The weight of responsibility

I have a lot on my plate – three kids, a part-time job, a house to run with all that it entails (washing, cooking, shopping, cleaning), a long list of extra-curricular activities (Scouts, Cubs, ballet, swimming lessons, street dance, Rainbows, rugby and football), plus being a school governor and helping out at school and a husband who works long hours.

It’s a lot to juggle, but most of the time it’s OK. But then something else comes along and it all gets a bit much.Right now, it feels like everything is out of my hands. It’s little stuff, but on top of the regular stuff, it’s tipping me over the edge.

On Sunday morning, my eldest had an important away rugby game, while my younger son had training at home. With a week until my half marathon, I needed to fit in a 12 mile run. I also needed to get my younger son to rugby for 10am. So I got up at 5.30 to go running. Yes, FIVE THIRTY. On a SUNDAY.

To add insult to injury, after torrential rainfall on an already sodden pitch, my eldest’s game was called off. I could have had an extra hour in bed and Daddy could have been saved an hour of driving.

Our swimming pool’s system for booking lessons is out of the ark. You stand and you QUEUE with all the other hundreds of parents desperate to get their little darlings into the right class. This used to happen on a Monday morning and I would join the queue in 30th place at 6.45am. People must have moaned about this (I can’t imagine why!) so, rather than book online, they switched it to Sunday afternoon bookings. Hooray! What a great way to spend my precious weekends. So I arrived half an hour before booking was due to start and joined the queue in approximately 100th place, level with the back of the adjoining building. To say I felt like crying would be an understatement.

Two hours later, I got to book my daughter’s lesson and, needless to say, the lesson I wanted was no longer available. Two whole hours wasted, two hours of my life I wouldn’t get back. The same amount of time I had spent running 12 miles that day. The same amount of time I’d spent watching my son’s rugby that day.

On Wednesday there’s an urgent school governors’ meeting at 6pm. 6pm on a Wednesday (or any other day of the week) is not a good time for me as my husband isn’t home from work. I had suggested other times, but everyone has different priorities and responsibilities, and obviously this time worked for more people. With sufficient warning, I can arrange for my husband to come home early or for my parents to have the kids, but not this time. So I’m not going. I don’t like to miss meetings and I feel bad, but it’s out of my hands.

Right now it feels like my whole life is out of my hands, like it’s being controlled by someone who is having a laugh at my expense to see how far they can stretch me before I break.

And so to Thursday, the final nail in my poor worn out coffin. I have a school governors’ meeting (yes, another one, on a different matter) at 1.30pm. This is fine.

But then I hear my eldest is finishing school at 12.30 that day. Oh, and we have a parents’ ‘evening’ at his school at 2.30. So I have to leave my son home alone while I’m at my meeting. I have to leave my meeting early, having missed one the previous day. My husband can’t go to parents’ evening because he’s at work. And I risk being late to pick my younger two up from school. What a flipping great time for a parents’ evening.

Right now I feel I am being crushed by the weight of responsibility of my three kids and our busy lives. Usually I’m in control, albeit clinging on by the tips of my fingers, but this week someone else is pulling the strings and I’m struggling to cope.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Oh my lovely, it sounds like a really hard week. What a bloody stupid booking system for swimming lessons.

    It sounds really trite, and I know it is easier said than done, but try to take things one step at a time. If you look too far ahead you will feel overwhelmed. You are doing an amazing job juggling it all.

    When I feel like this I put the timer on the oven clock for two minutes, and I sit down with a cuppa and for those two minutes I don’t move. I don’t answer the phone, or text, and I tell the children they have to amuse themselves until the beeper goes. (They quite like the whole watching it count down thing, but I know yours are older).

    Take it steady, we are all here for you when you need to sound off, and remember ONE THING AT A TIME. Hugs xx

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  2. Gosh, what an odd time to have parents evening, I ought it was always in the evenings so working pants could attend, and the time it is sounds daft for those with other kids to collect, which is a lot of parents!
    Our swimming lessons book at the lesson, during the last 2 weeks of the term, so you get a queue, but not as bad as yours!
    I am so relieved to be at home for a another year or two yet, I remember weeks like you describe when I was working pre-Syd. Mind you, even now I get things all happen at once, it seems to be the way of the world that I have weeks and weeks with nothing in particular, and then on a Tuesday in February there will be 3 places I must be at the same time!

    Good luck with your week! Xx

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  3. OMG WORKING PANTS!! Haha , I am always terrible typing on phone, but that is funny! Working parents of course! Xx

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  4. This sounds like me a few years ago. You need to try and slow down a bit. I know its not easy, but its worth it, if you could give something up to free up your time. Relaxation is so important for your health and stress levels. I know how hard it is though x

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  5. I’m always amazed at the amount you seem to have on your plate and the juggling you do to make sure everyone’s needs are met. You do an amazing job and if this week it all seems a bit much I’m not surprised and you know what it’s ok that you’re a little over whelmed by it all. I hope you get through as best you can and get a little break soon. I know when you get to the long distances in running it does take up a big chunk of time and that swimming thing just sounds outrageous.

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  6. Oh gosh that sounds like you’ve have an amazingly busy couple of weeks. I hope once all the parents evenings and the run out of the way it all feels a lot easier. Sending you hugs!

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  7. Thanks very much for all your lovely comments and support, everybody, I really appreciate them.
    I like the idea of the timer on the cooker, Dragonsfly – just a bit of space for you to clear your head and unwind. I might give that a go!
    The working pants made me laugh, Sonya! Your swimming booking system sounds far more sensible. We have that system if they stay in the own class, it’s only when they move up or you decide you want them to change times (and why would you?!) that you end up hanging out in the car park!
    You’re right about the running, Puffin. I love it, but I’m also ready for it to be over. It has the twin effects of taking up a big chunk of time I can’t really spare and making me physically tired and therefore less able to deal with minor stresses.
    You are right, Mama. I will be able to run less once I’ve done my half marathon and my school governor term is up in October. I have to decide if I want to stand again – and even if I do, I might not get elected!
    The good news is that it’s the Easter holidays next week and hopefully things will be a bit calmer!

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  8. That sounds a lot like my life at the moment along with a hideous amount of marking and planning along the way and add a few illnesses to the mix to just finish me off which is why I’m not blogging or doing social media much at the moment as there isn’t enough of me to go round. I think this is probably a bad week for you and at least it is only a few days until the Easter break. Give yourself a break if you can as the world won’t end if you do

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  9. Every now and again, my life spirals out of control like this and I wonder how I let it happen. I cope with it all most of the time and then something snaps, usually once every 3 months! My kids have an inset day this Friday -could so do without it!

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  10. Thanks, ladies 🙂 Your life has been really tough the last few weeks, Nikki – balancing parenting and a job with illness is definitely way too much.
    I don’t think we do let it happpen, Suzanne, it just happens! Discovered after writing this that younger two finish school at 1.30 on Friday. Agh!

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  11. I don’t envy you at all! Makes my moans seem silly in comparison – parent’s evenings in the middle of the afternoon?? What kind of nonsense is that!? I have been looking forward to when Mushroom starts school (he’s 2) thinking I would have more time (he’s only at nursery the days I work) but now am wondering if nursery is actually easier! We had our first parents evening the other day – at a very reasonable 6.15pm. Hope you’ve managed to get some rest since writing this post!

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  12. Thanks very much. Sadly this is the reality of three school-age kids all with hobbies plus work! Things might ease off for a week or two, but there’s always another stupid thing to make me busy! Life is definitely easier when they’re at nursery, I’m afraid!

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