Saturday, 19 May 2012

How do I find the time?

Before you have children you have NO IDEA how much time you have at your disposal.  NONE.  You are in complete ignorance.  You wile away the time watching loads of television, socialising with friends, staying up late, getting up late, working whatever hours you like.  You do things; obviously.  But with no real sense of urgency.  No sense that this abundance of time is soon to run out.  You think you have all the time in the world.

And then you have your first child.

The one thing that no-one thinks to tell you; or if they do you are so in the dark you ignore it anyway; is that you will no longer have ANY time.  You think you are going to get a year off on maternity in which you'll start that book you've been promising yourself you'll write, and get on top of the chores, and read the rest of the classics.  You think "how much time can a baby take up? They sleep most of the time don't they?"

Oh my poor luv.  You have NO IDEA.

Since I've had children everyday involves the logistical planning that top military leaders would be proud of.  From ensuring you've washed and ironed all their clothes as well as your own (so they have something to venture outside the house in..... this is the UK you know; it's cold), to ensuring you've not ran out of milk and cereal (you can't just pop around to the corner shop - you have two young children now.  A trip to the local shop will take 2 hours), to making sure they don't have yogurt in their hair, nor chocolate around their mouth.  All this before 8am. (Click here for my tips to ease the morning rush)

Then there are school and nursery runs; or if your baby really is still a baby, you have the delights of the feeding, winding and changing cycle that means you are lucky if you actually get out of your pyjamas before the evening comes around again. (Take-away anyone?)

With all these things to do, and the added pressure of trying to do all this and still, goodness, dare I say it, look 'yummy', it's a wonder we find time to do anything at all for ourselves.

When fellow blogger and supermum extraordinaire ATO mum at Attempting The Ordinary tagged me to take part in a meme about 'finding the time' I had to really start to think about how I do stuff.  So here it goes.

How and when do you find the time to:

Do the Laundry
This is erratic at best in our house.  I have a lovely hubby who helps with this one by throwing a few loads of washing on each weekend, and sometimes mid week, when he sees it building up.  We should probably do a load every day (we have enough washing for that) but we don't.

I then end up having to spend an entire 3 hours in an evening, probably once a week, ironing everything that needs it.  (Definitely not everything.  Click here for my 5 Quick Ironing Tips for Busy Women)
Write a blog post
There goes most of the other evenings!  I tend to do this after the children have gone to bed when there's something (sport) on the TV that hubby wants to watch.  I am lucky to sometimes get a free day in the week now when both girls are in school and nursery, and of the 5 hours I get I often spend 2 of them writing.  Oh alright; stop twisting my arm; probably 1 hour actually writing, 2 hours flying around the fabulous land of the Internet, and a quick hour tidying round to make it look like I've been very 'busy'.  (I'm eating lunch or snacking in the other hour.  I knew you'd check if it added up!)

Look after yourself
Who me?  Is that my job too?  Blimey.  It's a tough one, but a lot of it is fulfilled by the time I spend writing (see above).  That time, pounding the words into the keyboard, cuppa slowly going cold beside me, is my time. 

I should probably be sat in a candlelit soap filled bath, reading Jane Eyre and painting my toes.  But really.... I have enough trouble prioritising time to keep my roots recoloured  (home colouring) Do you really think I'd prioritise that over this beautiful keyboard! Strokes space bar lovingly.  Realises really shouldn't be writing that.  Tries to delete... delete button stuck.  Darn...........

Spend time with other half
So, I've used up a good couple of evenings ironing, at least 3 writing, so that leaves 2 with the hubby.  Generally spent curled up watching TV if I'm honest.

We try and make the most of the weekends and save our pennies for holidays; but obviously that's the whole family.  Luckily our own parents are fabulous babysitters, so we get the odd date night out too.  Maybe once every couple of months on average, and if we've been good, a weekend away for new year sale shopping.

Do fun stuff with your little ones
I struggle with this one.  On the one hand I do enjoy quality one on one time with them when I get it, and we try to arrange this at the weekends, where one of the girls spends time with my hubby whilst I spend time with the other.  On the other hand they are only 2 years apart so they currently play games together very well.  It's all too tempting to leave them to it when they are playing happily to be honest.  Why should I force my presence into the game when it's not required.

