Do you ever feel like life is one big merry-go-round? Like the day doesn't have enough hours in it to do all of the things needed?
I realised something recently. I tend to spend most of my time focusing on one thing - perfection. Trying to be a perfect mum, employee, friend, sister, daughter, wife. Lying awake in bed through to the early hours, mentally ticking off tasks from my never ending 'to do' list. Busy busy, busy...
The seemingly new found trend and glorification of busy is a worrying one. It almost feels like one big grown up game of Top Trumps. Who can be the busiest? Who can be that mythical, perfect human being whilst the majority of us secretly feel like we're failing at this adult malarkey?
My chaotic lifestyle caught up with me last year when I was admitted to hospital with pyelonephritis. I'd been feeling generally run down for a while and after work one Friday night, I ended up at my local walk-in a centre with excruciating pains. The nurse sent me to the hospital where I was taken to a ward, given IV antibiotics, painkillers, fluids and told I must rest. Luckily, I was on the mend soon enough but this definitely gave me food for thought. My first reaction when I realised I was poorly was: "But I can't be ill! Not me. What about the kids? The house? Work?"
I looked at my circumstances in closer detail. A whirlwind of a full-time job, commuting, raising 2 daughters, running a home, a relationship, a social life and general grown up responsibilities. Just like most other people. So why was I struggling? Why do I feel that my efforts are never quite enough along with an undertone of constant guilt? Then I had a bit of a revelation. All of this pressure was coming from one person. Me.
Over the years, I have subconsciously been setting myself goals and standards that are near impossible to reach. To become the perfect mother who has endless patience and time for her children. To be a model employee and work full time whilst studying. To be the life and soul of the party. To have an immaculate home and cook nutritious meals every day. To keep in touch with friends and family on a daily basis and be there whenever they needed a shoulder to cry on.
My reality? I lose my temper. I don't spend as much time doing homework or baking with my girls as maybe I should. I am knackered most evenings after work and don't function for the first hour or two at my desk without a hearty dose of coffee. When I socialise, I worry. I am an introvert to the core and this can come across as being uninterested and ignorant. Unfamiliar faces and new places scare me sometimes. The irony is that I love being around people and making friends but I can be utterly crap at small talk. I make egg on toast or pizza for tea sometimes as I simply cannot be bothered cooking for a family then spending the night cleaning up. I am terrible at replying to text messages and sticking to plans. I love my friends and family so much and know I should be better at maintaining contact.
I think this actually just means that I am human. I'm finally learning to accept that it's ok if I leave the chores and do nothing one evening. That I don't have to book up every hour of my day and that it is absolutely ok to say that I need some down time alone on occasion without feeling selfish. The kids won't care if I haven't hoovered this week but they will remember the time I took to have that movie night on the sofa with them or the days out together. And well, that's all that really matters in the end isn't it?
You can read more ramblings over at That British Betty Blog.