Tag Archives: daily grind

So many plates, I could have joined the circus

Sometimes the things you read on Facebook catch you unawares. I read this really powerful article yesterday about how women are struggling to get everything done in a world that demands so much of us. It expressed so well how I’ve been feeling over the last few months and mirrors the conversations I’ve had with so many female friends struggling with their daily grind.

I’m grateful that my friends and I can talk honestly about how we feel, but I know there are probably things we don’t share with one another – from fear of being judged, being embarrassed, not wanting to articulate something so we have to actually acknowledge it and so on…

I am someone who is always on the go, usually running late from trying to squeeze one last job in, constantly thinking, worrying about everything, and planning months in advance to make sure I don’t drop any of the million plates I’m juggling. I constantly worry about getting everything done, getting everything right and set ridiculous goals for myself. I very rarely drop these plates, but if I do, I spend a ridiculous amount of time feeling guilty – usually no-one is impacted but me!

I work 4 days a week to ensure me and my family have money to survive, I moved in with my Grandma last year to take some financial pressure off myself when my marriage ended, which means I now have a 1.5 hour commute to do the school run, before my work day even starts. I have two disabled children who have medical/physical appointments a few times a month – doubled because there are two of them and I can’t take them together since they distract each other so much. It would be comical if we weren’t trying to achieve such important life milestones that they are taking longer to reach (or inchstones as our Williams Syndrome family like to call them).

I am blessed to have such a wonderful team of specialists looking after them – Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language, the Health Visiting Team, Advisory Teaching Service, Paediatricians, Cardiology, Orthoptics, SENCos and their amazing childminders and nursery staff – all setting goals for them to achieve, which we are supposed to work on at home each week, when I’ve finished my 32 hours at work, done the 1.5 hour school run, cooked a healthy meal from scratch, exercised, read a book, spent time with my partner, helped Grandma around the house, done the food shopping, arranged some more appointments and caught up with friends. That’s quite a lot to squeeze into a day! Oh yes, and I was supposed to fit sleep in somewhere.

And then there’s my 6-year-old son, who is such an amazing big brother to the twins. He has learnt quickly that he often has to wait if he needs something because the twins can’t do anything for themselves at 4 years old; that it is quicker to do things himself and has turned into an independent young man who gets himself ready every morning; he’s learnt that the twins are constantly up to mischief and he has to be my ally to make sure we don’t wreck Grandma’s house beyond repair; who is sometimes angry at the world and can’t articulate his frustrations without shouting and screaming because he doesn’t know how; who is missing out on things that single children have because I have to split my time across all three and two of them have additional needs.

And then there is my partner – he leaves the house at 5:30am every day and works 15+ hour days, sometimes getting just a few hours sleep. I want to make sure he feels supported and loved, so we can enjoy this crazy life together – to make sure that we not only last amongst all our other pulls and stresses, but we grow and thrive too.

And then there is my travels – the little bug that sits constantly in my blood. I’ve learnt that having time to do actually do one of my true passions in life and sharing this quality time with my partner is extremely important to my happiness. There is the guilt of spending money when I think I should be saving, but then comes the acknowledgement that if I don’t switch my brain off for a few days every couple of months, I am actually going to implode on myself and have a mental breakdown.

I worry what would happen if I wasn’t here to do all of these things and then I remind myself that I wouldn’t be here to worry about that, so that’s one less thing on my list of things to worry about.

After each week that we survive, there is the niggle that tells me I should be grateful for my life – and believe me, I am so grateful for the many blessings I have. I know things could be worse and I know we have things so much better than a lot of people – but just sometimes, I wish it wouldn’t feel like a constant uphill climb. I know I’m not alone – it seems a common conversation these days – and I know sometimes, it is me that needs to put some of the plates down and save them for another time.

I want us women to keep talking about how we are, to keep helping and supporting one another and not putting others down if their choices in this demanding world are different from ours.

Sometimes all we need to hear from each other, is that we are doing a good job.

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New year, new me! I’m afraid not…

Well 2015 has been harsh to us.  But let’s stay positive – I’m finishing the year knowing how truly resilient I am – how strong and determined I can be.

Everyone is thinking about new year’s resolutions – “I’m going to do things differently next year, a new me!” Well unfortunately, you will still be the same person when you wake up tomorrow, with the same likes, weaknesses and so on… I’m not trying to be negative or put you in a bad mood, but trying to make you think slightly differently if there are things you want to achieve or do differently in 2016.