When I do have time with them it's either making a special effort to go the park after school, or we'll bake together at the weekends (great recipe for Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins here that is good to do with children) or I'll get the 'sticking box' out and we'll cover the table with glitter and coloured paper and make cards.  Particularly fun in the fun up to Christmas!  To be honest most of this is done at weekends.  There just isn't much time in the week after we've got in at 4pm, I've made tea (whilst they happily play games or watch a bit of television before tea) we've eaten tea, gone upstairs for bath (about 6pm ish), brushed teeth (to avoid the teeth monster), read stories (one each minimum), sang the lullaby and tucked up in bed.

Although now I've re-read that paragraph I realise that is 'spending time with them'.  I suppose you have to remember that time spent doing daily tasks can also be enjoyable fun time (as long as they aren't tired and causing trouble when they should be getting their teeth brushed.)  It doesn't have to be specifically 'play'.

Spend time with your family
Ha ha ha ha ha.
Finally recovers from rolling around on the floor laughing.  Do I have time?  Unfortunately not.  In our case my parents live a good 45 minutes drive away.  And my mum doesn't drive.  And to get the train she has to get a bus into town first.  So it's easier for me to go to them.  But my girls are at school or nursery.  So it's tricky.

Quite often though my mum will come up to see us on the train. (She's a superstar)  She'll arrive at 10am and stay until 7pm.  It's a long day for her, so we won't be able to continue doing that indefinitely but it works for now and she probably does it roughly once every couple of months.

In between that we'll all get together for birthdays and Christmas.

Socialise with friends
Ha ha ha ha ha hahahahahahahaha.

I don't.

We try and try to do this better.  The last girls evening out I had was probably 4 months ago now.  I see other mummy friends at the school gate (doesn't that count?).  We are starting to try and organise more Sundays where friends come over and we get to catch up whilst the children play in the garden and we have BBQs.  But it's May; and it's still raining.  The weather is thwarting us.

I am bad at this I know.

I'm sorry everyone.  Really sorry!  

Deep clean your house
Deep clean?
My first response was:
"Never.  Ever.  Oh all right then.  Probably once a year in preparation for everyone coming to ours for Christmas.  We clean it so it looks beautiful for all of a day.  Then Father Christmas visits along with 9 other people and the house is once again back to it's chaotic self."

But then I read this back and it dawned on my that we have a wonderful cleaner come in once a week for two hours to blitz the bathrooms/floors/kitchen etc.  She does more in those two hours than I was managing in a month, so it's well worth it.  We decided that, if I was working part-time, part of my earnings would pay for this so that I have time with the girls when am I off.  It works really well, as when I'm off with the younger (3 years old) each week I get to play games with her and not have to worry about bleaching the toilets or scrubbing the oven.

It's the 'keeping it tidy' bit that we struggle with more!

Do the food shopping
Hubby to the rescue on this one.  He takes one or both of the girls to the supermarket at the weekend.  Usually leaving me with some of that ironing we mentioned earlier.  Click here for great tips to keep them entertained whilst they help you shop!

Do bulk ironing
We covered this one further up.  Either in the evenings after the girls are in bed, or at the weekend when they are getting the shopping.

Sum up
And there we have it.  That's how I find the time.  There are a lot of multi-tasking things I do to crowbar other things in like exercise for example (while brushing my teeth) and beauty (plenty of preparation to reduce the time required in the morning to look acceptable.)  But really I prioritise what I think is important; and that is where we'll all differ.  Some won't iron at all (ATOmum I'm looking at you!) and that is absolutely fine.  Some will spend an hour straightening their hair and that is fine too.  As long as we each, individually, feel we are getting the balance right then each to their own.  Of course if you never, ever play games with your children because you are too busy working/beautifying/cleaning then you may just want to rethink.

