You know that old expression, “there aren’t enough hours in the day”? It’s true. There aren’t.
Last night I had a bit of a mini meltdown. I confessed that I feel like I’m doing a horrible job at all the things I’m trying to do, and I know I’m not alone. I know so many of us feel that way because there’s an expression that sums it up so well.
So what am I struggling with? I have three jobs, effectively, and I feel like each warrants full time attention and none get it, and all three suffer for it.
My first job is mother to Miss Rose, and she is a little human who wants A LOT of attention. She deserves my focus, my dedicated time. She deserves to do painting, and crafting, and cooking. She deserves to go for walks, to play imagination games, to climb.
My second is as a writer. My book Lilly Prospero And The Magic Rabbit is now available to buy on Amazon and I honestly have never been so excited in my life. But I need to promote it, I need to build the website that goes with it, I need to work on the sequel. I need to organise publicity opportunities and engage with my audience. Writing it a notoriously difficult career to succeed in and it requires hard work and dedication. It requires full time input.
My third is my home. My house that could be so beautiful if I was able to dedicate the hours required to keep it so. To fix things that break, to clean things as intensely as they deserve cleaning. To tidy and vacuum and organise. The house where my child lives, my step child lives, and The Boy and I live. It’s our safety zone, our nest. And it needs maintenance.
I cannot put the hours each deserve into each. I just can’t. Now is my chance to get my book successful before the baby comes and I’m even more tied up and exhausted. Now is the time to invest in Miss Rose because she’s struggling with the changes in her life and needs me to give her focus to help keep her settled. And my home NEEDS to be maintained or we’ll have no clothes, no dishes to eat off, and grime building up. If the house is a state then the children will suffer and my writing will suffer because I cannot focus in a mess.
So what do I do?
I don’t know! I am struggling constantly with this internal conflict of giving three very worthy and deserving things the focus they require.
Miss Rose seems like the obvious priority. I could let the book slide and neglect my career opportunity to give her what she needs from me and keep the house in shape whilst she’s at nursery. I could, but then am I not in some way failing her? If I give this up, let her see me fade because I’m not allowing myself to flourish as the person I have so longed to be, am I not teaching her not to bother following her dreams? Am I teaching her that working hard and dedicating your life to something is irrelevant once you have children? Am I telling her that I am a nothing, and that my only purpose is her, which means she’ll be carrying so much guilt when she eventually wants to fly the nest because I’ll be left with nothing?
So what do I do?
Currently I give each a half assed commitment. This morning I washed the dishes at 6 then made her breakfast at 630. Then did some laundry, sorted out the recycling, and spent some time with The Boy (who I’ve not even mentioned the neglect he suffers!!) then made Miss Rose some snacks after he’d gone to work. Then we spent some time playing with her rocket before I sorted laundry ready to go upstairs to put away later, and put more washing on at 745. Then at 8 I started tidying up and cleaning. At 830 we vacuumed, and I involved Miss Rose as she loves vacuuming, so she got some fun cleaning with mummy time. It’s now 9. Miss Rose is watching TV and playing with her Legos whilst I write my blog and work a bit on my laptop.
The day will continue much like this until I take her to nursery school when I’ll have three hours in which I can focus on getting the website completed ready to promote the book, before picking her up from nursery and dealing with the tiredness and clingyness before getting dinner ready for when The Boy and Z get home and the dinner and bedtime routine start, before we get the kids to sleep and I crash on the sofa no doubt to have another mini meltdown in The Boy’s arms before we watch a bit of TV and I crash into bed, ready to start the night shift.
I cannot give up my opportunity for my dream career. I cannot give up giving my baby girl the time and attention she needs. And I cannot afford yet to hire anyone to keep my house organised!
So what do I do? Half ass everything, occasionally cry in the arms of The Boy, and do it all again tomorrow. Because each and every job is worth it. Each and every job deserves everything I’ve got to give it. Each and every job is a big part of who I am and what makes me me.
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!