I’m the same person I was in 2014 but life has demanded more of me this year, challenged me to up my game.  I still have my weaknesses (chocolate and wine!) but I have also worked out what my priorities are and what is realistic because I’ve had to – a person can only do so much in a day.  So I’m not going into 2016 thinking life will be any different – the twins will still keep me up at night and life will still be chaotic – BUT there are things I want to change and achieve and I want to keep evolving as a person.  One example for you is that I want to stop eating so much chocolate, but I’m not going to stop eating it all together because that’s not realistic and it won’t make me happy!  But the reason and purpose behind wanting to change that element of my life is because we all know sugar is bad for us and I would like to be healthier, in order to help achieve the body shape I want.

So what do you want to achieve or change in 2016?  Why?  What is the reason?  You must find your purpose if you want to stay focused and must really want what you are trying to achieve not just think it is the right thing to do.  If you don’t believe in the purpose or actually really want it, why try?  It’s not enough to say I’m going to reduce my sugar intake because I know it’s bad for me, but to have the purpose of trimming up the fat on my body and being happy with the way I look.

And is your goal realistic?  I’m not cutting down on chocolate to lose weight as I’m not sure that is realistic – instead cutting out some of the sugar in my diet will help aid me in toning up, in combination with working out.  If you want to go to the gym four times a week but only managed once a week this year, then that isn’t realistic for you – either because the motivation or purpose isn’t there for you or because life puts different demands on you that aren’t going to make this possible no matter how motivated you are.  Maybe aim for twice a week with one run or workout at home?  Or just accept that going to the gym isn’t for you and find something that is.  When you plan to be realistic with real purpose behind it, you will find change much more achievable.

And remember – this is life!  It doesn’t slow down and it will throw challenges at you to make you question yourself and that’s when you will wobble and find those excuses – ‘I’m too tired today’, ‘I’ve had a stressful day’, ‘I feel down today’…  But believing in your purpose means you can be strong in those moments and when you can do that, those small changes become part of your daily life.  They don’t become the added extras or things we do just when we can be bothered or if we’re having a good day.  Working out becomes part of you; eating healthily becomes what you do, not what you think you should do; making more time for family/friends/whoever becomes part of your week, not something you plan to do next week.

So if you want to make tomorrow different then do it!  But don’t use a new year as the reason, use a new day.  Be better tomorrow than you were today IF you have a reason to be.  Find your reason why and be realistic – small changes with purpose and you will find change is possible.  And then we can achieve anything!

Remember that today is the youngest you will ever be #noexcuses

Good luck and happy new year!

#noexcuses

Most of us are winding down now, looking forward to Christmas, to getting some rest and eating and drinking lots. Chris and I may be strange, but we are looking forward to having chance to work out more! (We will be eating and drinking too!)

I don’t really believe in new year’s resolutions – too much pressure and if you want to do something, do it now! I wanted to write a post for those people who are in need of some motivation…

I am the person who could have all the excuses in the world not to exercise and not to be ‘in shape’. I have a long list of excuses and I could choose many of them on any day – I’ll share just a few:

* For the last 18 months, I am surviving on 4-7 hours of broken sleep
* Last year, I had a c-section – which I’m still recovering from
* I get pelvic pain from a forceps delivery in 2012, which locked the SI joint in my pelvis
* I have pain in my hands with certain movements because of the excess fluid following my twin pregnancy
* I regularly have back and shoulder pain from lugging three children around!
* I have no time to go to the gym because my husband works late most days and I have to be home with the kids
* I have no money to pay for the gym because I pay for three lots of childcare!

I could go on, but I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I refuse to let these excuses define who I am. I generally feel exhausted, I ache when I wake up and my husband is rarely home to help with bedtime so I have about 2 hours every evening to do everything a responsible parent needs to (how boring…) and anything that I would like to do when I’m finished with that!

But here’s the thing – I am in the best shape of my life. I am motivated to exercise because I want a better and longer life for me and my family.  We can always make our excuses but the only excuse we really have is ourselves.

So how do I fit in exercise with no time, without leaving the house, with no kit and that doesn’t hurt my battered body?!  I want you to check out http://www.thezuu.com.au and find The Zuu workouts on Youtube.  It is movements that anyone can do, you only need minutes, not hours and you can do it from the comfort of your house!  I’m not being paid to write this, these workouts have changed things for me.  I can workout in the living room when I’ve put the kids to bed, I don’t need any kit, to pay anything and I don’t need to spend hours when I only have precious minutes.

So what excuse did you have today?  Put it aside – believe that you are worth more and that you can do more.

#noexcuses

ps. If you want any help with workouts, please get in touch with me/my husband!

I’m making it…

Chris went away on a work trip to Las Vegas last week (yes without me) – I had to survive six days (4 working) and five over nighters with the kids (2 who still get up in the night).  I was slightly dreading it, but was mostly in denial that it was actually happening until he walked out of the door with his suitcase.  I looked at the kids, they looked at me…oh crap it’s happening.  And then I took them all to my parents house…

But six days later, everything was under control and surprisingly I could still function. My brain did feel like it was going to explode at any minute with all the things I had to remember but thankfully I held it together.

