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Monday, 7 April 2014

Is It Just Me?

 Do you ever get times when you just can't see the wood for the trees?
 When life seems so busy, a bit like those roundabouts when you were a kid, and suddenly it was going too fast, and you were feeling a bit panicky and dizzy but you didn't know how to make it slow down, and besides, everyone else didn't seem to notice, and you didn't want to make a fuss or have them laugh at you?
 Or was that was just me?



Well, for all sorts of reasons, I'm feeling a bit like that right now. Most of the time, I think that I manage to juggle it all...not necessarily with aplomb, you understand, but I usually keep all the the balls in the air...just about. (Roundabouts, now juggling- it's all about the metaphors today!)

Family life can get overwhelming at times- trying to meet everyone's needs, physical, practical and emotional is hard, and some days no matter what I do, I seem to get it wrong. I lose my temper while doing the homeworks. I only half listen to a meandering story from a child about school. I let the youngest watch TV for way too long. I ignore the fact that there is no way any child has had five servings of fruit and vegetables today, never mind seven but stick on a pizza anyway.

 Lists run endlessly through my head of all the things that need done today, tomorrow , yesterday, and instead of staying in that moment or enjoying a joke, I'm already skipping ahead to making lunches, putting on a wash or planning tomorrow's dinner.

And that just the mummy stuff. The other reel playing at the same time is the blog/ writing thing, which I try to squeeze in before 1130am when nursery finishes, between unpacking the dishwasher, and putting on a wash. Never mind if there's a phonecall, an unexpected visitor, or an orthodontic appointment because then I get nothing done at all. And yet, whether I do or i don't, why does it matter to me? Would anyone even notice if I didn't post anything for a month or a year? And even if they did, would they care? (I'm definitely getting a distinct whiff of self pity right now, but I'm actually trying to be pragmatic!)

 I look at my blog and it's grown and mushroomed, but not like others out there who have a niche, a USP, a marketable angle, a purpose. I'm crap at promotion and social media. The truth is that I SHOULD be sending out press releases about the MADS, tweeting about it, hooking up with other blogs , embracing Instagram, and Pinterest and Google + because apparently the most successful bloggers spend as much time promoting their blog as they do writing it. Whatevs.

But that's just not me. It's not why I started it, it's not why I write it, it's not what I enjoy. So why don't I just accept that and move on? Why do I tell myself that my reasons for blogging aren't good enough? That I'm not good enough. That it doesn't make any money so why bother. People write blogs for all kinds of reasons, but everyone likes to see their blog statistics and followers grow because we all want to be popular, don't we?

And yet to not care can be wonderfully liberating and there's a freedom in writing just for the sake of it, without censure or feeling the need to impress, or to be the best. Still,  for it to work at all, a blog needs to be up to date-some people post every single day, while I just about manage a few times a week, and, let's face it, you're only as good as your last post

I've also been trying to develop my writing into fiction over the last few months, which really means trying to make it to class, usually without my homework done, occasionally producing something pretty crap and always feeling out of my depth. The blog and the class- doing both but neither particularly well- I'm truly the Queen of Mediocre.

Part of the problem, and maybe you recognize this too, is that I try to squeeze too much in. Every pocket of time must be filled and utilized efficiently. That lull before the school run? Perfect for cleaning the bathroom, folding clothes or editing a blog post. Watching TV after the kids are in bed? I'll be doing a Tesco shop, answering emails, or tinkering with my blog. Driving anywhere? I'll be making appointments, answering phonecalls or just running through lists in my head. Its endless and exhausting and it leaves no time for just being still. I sometimes think that I might have forgotten how.

When did this happen? When I was younger I read endlessly, every chance I got, tearing my way through book after book. When did I put down the book and pick up the iPad ? Yes, it's true that much of the lack of time is down to where I'm at right now -the responsibilities, concerns and practicalities of running a a busy household are indisputable, but many are also habits I've formed, lists I've made, criteria I've set over time in my own head.

 And you know what? I don't know that anything I do will ever be good enough for that task master in there. I always end up failing anyway. Yeah, you may have written something worth reading, but sure you haven't made a home cooked meal all week or tackled that ironing pile. Or, so you made two shepherd pies and cleared out three wardrobes but hey, you haven't written a word or phoned a friend or said a prayer.

 So what's the point of trying to do it all? Maybe its time to set some of this shit down? To take a step back, and then just go sit outside in the sun. To wake up and smell the coffee, but then to sip over it slowly instead of gulping it back.

