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How do you do it?

How do you do it?

| JUN 19, 2016

The question I get asked most frequently is “how do you do it?” This is referring to the fact that I run Bare Biology and am a mum to three young children and a wife to a very busy, commuting, high pressure job holding husband who’s rarely at home.

My answer? I don’t do it! Well, that’s how I feel anyway. I think from the outside it looks like I am ‘doing’ it, because of course that’s the image I want to portray. Inside I’m a gibbering wreck. I feel like I’m constantly on the verge of some kind of apocalyptic meltdown and one day I’m going to drop a ball. No, not a ball. A planet. Something monumental. Like I’ll forget to buy Birthday presents for my children or I’ll leave the house with my slippers on and curlers in my hair (to someone as vain as me, that is a monumental disaster).

I told someone the other day that I’m going to write down all the things I do in a typical day and I bet that millions of other mothers would write a very similar list. I think mothers are amazing super humans, of course I don’t think I’m one because my inner critic tells me I’m useless all the time; but we ARE amazing. No offence blokes, I love you, but you couldn’t do what we do. Nuh uh, not ever.

So, for those that are interested in a day in my life (!?) below I’ve recounted an itemized account of a standard day I had recently.

The broader question or point is this, why do we do this to ourselves? I only have myself to blame. How do we reconcile our ambitions and today’s cult of the busy with leading a happy and healthy life? We all know that stress is the biggest killer and the biggest risk to our health, yet we pile it upon ourselves. I feel like I’m running just to stand still, all of the time. I love my life and I wouldn’t change it, yet it makes me feel quite unwell sometimes and I wonder if I’ll look back when I’m old and wonder what the hell I was thinking.

I’m never going to be less stressed or less busy unless I start doing a lot less, expecting a lot less and reduce my ambitions and goals substantially. But I’m not prepared to do that so I just have to learn to enjoy the process, and I think that’s all any of us can do. Enjoy the journey, accept that we chose the lives we live, stop every now and then to notice the good things and count our gratitudes, then suck it up and get on with it.

So, here’s a day in the life of an entrepreneur & mother 

6.00am: get up, shower, apply full make up and blow dry hair.

6.30: have breakfast.

6.45: drag three kids (aged 5, 7 & 9) out of bed and deal with several tantrums. Get uniform out, quickly make their beds, open curtains etcdeal with lots of moaning and complaining, try to cajole kids and explain that life is tough and school is non negotiable.

7.00: make kids breakfast, which sounds easy, but they all want different things and take an age to decide. They seem to think they live in the Mandarin Oriental and that I can whip up a freshly baked croissant or some French toast like I’m some kind of magician.

7.15: make snacks and fill water bottles, make sure school bags are packed, any forms or requests for money from the school are filled out, make sure sports kits are complete and the right things are in the right bags. Run round the kitchen clearing up, wiping up milk, loading dish washer etc

7.30: start shouting at the kids to hurry up, brush teeth and get dressed. Shout some more, then nearly cry a bit, then literally pull at my hair, then tell them that I’m going to have a heart attack and that we can’t carry on like this.

7.45: pile them plus their 50,000 bags into the car, remember to put the alarm on, lock up and make sure I have shoes on.

8.00: drop eldest child at her school.

8.05: break up a fight in the back of the car between my other two (it was about one wanting to listen to music and the other wanting silence).

8:10: deal with mini meltdown from youngest child because I can’t park at the school so have to use the drop off service where a teacher grabs your kids out the car for you. Dash back to my eldest’s school for a meeting with her dyslexia teachers, for which I’m late as it’s pouring with rain so there’s nowhere to park. Arrive drenched (so much for the blow dried hair) and have a very brief but intense meeting.

8:45: dash home, grab a few things and drive to my accountant’s office.

9:30 to 11.00: have a meeting with accountants to try to learn how to use my accountancy software (I do all my own book keeping and it’s not something I particularly enjoy/I’m rubbish at it).

