Before becoming a parent I had quite firm ideas in my mind of what it would be like.
Of course I would be able to continue working the way I was beforehand. Travel? No problem. Working from home, no problem, I will just log in when the baby sleeps and get a good couple of hours in.
My house? That won’t be a problem. I will have the baby’s room and the rest of the house will just stay the same way that it is now.
My car? Well to be honest I don’t think it ever occurred to me that my car would end up looking like a pantry. But had it, I would have said no way, the kids can eat when they get home, they don’t need to eat in the car.
Well, as I type this, my hair is being brushed and filled with bows by a very enthusiastic 5 year old who needs distracting and my 7 year old is on to his 10th meal of the morning.
My car has empty chip packets and drink bottles that I hear roll on every corner. By the time I get home I forget they are there, so on the next trip the “klunk” reminds me of another task that wasn’t completed.
My house? It doesn’t look like I remember it looking. The walls aren’t clean like they used to be and the dishes fill the sink much more quickly now. The washing isn’t a once a week job, it’s a daily job.
But on the other side of that, my walls now have height marks where I see how my kids have grown. They are covered in art work they have lovingly made and hung up proudly. What I find helpful in the moments of total overwhelm is to remember my own childhood. I think of all the noise that filled my house with happy memories. My poor Mum probably remembers it in a very different way. She must have longed for some quiet, but my memories of that time are loud and fun filled.
In the moments of chaos I try and hope that they are making their own memories.
Sometimes I look around and see the toys, the leftover food, the constant reminders of jobs that need doing and it feels like too much to even know where to start. So I am learning that sometimes it is ok to just not. It’s ok to take a minute, take a breath and realise there is plenty of time for the dishes or the washing. Stop and read a book, watch a show, take a walk, play with the kids. Whatever it may be that comes up at the time. I guarantee after you have spent some time doing something enjoyable for you, the rest will seem easier. If not today, then maybe tomorrow, because as we know. The dishes are always there.
If my kids have taught me anything, its that not everything is within my control. Sometimes it is ok to just take a breath and slow down. I am sure they will be the times they remember, me sitting with them and being together. Not the spotless kitchen.