I sit here pondering this evening when life got so rushed. I am procrastinating momentarily, taking a break before continuing with the evening which will mostly involve sorting out clothes for the boys for tomorrow, getting their preschool/ playgroup bags ready, sorting myself out for a meeting I have in the morning, bringing the washing in from the line, checking that I have baby food made ready for tomorrow, that sort of thing. I wonder when I stopped filling my spare moments with long evenings or even weekends of writing and playing the piano and struggled instead to find half an hour to sort the laundry out let alone restring my guitar to learn or compose a new tune.
Almost instantly I look for something to blame, a busy job, motherhood, the demands of refreshing a house that is starting to look tired and worn from years without a lick of fresh paint on the walls. Perhaps I have become slack, maybe I mismanage my time. The truth is, the blame does lie squarely with me but not as the result of any laziness. I realise that I have turned away from those moments that make me feel complete and satisfied and have instead given too much focus to the chores and the mundane everyday things without also making time for some all important relaxation. I have fretted about needing to complete the housework in the evenings so my time during the day is devoted to my young children, none of whom are in full time education just yet. I have worried about what others may think, how I and my family are viewed. The odd critical comment made when I have had to rearrange one thing to get another done can stick with me for years and haunt how I organise myself. In the rush to make life roll on seamlessly I have given up perhaps the most important thing of all. Me. If I want to make a phone call it can take me days to get round to doing it if it is for me alone. I recently had some routine blood tests done and although the results should have been back 3 days later it took me 10 days to make time to call and check that everything was ok (it was). Earlier this year my dental appointment was due but that wasn't arranged until my sons needed to be seen too. I go to order a book online and get distracted by something one of my children or my husband might like or need. I take the boys to get their shoes checked regularly but hadn't noticed until I stepped in a puddle that mine were falling apart. I regularly encourage my boys to take time out of their busy days to play quietly or read a book, even just for a few moments, but I don't apply the same suggestion to my own day.
I don't have the answers to clawing some time back from the depths of modern day frantic living, but I do have a proposal to myself and anyone else struggling. Make a list. It's always my fall back suggestion to myself but it really works. Cross two or three things off the list every day and then put it down and relax. Let go of the guilt. Stop blaming yourself that a letter missed the post or the photos you promised to send are still waiting to be organised. You can't do everything and nobody else can see how much you do already. There will always be someone ready to criticise the choices you make, the things you say, the person you are. It's exhausting keeping up with it all. Don't even try. Let it go. Look at your list and remind yourself of what you have done, what you have achieved over and above all that you already do every day. Live your life for you. Take charge. Find that time. Don't forget about yourself. Most of all enjoy your life.