J is for juggling

Juggling is difficult. I’m not talking about the kind that involves balls, and throwing – that’s not difficult, it’s impossible. Well, it is if you’re me, anyway. It’s taken me a lifetime to learn the co-ordination to catch just one ball that’s being aimed at my head (and I still miss those sometimes…) so the concept of catching and re-throwing multiple objects is really quite mind boggling.

Juggling of commitments on the other hand often seems a little bit more doable. But only a bit…

For example, two weeks ago I was attempting to juggle studying and preparation for facilitating an antenatal class, part-time work as a social housing project manager, co-ordination of the local NCT newsletter and of course looking after a household with two children and a cat in it. A very, very annoying cat who decided that the best two places to sit are:

1/ my laptop

2/ my study notes and class plan

Both of which are choices I was not in agreement with.

Oh, and on top of that I suffer from chronic fatigue as part of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, something which is best managed in my experience by regularly doing some form of exercise and eating a reasonably balanced diet. Unfortunately ‘dodge the household detritus’ and ‘eat the random assortment of odd items that are cluttering up the fridge’ don’t really qualify as fulfilling these two criteria – and any more organised options are remarkably more time consuming.

And then, the Wee Man’s nightly nosebleeds made their periodic reappearance, and Bubby D developed an evil cough which irritated her throat so much that she kept vomiting everywhere.

Did I mention that one ‘ball’ is enough to juggle?

Anyway, I’d already deleted housework from the juggling list, and unfortunately there wasn’t anything else that could be scrubbed out – so I had to come up with a plan.

So here it is

Juggling – an unco-ordinated, time-constrained parents guide

–       Pasta is your friend. It can be mixed with many different things fairly quickly and easily, it doesn’t make too much of a mess when it’s flung across the room, and cats appear quite happy to eat it too (even though that wasn’t part of my actual planning)

–       It’s much easier to give in, let children sleep in your bed and get whatever rest you can than to keep taking them back to their beds and hopping in and out yourself every twenty minutes to deal with another howling episode.

babies–       Antenatal demonstration dolls are excellent for impromptu tea parties with small children. Just make sure there is no actual tea involved. And that the dolls are washable.

–       Keeping up with exercise is a priority. It makes you feel better and more energised, even when you feel really, really tired.

–       Laminate everything of importance as it is extremely likely to have muck of some sort spilt on it on almost a daily basis.

–       Don’t laminate the cat. Or near the cat. Laminating and furry creatures do not mix. (End result – furry laminates and a static grumpy cat).

–       Screaming is allowed* and is actually quite stress relieving. Just try and disguise it as singing, or something, otherwise the neighbours get a bit alarmed.

–       *DON’T scream at work. (Even if disguised as singing). It leads to all kinds of trouble.

–       Get someone else to proof read anything you may have written whilst in a cat, work and small children screaming frenzy. It can save lots of time apologising and hiding red-faced in cupboards due to embarrassing typos later on.

–       Have a supportive Other Half. Did I mention my Other Half is amazing? Thank you, Other Half! Defender of the cat catastrophes, marshaller of the small child tornadoes, and maker of the crazy-fridge-concoction foodstuffs.

–       Oh, and at some point, if you can manage it, sleep is a good idea. I’ve heard you can go a bit mad without it…

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