Late again 

Late again, 30+hours booked, in a week with two days off… Can’t work out whether that is great or awful…

But tomorrow… Tomorrow I will have the day with the biggest pickle, and I am looking forward to it. And we will have spooky fun with all pickles at the end of the day – lakeside walk and spooky stories courtesy of the amazing National Trust.

So I may be late again, but I’ve been smiling on my commute home, listening to Florence and the Machine (I think I might love her), catching up on all my social media trash, and thinking how lucky I am to have the hubby I do.

Nothing is perfect, but he manages to make everything just that little bit easier / funnier / calmer / better…

Work is oddly addictive 

So, late home again. It appears that work is oddly addictive.

I can’t make out whether I’m just being good and sensible (and making the most of the fact that hubby is home this week, and so is doing more pick ups, whereas he’s away again next week and so I have no option of late evenings in the office) or whether I’m just incapable of stopping.  And actually badly addicted to the idea that I must work longer/ harder to ‘atone’ for the ‘inconvenience’ that my flexible hours and reduced working days causes to others.

I officially work 9 out of 10 days since my return from maternity.  I come in earlier than ‘normal’ and leave earlier than normal on the other days, and then log back on later in the evenings from home, to clear down etc.

But it is amazing how many meetings ‘have’ to happen outside of my known office times. And so I feel a constant, simmering level of guilt. Like a naughty school child as I leave the office each afternoon, before everyone else.

But then, on the days that I stay late in the office it becomes very apparent that plenty of people arrive ‘late’ in the mornings, and plenty of people leave dead on 530. And the bottom line is, that as long as the work is done, then the hours that it gets done in really doesn’t matter. As they say ( so very badly) in Frozen, I need to let it go!

I also just need to sanity check that bit of ego that gets excited when ‘only I’ can do a piece of work. To be wanted, to be very good at certain things is nice, is gratifying, can lead to a feeling of being valued – which is all great.  But sometimes, being overly busy can really just mean that I’m being dumped on. And too stupid to say no. I don’t win any prizes for working late.

I just need to keep it all in check, and make sure that any balance works for me.

And tonight, having missed kiddie bathtime and  bedtime again, knowing that I’ll likely end up doing the same again tomorrow, I’m not sure that the value equation does work for me.

And certainly not if I’m going to drown in my own guilt next week while hubby is away.

So… Work is oddly addictive. I just need to make sure the rest of life is too!

I am a bad shouty parent

Hello, my name is…

And I am a bad  shouty parent.

Does saying it outloud / writing it down make it any less guilt inducing? Do I get points for being honest at least? Will my children read this and understand that I didn’t mean to be shouty, and forgive me?

I can only imagine no, to all of the above.

Some days though, they just manage to irritate beyond any sensible level of acceptance. They push every button, to see how far they can go, to see if I will snap, and I fall for it far too often. Not every time, but more than I would like.

I should make them laugh (I said I would!!!!), distract them, ignore it, smother them with love, a million different things. But not shout. I know I should not shout.

But what do I do? I shout. And when they ignore me (because I’m shouting) I shout some more.

And I know it’s ridiculous. I am a grown woman of  almost 40, I can run a team of people and get great work done against all odds, I can manage budgets of millions of pounds, and justify my actions to Senior Execs, even when I have made mistakes… And it all turns out ok. I don’t shout at work. I can think of maybe 2 occasions in 12 years at my current company when I have shouted. I’m just not a shouty person.

But 5yr olds, and almost 4yr olds – they get me every time.

So once today’s guilt subsides, once I have tortured myself enough and begged their forgiveness, once I have got over myself and my ego, I will promise to be a calmer parent, and I will mean it, and I will try really hard.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

Make me laugh and you have my attention

Humour is without a doubt the best medicine. And no matter how busy my day, make me laugh and you have my attention.

@manwhohasitall makes the slow morning commute fly by. And a good friend at work summed it up so nicely – it makes me laugh, and then it makes me angry, but then it makes me laugh again. Maybe humour is the best way to broach ridiculous sexism?

Amusing early morning banter with the team starts the day off with a smile.

Lighthearted sarcasm makes the silly requests more bearable.

And I know this works with the kids too, I’m just not so good at using it to my best advantage.

