Stretched too thinly

This week I’ve been stretched too thinly and it’s making me feel quite down. It’s not that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, because that would suggest I had some choice in the matter. I’ve just had a massive great load of responsibilities heaped on my plate and I’ve had no choice but to gobble it all up.

For starters, there’s work. We are short-staffed and we have a lot on. It’s kind of fun, it leads to hysteria in the office, but it’s stressful and not sustainable. Thank goodness we will have reinforcements back in the office and raring to go next week.

On Monday after work I went to a talk at school by the headteacher of one of the secondary schools I am considering for my son. I was accompanied by not one, but three, hot, sweaty, restless children.

On Tuesday we heard that our school was to be inspected by OFSTED this week and on Tuesday night I got an urgent call from my chair of governors. Would I be prepared to meet the inspectors? Of course I would, it was an honour, but also a challenge. And there was a 68 page document to read to make sure I would know what I was talking about. After my dance lesson on Tuesday night I read until my eyes ached – 34 pages down, 34 still to go.

On Wednesday straight after work I had a catch-up meeting with my headteacher, chair of governors and another governor ahead of my OFSTED meeting. Then it was straight to an open evening at our first choice secondary school – me, my husband and number 1 son. At least we were able to leave the other two behind. Then it was home to put him to bed and read the remaining 34 pages of my document.

Thursdays and Fridays are the days I recharge my batteries. Not rest days as such, but I get all the big washing done – the sheets and towels – and do two loads of clothes rather than one to take the pressure off the rest of the week. I do the hoovering, catch up on governor work and have my legs waxed, go to the doctor’s, whatever needs doing. I also go running, my relaxation, my exercise, my peace. Having this time to myself takes the pressure off the rest of the family because I don’t have to be doing these jobs when everyone else is round.

Earlier in the week, when OFSTED wasn’t even in the picture, I’d been asked by my son’s teacher if I wouldn’t mind, in my capacity as literacy governor, taking a small group of Year 6 girls to an able writers’ workshop. Of course I wouldn’t mind. Again, it was an honour. So I had to reschedule my leg waxing, so what?!

So on Thursday morning it was off to able writers. No time for running. Or hoovering. I managed to change two out of the four beds. In the evening there was the small matter of a couple of shorter documents to read for my OFSTED meeting.

9am Friday. OFSTED meeting. It was no walk in the park. I kept looking at the clock. I’ll still be able to go running. OK, I won’t be able to go running, but I should still be able to get the hoovering done before my eye test. OK, no running, no hoovering.

So it’s straight to town for my eye test followed by my rescheduled leg wax. My waxing lady is just back from holiday and has A LOT to talk about. When she has a lot to talk about I get more waxed, but I’m there for an hour or more rather than 40 minutes. Maybe I can just hoover downstairs before I pick the kids up from school. Maybe not.

At 5.30pm I am putting the sheets back on the boys’ beds while simultaneously cooking their tea. The carpet is still un-hoovered and the clock is ticking. How little can I get away with? Just the hall, lounge and dining room maybe?

My husband is under huge pressure at work right now. He has two modes – very busy and ridiculously busy. He’s in ridiculous mode at the moment. With the econonmy looking pretty shit (technical term), his clients want more for their money and he’s having to work even harder. The last thing he wants when he gets home is to see a dirty, untidy house. He thinks I shouldn’t be giving so much of my time away for nothing and should put the family first.

I am putting the family first, but sometimes things get in the way and try to stop me. This is one of those weeks.

You may think I can relax at the weekend, but I can’t, because, actually weekends aren’t relaxing. My relaxation time is Thursday and Friday. Weekends are completely dominated by my boys’ sporting activities, with me desperately trying to get them to fit a bit of homework in around them. Not relaxing at all.

So far on the agenda for next week I only have two secondary open evenings, but who knows what else may crop up between now and then. Will I be stretched too thinly yet again?

Author: Sarah Mummy

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