Overwhelmed and underperforming

I feel a bit of a cheat. My last blog obviously gave the impression I was some sort of smiling Stepford wife, happily baking and whipping up a trifle whilst knocking the oven door shut with my hip, loaf cooking and emitting Nigella warm and cosy smells into the kitchen, while the children play happily at my feet, all Walton-like and wholesome.

Yes, indeed, our house has turned into a hotel for the foreseeable future. And yes, I am prone to the odd bit of home baking. Last week I even skinned a salmon (won’t be doing that again). Waltons, however, we are not. There are no sweet serenades at the end of the evening, as we sing Goodnight to each other through the walls. “Goodnight Johnboy” is now a rather a high pitched “GO TO BED” as I collapse onto the sofa to write the 150 Christmas cards I’ve just made on the computer. Yesterday I actually (really, actually) thought I was going to have a heart attack as I raced from a meeting with Poppy under one arm (try trying to look like a professional with your toddler in tow because the childminder you have for a whole 3 hours a week cancelled), and her lunch under the other as I had to feed her in the car on the way to pick up Daisy who I was late for and had to call another mother to hold onto her for me till I got there, so that I could put Poppy to sleep as soon as we got home, so I could make the mince pies for the freezer, so I could get Poppy up and Daisy and I out to the shopping centre to get all the stuff I need for this weekend’s visitors, and back in time to give them their tea so I could get the presents wrapped and the lists done for four days of Xmas meals around Christmas so I could order the turkey and ham today and get the cards printed so I could write them today so I can post them tomorrow (50 done, 100 to go), so I could change the sheets because my mum was down last night and my father-in-law is over tomorrow and we only have one set, and then Daisy wet the bed last night at 3am and I had to get up and change it and so I had to get the waterproof sheet dried to go back on the bed tonight, and shit, I haven’t hovered, but I might have time tomorrow after I’ve dropped Daisy to school and taken Poppy to ClapHandies and walked home and made the dessert for dinner before getting Daisy up and taking her to dance class at 4.30pm on a Friday afternoon at the other end of town but she likes it and all her old friends are there from our old house so we go there instead of the one down the road with no friends and then get back about 6.30pm and try and feed, bath and TV them before 7pm, when I am supposed to then get my novel out and get inspired and write for 3 hours, but usually only manage the sofa and a box of Black Magic. Did i mention I shout a lot?

Can someone please tell me why I can’t make life easier for myself? Why can’t I just go to the bloody shops and buy a packet of biscuits? Why can I not relax and enjoy the moment? Today, I took my mum and the two girls to the National Concert Hall to watch the Snowman, while the orchestra play the score live and a choir sings. It was stunning and beautiful and special. And I almost didn’t enjoy it because I was so stressed about the fact Poppy didn’t sleep in the car on the way, and my well-planned, well-ordered day was at risk of falling apart. Thankfully at one point, I rested my head on my mum’s shoulder as Daisy sat mesmerised holding my hand, and Poppy nestled into my chest and I took a deep breath. It was a good moment. Why can’t I take more deep breaths? Is it just me? I don’t think so…. Why are we so pulled apart from every day living? Why is motherhood so hard? When am I going to be able to take a deep breath, and when oh when did it all get so bloody complicated? Even the girls are finding Christmas too much! I think all I want from Santa is a day off.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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6 Responses to Overwhelmed and underperforming

  1. Kate says:

    Oh – just reading your post made me feel frantic. I whirl around like this too (although am not at the stage of trying to look like a writer – I wish) and was only wondering today why I spend my time feeling so fraught considering that the world won't end if I don't make my own bloody pesto. Life's too short – and after my recent experience I'm amazed and fascinated to find that I still don't live my life in a calm and serene way. I still sweat the small stuff! Why? Am I crazy?


  2. foodie mummy says:

    Why is it that we, mummies, feel like we need to be Superwoman? Do visitors really expect that much of us? I can so relate to what you wrote. We have had quite a few visitors the past few months and it can be very overwhelming especially when they also expect you to show them the sights with 2 kids in tow. However, I think we are the ones putting most of the pressure on ourselves.. we all need to slow down!!


  3. swedafrican says:

    It's true. Why do modern mums feel that we have to be everything? Do everything perfectly and not make use of what is available to save us time? Felt exhausted after reading your post. Poor thing. Lie down & have your mum bring you a cup of tea!


  4. cath c says:

    don't worry, you're doing a wonderful job, and everyone who visits will appreciate the homebaked goods, and you're orchestrating seeing your family not having to travelled to them, which is the extraordinarily mile we go during the holidays but are skipping this year.

    so relax, the book will still be there after new year's, when all of this quiets down. hang in there, it's a mere 2 weeks til the end is in sight. hug everyone, know it doesn't have to be perfect and schedule a take out night during the festivities galore. any visiting kids will esp appreciate it.


  5. Sounds exhausting.
    I am ordering you to go down to the shops and buy a packet of buscuits!


  6. Mummy mania says:

    thanks everyone…Grandad arrived yesteryda for a night (a once a year event) and we went out for dinner instead of me cooking. I'm learning!


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