My life is pretty hectic day to day and each evening as I go to bed, I generally feel quite pleased that I’ve made it through another day. But surviving on my own with the kids took it to another level – and yes I did buy myself some presents to celebrate.

So this one is for the single mums – you have the toughest job in the world. Sometimes we need to go through tough times, to realise just how tough we are too. I am realising with each week that goes by, just how strong I am – don’t get me wrong, I have my moments when I say ‘I can’t do this’ and I almost break, then Chris, my family, my friends give me encouragement or step in to give me a break and I re-charge. Weeks like this make me realise that I can achieve anything! But no-one can do everything, all of the time, on their own, with no support.

A song came on in the car this week, which I wanted to share – if you’re having a tough week, have a listen to it! It’s called Beautiful Flower by India Arie:

Here’s to making it…

‘This is a song for every girl who’s, ever been through, something she thought she couldn’t make it through.

I sing these words because I was that girl too, wanting something better than this.  But who do I turn to?

Now we’re moving from the darkness into the light, this is the defining moment of our lives…

Cause you’re beautiful like a flower, more valuable than a diamond.

You are powerful like a fire, you can heal the world with your mind.

There is nothing in the world that you cannot do, when you believe in you, who are beautiful.

Yeah you, who are brilliant,

Yeah you, who are powerful,

Yeah you, who are resilient.

Yeah you, this song is for you, you are brilliant.’

Split personality

I’m starting to feel like I have a split personality – I don’t mean to joke about a serious disorder, merely that I’m feeling like I am three different people. When I’m with the kids, I’m ‘Mummy’ – rushing around, pandering to the needs of my three energetic boys – I rarely sit down and feel like I’m constantly feeding/preparing food for at least one of them.

When I’m at work, I’m Ceris – Fundraising Manager for Macmillan – and I take my role very seriously! I’m a professional and want to do a fantastic job and somehow this means that I don’t act like a mum, if that makes any sense. I am calm and I sit still and drink hot coffee. I try to be neat and tidy and professionally dressed, avoiding grubby hands as best I can before I leave the house and hiding dribble/bogey stains that I can’t avoid!

Then there is Ceris with my friends, who is neither of the above. Someone who tries to be young, free and carefree like ‘the old days’ and fails terribly. The great things is, my best friends are trying to do the same things so I’m in good company!

It’s quite exhausting trying to fulfil all these roles and remembering who I’m supposed to be each day, especially when you have to fulfil three roles in a day – I need a ten minute change over between each one to get into character… But playing these roles (I say playing, it’s very serious), you get to learn more about yourself and develop your character. Being a mum, you are taught about love, patience, sacrifice, heartbreak, real, true hard-work, resilience, strength. Being a working mum, in a job I love, you learn to appreciate working in a way you never could before, learn how work is an escape, an excuse to use your brain again and learn how it feels to be valued in a different way from ‘mum value’. And only having time for your real, true friends (however little or often I see/speak to you!) means you appreciate them so much more, you value the time you have together and you tell them how much they mean to you. You become more giving in your relationship because you have found true value in your friendship.

Being all these different Ceris’ may be exhausting – this last year has truly worn me out – but it’s when life asks so much of you, that you can get so much back.

Progress

We are being teased by progress… Chris and I have tried to be optimistic over the last 11 months, that we will start to make progress with the twins and that they will finally start to sleep through the night – it’s hard to stay optimistic for this long but we are clinging onto hope!

We’ve had some good nights, not many, but some – Ruben is sleeping all night in his cot now which may not sound like a big deal, but the mums and dads reading this will know how good this feels! He’s not sleeping through, but we’re nearly there. Finn is a different beast entirely – he just likes it in our bed and likes to chat in the middle of the night…

We are getting to the stage where things are starting to change from the baby phase to the toddler phase and it’s so hard not to try and rush them. They are still so tiny (on the 0.4th percentile for those that know what that is) so everything is taking longer, which is testing my patience no end! I want rid of the massive baby items cluttering up our home, and no I won’t miss these things when they are gone! Try tripping over two car seats, two bouncer chairs, two jumperoos and two highchairs every day and washing three million bibs!

Chris and I had a day off together last weekend and we had chance to talk and reflect over the last year. It’s definitely been a whirlwind and I think honestly that we are still both in shock! We both have a ‘just get on with it’ attitude, which is good, but is also hard because we never actually talk about how we are – we’re too busy with the daily tasks that come with being parents of three children. I had a bit of a meltdown last week, a combination of factors – being exhausted, trying to get too much done around the house, money worries, feeling emotional about my best friend getting married last weekend, and the feeling of making progress but not quite – and I think it made me reflect on what has actually happened over the last few years and think about what life is going to be like for the next few. Since Chris and I met, we have had something major happen every year – getting engaged, getting married and moving to London, getting pregnant with our first child, having our first child, buying our first home, having twins, and me starting a new job this year. All of these things were things I had wanted and planned for and now I am here, life is harder than I ever imagined! That is a lot to process and I am now at the point where I haven’t planned for what’s next – for someone who plans everything, this is a hard place to be!