So, as I head home for the weekend, having worked late to clear the decks as much as possible in view of Monday off (thank you jet-lagged hubby for running straight back into kiddie duty), I’m going to try and laugh at all the things I normally get irritated with, and more importantly, I’m going to try and make the pickles laugh too.

Because the real truth of the matter is, make me laugh and you have my heart.

Guilty Pleasures – and a good day after all

Flint Dry from Chapel Down – my guilty pleasures of the day start with this.  It was meant to be a bottle for tomorrow night when Hubby is back in town, but after the day I’ve had, it has been opened, and maybe I’m showing an English bias, but it’s good. It’s really good…

Guilty pleasure (number 2) will be the chocolate consumed on the sofa post dinner – Willies Cacao Sea Flakes Milk Chocolate.

And number 3 was actually earlier, after an early meeting finish (hurrah, never happens) – I sauntered along quite happily to Waterloo, sat down on my train and started reading a book… Jane Green Summer Secrets – it’s pure rubbish, but the combo of London and Nantucket is making it irresistible to me, and it was so nice to read something long, not just a short tweet, or a facebook post, or even an article… I just want to keep reading.

So post dinner on sofa (far too late, after a doctor’s visit, a late kiddie pick up from after school club, a pharmacy run, a no bath bedtime for the kids, and then the clear down of work), I shall retire to bed and read some more. Just because I can…

Having it all? Doing it all!

On days like today, with the rush from meeting to meeting at work, coupled with kiddie chaos, I’m amused by the concept of ‘having it all’. What does that really mean?

I know that I’m doing it all.

Get up, get kids up, drop kids off, get train, (pick up coffee), head into meetings, sandwich at desk while on call, more meetings, text hello to hubby, call from nursery, run out of office, collect said sickly little one (calpol has kicked in, not noticeably ill at all), collect bigger one, home, fruit, bath, most of milk, out to collect biggest one (slightly hyper from all the dancing, screaming and sugar), call and say goodnight to Daddy, more milk, more baths, reading, singing ( v v badly!), laundry, clear up, bins in, log back on to work, clear inbox, pay bills, pack up school bag, reheat dinner (chilli – yum – thank you hubby), SIT (Grand Designs – architecture porn!)

But I haven’t exercised, I haven’t been mindful, I haven’t done anything worthy, I haven’t read. I’ve kept myself moving from one thing to the next, and I know that I want to find a different way… I just don’t think I can sensibly manage that when I’m on my own.

But to get to where I am in this exact moment, to have the three pickles sleeping quietly upstairs, to have these few moments to blog, to know the world’s best duvet and bed are waiting for me… It’s ok. It’s no disaster. (The wine and chocolate help too…)

Poorly

That feeling of dread when you see Nursery’s name calling your phone.  How often is it ever good news?

So the littlest pickle has a high temp. and is out of sorts. The gathering of bags, the apologies for leaving early (although the timing wasn’t too bad, and I’d had quite a productive day), the hope that it’s nothing serious, the wondering whether she’ll be well enough to go in tomorrow, the mental juggling of what ‘really’ needs to be done versus what can wait (but for how long?) and the overwhelming desire to get there quicker and administer cuddles…

I think about how it might be easier if we had a nanny, less disruption to work etc, but the honest truth is, that if she’s ill, I’d rather that one of us could be with her. And with hubby an ocean away, this time is my time.

It’s making the late pick up of biggest pickle from Spooky Disco more of an issue, but in pyjamas and blankets, I’m sure the car seat will be a fine snooze location…

Made it…

So, as hoped for, day 1 back at work but without the hubby has gone ok. Everyone made it through the day with all limbs in tact, behaviour has been less than great but hey ho. The littlest one was full of smiles, and the others made it to bedtime without actually killing each other, so…

I just wish I didn’t feel the guilt thing so often. And I also wish I was better at cooking for myself, but a reheated bolognese did just fine. And I even made it on to the sofa for a little sit and see… (Shortening of a hallowe’en costume for spooky disco at school!)

So, not as early to bed as hoped, but…

Anonymity

So, a friend at worked asked whether i had managed to start blogging, and I was super proud to say yes.  She then enquired what the blog was called… And a small panic attack later, I managed to stutter that it wasn’t really ready to be read yet… But why? If I’m blogging, surely the point is that people read it? If not, then why on earth am I bothering?

My fear of being ‘found out’ (as what? A fraud? A fake working mother??) or of having an opinion is strong… Anonymity is my favoured state…