11.00 to 2.00: blast through as many emails as possible, have several catch ups with my lovely team member, put through some retail orders, raise some invoices, reply to customer query emails, answer a few telephone calls, think about how we can sell more product, check I can afford to pay some bills.

2.00 to 3.00: telephone conference call with Search Engine Optimisation consultant and my website designer/guru. Fascinating conversation with two lovely guys. Excited about what we can do with the website and to get our name out there more.

The broader question or point is this, why do we do this to ourselves? I only have myself to blame. How do we reconcile our ambitions and today’s cult of the busy with leading a happy and healthy life?

3.00: grab snacks for three kids, jump in car and drive to school. Can’t park, pouring with rain. Find parking space. Try not to steal daughter’s flapjack. Pick up kids and drive home in foul weather. All three kids trying to tell me stuff all at the same time and trying to answer them all and make sure they think I was listening/interested. All the while, my eldest insists on playing songs from Matilda the musical at full blast.

4:30: arrive home, drag kids in, take all the bags in. Coats and shoes off, nag to get hands washed and then homework…. Groan. Break up fight about who is going to have the piano lesson first.

4:40 to 5:30: incredibly glamorous, young, childless piano teacher arrives looking stunning and relaxed. I feel like a hag from hell. One child has piano lesson while I nag the other one to do homework. Search through fridge looking for something healthy and nutritious, yet quick and easy, that the kids would actually eat. Start making kids dinner, youngest tells me she has pooed her pants. Clean her up, get rid of pants, run bath, put her in bath. Oversee switchover for piano lesson and nag second child to do homework. Make sure youngest is still alive and hasn’t drowned in bath. Drag her out of bath and put on PJs.

5:30: pay piano teacher and do small talk for a bit so as not to seem like total hag from hell. All the while sucking in my post three kids belly and fiddling with my awful hair that was ruined by earlier downpour.

5:45: feed kids. They complain about the dinner. I hate this Mummy. Why do we always eat this Mummy? Bla bla bla. Cajole them to eat dinner and feel guilty about the fact I don’t make them amazing dinners every night and spend all weekend batch cooking like the Hemsley sisters. Oh yeah, they don’t have kids.

6:15: clear up the carnage of food on the floor, plates and pots and pans. Tell kids they can watch TV if they get into PJs. Break up another fight. God my kids fight a lot! And I’ve probably under reported the fighting.

6:30: reply to some more emails and do a bit more work. Feel guilty that the kids are in front of TV and iPad rather than me reading with them or talking to them.

7:30: Put kids to bed. Oh, the dreaded bed time. And by this time, I am SO hungry I feel like I’m digesting the lining of my stomach. I had better be at least 2 kilos lighter soon. Kids complain they don’t want to go to bed. Then one of them does a poo and needs bottom wiping. Meanwhile, the other two disappear and think it’s hilarious to hide. I start shouting again, a lot. Husband is away on business so I know the cavalry isn’t arriving. Grit my teeth and focus on fact that I can eat dinner soon and watch Daily Politics on catch up (yes, I’m that sad. It’s my Eastenders). Finally get kids into bed after much shouting and some crying, them and me.

7:45: kiss them good night and feel guilty about all the shouting I do and how little attention I give them.

8:00: try to eat dinner but have to go upstairs several times to tell kids to get back into bed.

8:30: do a few more emails, look at diary for next day, have minor panic attack at amount of work.

8:30: a bit of TV then bed at 9:30.

Don’t sleep well because my husband is away so I’m imagining various murderers trying to break in.

4:30am: youngest gets into my bed because of a bad dream. She fidgets and snores so I don’t get back to sleep.

6.00am: off we go again!

If you haven’t nodded off from the boredom and you’ve made it this far, well done! Any of it sound familiar?

So, to answer those questions about ‘how do I do it’ – I just do, but what I (and the rest of us) need to do is remain focused on all the positive and beautiful things in my life. And I include my kids fighting in there, if they were ill or physically impaired, they wouldn’t be able to fight. We have to enjoy the journey, because that’s all life is. The finish line is when we die!

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