I've had a pretty good day today. Nothing fantastically fabulous, just one of those quiet, thoughtful, pottering kind of days where things have felt unusually calm. In recent days, weeks, months, I confess I've felt like I've not been coping very well. This is quite the Confession! I try not to show it to anyone (and I don't even admit it to myself very often), yet some days I honestly do think that the constant juggling act of life with young children is near impossible to keep up. There is never enough time or energy to keep all the balls in the air.
Today I had a bit of an epiphany. I saw my juggling balls tumble to the ground, and I chose to only pick up the ones that were absolutely essential to the present moment in time. Leave the others. It's ok. It's ok if sometimes life feels messy, if there are jobs and emails and stuff that has to wait. It's ok if it all seems like a complete shambles.
So today, the juggling balls suddenly became simple.
Clean clothes, good home cooked food, and attentive mothering. Forget the rest for now. Let it be.
So I pegged clean laundry out on the line and loved looking at my assortment of thrifted clothes. I loved seeing my rosy summer pyjamas. I loved that Little B had a handful of pegs and pegged them to the bottom of things.
I gazed at my forlorn back yard, oh it's such a mess. It looks so shabby. Mid June, and my pots are still full of dead things and weeds. Sigh. I feel so guilty for not having time to see to it out here, but today, I tried hard to knock the guilt back and let it be.
Yes, it's a mess, and no, there is nothing much growing out here yet. But I am being an Attentive Mother and Little B is having fun out here. He doesn't care if there are flowers or weeds. I fill that big pink trug with warm water and he is happy filling up an old water pistol and squirting my plants.
Whilst Little B is pottering in the back yard, I see to Food. I put butchers sausages in the oven to cook, and I prepare a tray of vegetables to roast with garlic, rosemary and olive oil. Trying to keep one step ahead, trying to ensure that my after-school time is a little less frantic.
Little B has now moved to the front garden. Our street is very quiet during the day, but at 3 years old I don't feel happy about him being out there on his own just yet. So I make coffee and go and sit on the step next to the gorgeously frothy green Alchemilla to watch over him.
I fetch a blanket and cushions and settle down for some chatter with my Little B. He loves to talk. He has some funny obsessions at the moment :: numbers of any sort, CCTV cameras, Fire Exit signs. Well signs in general actually, he is always wanting to know what signs say and what they mean. And the latest thing :: the Human Body. We went to the library on Friday specifically to find a book about the Human Body so that I could try to help answer his constant questions. We look at this book about fifty times a day.
My mind wanders slightly and I start fretting about my garden again. I need to get flowers. How? Where from? How will I carry them home? Bags? Boxes? When can I possibly squeeeeeze plant-buying into my day?
I remember I have some sweet pea seedlings growing in the kitchen, so I go to water them and check on them as they are the only attempt I have made this year to garden. They look ok, but they are a bit small. I wonder briefly whether to declare 2013 the year of No Plants and brazen it out.
Back inside and I am wandering around, waiting for food to finish cooking, keeping a watchful eye on Little B. He is talking to the guinea pigs. I look around me. Everything feels drab and messy and uncared for. I am fretting again. I am trying to pick up those juggling balls again.
I wish some days I could do what Little B does and just settle on the sofa under a blanket, close my eyes and drift off to sleep. Give in to the tiredness. Wouldn't that be something?