Notes to self, plus two (and the need for red shoes) posed the question what could we do today to make life easier?
Today was in theory a gift of a day. DH was back from a trip to Belfast and had decided to have a couple of days at home to play with the kids, there was no need to help get the kids up, no need to drive them anywhere before heading to work and also no school run traffic.
So given that in theory life was sweet and I had no scheduled meetings at work why did this morning feel as stressful as any other? My problem is that I set myself arbitrary targets and go nuts when I can’t meet them – I have spent mornings close to tears because it’s past ten to eight and the kids aren’t wearing shoes, let alone strapped into the car. I turn into a terrifying Redcoat/terminator figure, fixed smile, grim sense of determination, chivvying them along for England in a jolly but firm “you will comply” voice.
When things are going well I set another more stretching target.
This is causing me a lot of trouble.
For example, this morning I wanted to be out of the house by 7:30 and in the office by 8:00 – no reason other than I thought I could manage it. Ciaran spent the night in our bed being poorly and waking frequently, displacing his poor Dad and depriving me of some zip by 6:30. Ben then woke up for a poo and needed to be settled back down with a “big cuddle”. I wasted precious time when I could have been eating or driving by repeatedly telling DH to hurry up and get out the bed where he was cuddling both boys (insisting that they needed to eat breakfast immediately as it was gone 7:15, despite the fact all three were comfy and not complaining of hunger until I mentioned the B word).
When DH finally came downstairs I didn’t have the time to get up, go back to the kitchen and make him a coffee as I was already running late (it was only 7:35!) and I practically sprinted out of the house yelling a quick goodbye at the kids.
I’m as bad at work. People hate meeting deadlines, so I’ve made the deadlines earlier and started enforcing them harder! Today I’ve upset one director who worked all weekend to finish her committee reports only to find that as another hadn’t finished I grudgingly agreed at lunchtime to extend the report deadline to the end of the week.
Part of my problem is upbringing. I come from a prompt family and as a student insisted on arriving outside the lecture theatre ten minutes early. If I only had fifteen minutes to cross the campus I had palpitations and sent geese and ducks flying into the lake as I speed walked across the campus. This has undoubtably been made worst by marrying into a family that are very laid back about lateness as I have to allow extra time in my deadlines and chivvy even more. My neuroses have rubbed off on DH and he now hates being late (except when he wakes up and decides that his bed is too comfortable).
Add to this working in a field where deadlines are absolute and statutory. For years I negotiated with the admissions team and schools over deadlines and explained to parents that yes they could submit evidence at any time, but if they didn’t give me three working days there would probably be an adjournment and none of us wanted that. Enforcing deadlines for a living has made them even more important in my own life.
So what can I do… What I need to do is learn to let go a little. Not so much that I am sending out illegal late papers (although that could be an adrenaline rush) but just enough to recognise that if I don’t have a meeting about to start there is no need to turn into a terrifying Redcoat.
Now come on. It’s getting late and I’ve only had a small gin and tonic, surely by now I should be on my second?