Spinning all the plates

I remember my mum saying “There’s not enough time in the day!” when I was growing up. I always just looked at her, thinking what a ridiculous phrase that was. There were 24 hours in a day, how was that not a long time? As a child, the days seemed terribly long. Especially days that consisted of both maths and PE! Well, I’m sorry mum, because you were right. It’s 12:18am as I write this and once again, I ran out of time yesterday to get everything done. I am constantly chasing my tail, trying to keep all the plates spinning. In fact, it’s a bit of a worry with pandemic restrictions easing. How am I going to manage additional plates that come my way?

Babies take up an extraordinary amount of time. Reuben doesn’t sleep as much as Autumn did, I’m sure of it. At least, he doesn’t sleep in such large chunks. I remember when I started my blog, Autumn was 4 months old like Reuben is now. I got a solid 4 hour nap from her every day at the same time. It was far easier to plan what I was going to do and I dedicated a set amount of time to my blog every day.

Fast forward 4 years and I’ve got my gorgeous Reuben too. However, his nap pattern is far more unpredictable. Sometimes he’ll do the same thing for a few days, but as soon as I start to think he’s settled into a pattern, it will change again! I’d almost forgotten how babies do this. Establish rhythms and routines to a point where you think you have them sussed, only for it all to change entirely. I wouldn’t mind, but it’s kind of difficult to plan things. Some days, I might have the time to make a lasagne from scratch for dinner, while on clingy napless evenings I’ll only have the time to chuck a ready meal into the microwave.

Of course, it takes time getting them to nap too. There are also the feedings, the nappy changes and all the entertaining and nurturing in between. Nap times are often a frantic affair, with me quietly dashing around trying to do as many things as I can, not knowing how long I’ll have.

So where does that leave Autumn? I feel so guilty, worrying that I’m not playing with her enough. Worrying that she’s having too much screen time while I try to take care of Reuben, cook dinners and do laundry and housework. I’m concerned that I’m too impatient and not listening enough, paying too much attention to trying to “get things done”. Perhaps I’m putting too much weight on her shoulders when I ask her to stop playing and rock her brother in the pram while I try to steal 5 minutes to hang some laundry out. She’s only 4 after all.

Then there’s the house. Sometimes I see fluff and dust building up in certain places for days and there’s nothing I can do about it. Some washing needs urgently doing (gotta love a poonami!) or Reuben wakes up JUST as I’m about to tackle it. I can do some things with him in a sling, but not everything. My husband’s working full time and doing what he can, so it’s not a case of it all being down to me. But in a society where I feel housework is perpetually seen as a woman’s task and responsibility, if anyone were to see it, it would be me they’d think badly of.

Lastly, there’s my blog. My fourth baby in many respects. It’s been a labour of love over the last four years. It’s been there for me in good times and bad times. My confidence has increased due to it and I’ve done things I’d never have imagined I’d do. Yet, of course, my actual children come first, followed by my blog and the housework. So, if you see me writing a lot on my blog it’s likely there’s a layer of dust building somewhere in my home. If you see nothing but sponsored posts for a while, it’s likely that my windows are sparkling and my bath is gleaming.

If you, like me, are spinning plates, you’re not alone. I don’t think many people have everything all in order at once. Unless you can employ people to help you, I think there’s always something out of line. It’s just a case of trying to convince ourselves that that’s okay. It’s normal – and that other mum who always looks pristine on the school run likely has something in her life that’s out of line for her to always be so well put together.

I never used to leave the house without makeup; now it’s a rare occurrence. Maybe, just maybe tomorrow (well, today) might be the first time in a while that I do the school run looking put together. It would make a nice change. That said, I’ll try to relax about it more if it doesn’t work out as Reuben needs milk and cuddles. I’ll try to make my peace with the fact my plan didn’t come into fruition. There are more important things; I have more important purposes than to fulfil how society deems it most appropriate to look.

And on that note, it’s time to go to sleep to prepare for another day of spinning plates.

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