So there you go-I've bared my soul to you this Monday morning. And honestly, just doing that much has helped, even though it makes no difference really because I still don't know what to do. But maybe that's enough for now...and thanks for listening.
Later, lovelies xx













32 comments:

  1. And doesn't it seem like there is always someone else out there who does get it all done? Happy fulfilled kids in a clean &tidy house. I mean, how does that happen?

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    1. Ive no idea.....but they're hard to like!

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  2. I think it's called being a mum. I feel guilty if I sit down and "do nothing". Again, I'm not sure when that happened, or how, or why! It's not as if anyone minds if I take time out for me. But, my son is now 16, and although it is an effort, I do now say "no" to taking on something else (people assume if you only have one child you have endless time) and I am better at making sure I do find time to craft or read a few times a week. (OK, it's not perfect, its often at the end of the day, but at least it's my time. ) And , by the way, I love the way you write.

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    1. Sara- it's so hard to get the work life balance right isn't it. And thank you xx

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  3. I don't have the answer my friend...I feel much the same way myself most days. I tell myself that if I didn't have my blog, I'd have SO much more time but then again I'd have to work part time (at the very least) so maybe I'd be just as disorganised in a different way? Maybe we thrive best at having 100 things to do every day? Maybe we'd become that crazy woman on Channel4 who can't get past all the junk, dirt and unironed clothes to get out of her house if we didn't keep up the manic juggling? Let's debate over a caramel square tomorrow morning....we'll have it sussed by 11.30am - provided you can fit me in? Did I mention CARAMEL SQUARE? x

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    1. I am so there... I fact, you had me at caramel. Thanks babe- I know you understand.

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  4. Your post resonates so much with me that I managed to burn my soup on the hob whilst reading it! I feel like I'm busier now than when I worked full time with 2 daughters. Now I'm on a career break (with no job to go back to?!?!) with 3 daughters and I feel that I don't really do anything 100%. How does that figure? I can't help answer your questions, but perhaps knowing that others feel the same might be help enough. Oh, and the caramel square offer is def a light at the end of today's tunnel!

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    1. It absolutely is help enough - thank you. And a caramel square ALWAYS helps!

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  5. Once again as a mother of 5 I completely empathise with you. I used to be exactly where you are now, to be honest I still am sometimes, but then I made the realisation that I only have to be "good enough" as a mother or whatever else in life I am. There are times that I don't even feel "good enough" for example last week I found a note written by my 13yr old in which he said,"no one listens to me, not just my siblings but my parents as well. If mum reads this she will deny it but it is true." Well I was heartbroken but after some thought and a chat with him I realised that with 5 kids I don't have enoug ears and I think I hear the important things and hopefully at least he has been heard this time.
    But - as encouragement for you - mine are a bit older than yours, my eldest is 25, and they are turning out okay, maybe better than okay, so I am relaxing a bit but man it is hard going sometimes.
    So hang in there, have a laugh and a glass of wine and remember you only need to be "good enough."
    Alisonx

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    1. Alison - thank you so much for your honesty- I can imagine how that note must have been a punch in the stomach. But you're right, there never seems to be enough time or enough ears, but all you can do is your best. And I love the thought of just being 'good enough'. Xx

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  6. I love reading your blog, its light hearted & entertaining and guarantees to make me smile everytime. So please don't give up. Life is a busy roundabout, but all too soon the kids are grown and gone, so take a step back and enjoy. But please don't give up the writing xx

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    1. Thank you so much for reminding me that soon enough the kids will be grown and gone- I need to remember that. The days are long but the years are short. Xx

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  7. I love your blog your in my top three favourites so please stick around. You cheer me up on down days x

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    1. Thank you- that means an awful lot.

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  8. Please dont stop writing! I do love your blog even if its not making you a fortune it really makes me smile. X

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  9. Hi Emma - Just put it out there honey!! It feels so much better! I don't mind if you don't blog regularly. Whose life is so interesting every day!! I honestly have given up reading some blogs (I read yours and one other!!) as I cannot believe people do something worth writing about every single day! If I had a day a fortnight that might be interesting to anyone I would be surprised (Although a whopping great ice cream sundae at Fortnum and Mason on Saturday was one of them!). You keep going honey we are all there some days. I am sitting here tonight, should be working, should be ironing, should be chatting to the children about their day and I am doing none of it. Chin up honey .. Lots of love Laura xxx

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    1. Thank you Laura....and that ice cream sounds amazing.