When you are in survival mode, which we have been in for a year now, it’s hard to think about anything other than getting through the day. Now, I’ve been back at work for three months and so we have to think about more than just today – we have to plan for the week and month ahead and who would have thought how complicated childcare can be! Especially when Chris and I have nights away with work – that’s interesting when no-one else can fit all three children in their car… But aside from the ‘daily grind’ as we call it, surely there is more to life than that? I do tend to think about things too much, which I get from my mother, and I’m definitely in reflection mode this month – I think because we are heading towards the twins first birthday in 2 weeks time (where has that time gone?!) and also because we preparing for their next stage, both of which I am very relieved about! I’m trying to stay patient but I think I am running on empty now – any tips on how to give that a boost, let me know!

So I’ve made it through another week, which means we are another week closer to life getting easier in some ways and harder in others (crawling twins and a 3 year old who climbs on everything – figure that one out) and we are another week closer to being able to think about the next few years and what we want to achieve in those – always being hopeful that our major events are good ones and always being optimistic that tonight, we might actually get some sleep…

I WANT TO WEAR MY PYJAMAS!!!

I had a very stressful morning this morning. Max is going through a phase at the moment where he wants to wear his pyjamas all day, every day. On the weekends, I don’t really have a problem with it, but sending him out into the world, I don’t want people to think we are completely weird. Secondly, we are trying to potty train him, which is going really well but of course there are accidents, like the number two accident this morning…

The trouble with wearing pyjamas is we have 5 sets. This usually would be plenty (I only have 2!) but when he is insisting on wearing them all the time, spilling food on them and weeing in them, we soon don’t have anything for him to actually wear at bed time… oh more washing for me, as if I didn’t have enough already.

So the mornings usually run like this:

Me: ‘Max, the twins are dressed now – I’m going to get dressed and then I’m going to get you dressed okay?’ (plenty of warning, fully prepared).
Max: No answer, continues watching the ipad although I know he has heard me.

Ten minutes later
Me: ‘Right Max, time to get dressed now’, she says firmly and encouragingly.
Max: ‘I don’t want to get dressed’. (oh joy, here we go – which persuasive argument shall I use this time?)
Me: ‘But we have to get dressed because we’re going to Emma’s’, (his child-minder).
Max: ‘I don’t want to go to Emma’s’.
Me: ‘But you love going to Emma’s, all your friends are there.’ (Wait a minute, I’m being distracted, bring it back to topic).
‘Come on then, which t-shirt are you going to choose today? What about your spiderman one?!’, I say with as much excitement as I can muster at 8am.
Max: ‘No’, he says firmly – it seems to work when she does it, he thinks, so I’ll try it.
Me: ‘Yes, it’s time to get dressed’, as I subtly start dragging him to his room.
Max: (Okay that didn’t work, I’ll try a tantrum) ‘I DON’T WANT TO GET DRESSED’, he shouts and starts to cry.
Me: ‘We need to put clothes on to go outside’.
Max: ‘No we don’t’.
Me: ‘Yes we do’.
Max: ‘No we don’t’
Me: ‘Yes we do’. This could take a while…
Hold on a minute, Max thinks, she’s actually managed to get my pyjamas off – maybe if I kick my legs and punch my t-shirt, that might hold her off for a bit.
Me: This is like wrestling with an octopus, how is he so strong? He’s so small but he’s winning – help!
‘Max, do you know I’ve only had 6 hours of broken sleep and I only have 5 minutes until all 4 of us have to be out of the house? I don’t have time for this!!’ Maybe this explanation will help?
Max: ‘I WANT TO WEAR MY PYJAMAS’, he screams as his naked bottom runs away from me.

I crumple in defeat, obviously when he has left the room and can’t see me. Okay – prepare your argument in preparation for tomorrow.
Me: ‘Right, Max, you can wear your pyjamas to Emma’s today.’ He stops yelling and looks at me to check if I’m being serious. ‘However, tomorrow you will have to wear your clothes and not your pyjamas – deal?’
Max: ‘Yes Mummy’, he says as he pulls on his pyjamas triumphantly.

Yeah right, who am I kidding? We will have the same battle tomorrow. Who do these toddlers learn their techniques from?

If you see me in the street or at the supermarket and Max is in his pyjamas, don’t blame me – I had nothing to do with it…

p.s. please like my new Facebook blog page! https://www.facebook.com/cerisaka