, Number Three caught a tummy bug – the throwing up in the bed in the middle of the night kind, followed by days and days of exploding nappies. The pile of laundry got bigger rather than smaller and the feeling of being stretched to the limit threatened to return.

So this time I tried a different approach. Today we cut back on leaving the house. Not going out anywhere meant not having to get the children dressed. It meant not having to put a sick toddler into a buggy and walk in the cold. It also meant asking for help, something I have never been good at. A friend got me the couple of things we need from the shop.

We acted as if we had been given an extra day to do with as we pleased. I put on a couple of washes and roasted a chicken for the dinner. The boys spent the day in their pjs and played with Lego. In the afternoon they watched a film and I pottered about with a couple of craft projects I have on the go. Number Three’s bug eased off and the piles of laundry shrank a little.

I don’t think I’ll ever bother trying Marmite. Thinly spread is never good.

 

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