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  10. Um - What?! Emma you are hardly the queen of mediocre. You are a finalist in the mads in two of the most competitive categories. I love your blog. You selling point is that it is real, funny, well written and not just full of reviews and sponsored posts like many of the so called 'popular blogs'
    But anyway all those other things, i struggle with them too and you have much more to deal with than I. I also wonder whats the point, but the only point for me is that i enjoy it. I'm not trying to make money or anything else so am actually trying to cut back a bit as it's taking up too much of my time as a hobby.
    Anyway i'm rambling on but i hope that made sense. I love your blog, that is all :)

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    1. You're not rambling.....and that means lots. Thank you babe xx

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  11. Hi Emma, well as you can see, we ALL feel like that sometimes. I work full-time outside the home, I have a long commute and I have 2 kids. I have always worked full-time. Didn't have the choice. BUT I would so have loved to have stayed at home with my kids. So of course I feel so, so guilty about that, even though my boys are happy DESPITE my rotten marriage (divorced now - new mortgage after buying the old man out of the house). I don't thing anyone gets it right - or at least none of us think so. So take some time out from your blog if you need to. Don't put yourself under any pressure to blog until YOU want to do it. I'm sure it won't be too long before you tootle back and start writing. You are very, very good at it and you obviously (mostly) enjoy it. So cut yourself some slack ... and then get on with doing the things you enjoy. You know what they say, "the years are short but the days are long", or maybe I really am paraphrasing Confuscious! Oh, and I voted for you as the most entertaining blog. So there! You are obviously doing something right. Take care. Anna

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    1. Anna- thank you for all those lovely words and you're so right- I DO mostly love it and it wouldn't be too long before I'd be back writing. I'm so glad you're in a better place now and its funny as mothers we never ever feel we're getting the right balance, do we! And thanks for the vote as well babe xx

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  12. I love you Emma. You're doing it all right. I wish I was back there wondering if the chaos would ever come to an end and thinking everyone else was getting it right but me. I was wrong we are all right. Because we are doing the best we can. I still have days like you've described but like Alison says my eldest is 25 and my five are brilliant!! Big sister hug xxx

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    1. Thank you Brenda- between you and Alison, I've got two great role models. And thanks for the big sister hug- I needed that!

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  13. Emma I LOVE your blog. It brightens my day when I read it. It is warm, human and funny - sometimes - laugh out loud funny! A 'fictionalised' account of life chez vous would be such a treat to read. Who would you want to play you in the film/mini series?
    Keep going girl!! Mags xx

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    1. Mags, I love you! Thank you so much girl- I LOVE the idea of a mini series although I'm not sure anyone would watch it! It would HAVE to be Joan from Mad Men playing me obvs.

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  14. Emma, it is absolutely not just you! I think we all fall into this trap at one point or another, of doubting ourselves. The fact is, it's just so hard to do it all and I think we just need to try and take the pressure off a little. I know i often look at other people and think they're doing it all where I'm failing miserably,but are they really? Or are they thinking the same about me when i know i definitely am not? Anyway, we're all in it together chick. And for what it's worth, i think your blog is pretty amazing :) x

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    1. Thank you Emma- I'm so glad it's not just me and I love the thought that we're all in it together. Xxxx

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  15. Emma - this could be me writing this. I'm not doing the whole MADs promotion thing either. I regularly (daily) think about giving up altogether and constantly feel overwhelmed by all there is to do with a growing family of 5. You're not alone and sadly I have no answers, other than going with the flow - ditching the list in favour of a much-needed but of sunshine. Makes us all feel better x x

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    1. Really Suzanne? I honestly thought I was the only one. Tell you what, let's make a pact to keep 'Er lit, at least till the September so we can get to meet and drink champers and dance the night away :-) thanks honey xx

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  16. Same! There is ALWAYS something to do - that bloody tesco shop included - and I've only just started blog and veer between wanting to go full on at it and thinking that gradual is better as then I'm enjoying it. You're right - it's us that do this to ourselves. We should take our foot off our necks and see what happens. Probably all a lot more enjoyable!

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  17. Hello Emma, I have never read a blog before but somehow came across yours last night. V enjoyable, true to live. A non alcoholic 'pick me up'. ...... I will now attempt to post this. Second time:)

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