Now the rules of the meme go something like this:

1) Please post the rules
2) When answering questions give as much information as possible.   It's all about the finer detail people!
3) Add a quick sum up of your normal week.
4) Leave a comment on Sex, drugs, rocker... and stroller, baby.  This is so we can keep track of the Meme and take a polite nose into everyone else's lives.
5) Tag 3 or more people and link to them on your blog.
6) Link back to whoever tagged you and ensure to let them know how you've got on.

I am pleased to tag:

Libby at Truly Myrtle
Emma at Adventures of an Unfit Mother
Angie at Cakes Photos Life

 as I am intrigued as to how they find the time!  I hope you have the time ladies!? 


  1. Great post - and lots of top tips too - you are spoiling us Yummy!! Totally agree with the 'whatever balance works for you' idea - I'm definitely sticking with the not ironing!

    1. Oh if only I could! Did a good 2 hours worth of ironing today, which wold have cleared the lot if it weren't for the fact that I also washed and dried 2 more baskets full.

      Oh dear. Maybe I should be saving some of those work pennies to get my ironing outsourced! ;-)

  2. Thanks for asking me! I've been practicing finding the time for 10 years now. I definitely do better these days that I did in the beginning! I don't iron. The iron is a sewing tool! :) Mr Myrtle is pretty much in charge of laundry, with me chipping in. Blog posts get whipped up in evenings or mornings when kids are at school. Me? I'm up early, showered and dressed first. That's the end of the looking after me! But, then again, my knitting/sewing is about me. Mr Myrtle and I enjoy nothing better than an evening together at home and the odd day out when everyone is at school. I go with the more time rather than quality time approach with the kids, and other than my brother, who lives with us, my family lives half a world away.... Our idea of socialising includes kids. Bbq's, coffee mornings etc.. I never deep clean, oh dear. Just speed clean. I shop on the internet and occasionally at the shop. I never sit down and do nothing and I knit absolutely every day A LOT. And, that's me.
    If you don't mind - I probably won't do a whole post..... too much else to do?! X

    1. I think you did the post right there. Just a quick copy/paste into your site and you're done! ;-)

      Thanks for sharing your tips. I'm not sure I could cope never sitting down. I've had a busy day today, and not sat down until 8pm and my feet are throbbing! I'm not used to it. I'd certainly get more done but I enjoy chilling infront of the TV with hubby on an evening. Never mind. I guess I'll just have to try and get up earlier instead!??

  3. Wow these are all so true! I now have Ella (nearly 4) and Sam (6 months) and very little gets accomplished. One solution for us is that I DON'T iron...never have, never will. AND, I am so lucky as the one job Hubby does is the LAUNDRY!! It's delightful. We just sort of take each day as it comes...some days are less successful than others, that's for sure! ;)

    Karin @ Cafe Bebe

  4. lol sounds like my house. Apart from I don't iron. ROFL

  5. I am running agains the clock from the moment I give up but like other commenters I don't iron, I never have. I work full time from home and have no childcare so when we moved a month and a half ago and suddenly had space for a dishwasher I jumped at the chance and it has saved me so much time, and probably water, already. We also now have cleaners helping 2-3 hours a week, what they do in that time takes me all week with T on tow and I make up for the money having more time so less jobs get turned down. I also get more fun instead of stressed out time with T

  6. Hi Karin, Pippa and Feisty Tapas;

    Thanks for popping in. I am getting the feeling I am the only woman in the world ironing! How did I get that so wrong!???


    1. In my case I refuse to since I got very badly burnt with an iron once, I'm clumsy. I just reread the beginning of my comment, I shouldn't try to comment from my phone, my comment is full of spelling mistakes, sorry! I meant to say "I'm running against the clock from the moment I get up..."

    2. It's alright; I understood perfectly. I comment from my phone all the time; it's probably not doing my eyes any good though!


  7. Shoots hand up high 'I iron' I'm a real weirdo as I actually like ironing. I'll pop a DVD on or choose a moment when there's some good Tv, girls on the sofa and I will tackle my huge pile. I don't iron every day but save it all up for one film
    Bliss but I do lack time to do everything else, I'm always stealing minutes form one task to complete another I have become the master of multi tasking :)
    gotta dash there's some washing up that needs doing ;)


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