This year I resolved to reduce how often I say I’ve just got to…. The evenings after school flash past so quickly. By the time we’re home, book bags and lunchbox emptied, it’s not long before I have to start their dinner, do a new packed lunch, hang out the washing, put away yesterday’s washing, read school books, cook our dinner, tidy up the devastation and get bath and bedtime under way. All the while the twinlings are battling for my attention with a barrage of can yous that I deflect with a shield of I’ve just got tos.
On our last day of the Christmas holidays it was just the three of us at home. This was my chance to devote my time to them. But instead of playing, I was responding to requests like ‘can you stick the antennae back on my bug mask’, until at gone 11am I had to make an I’ve just got to plea. To justify it I added in a ‘really’ because really, I did have to have a shower and get dressed before I started on lunch. And of course by the time I was dressed and ready for them, they were so engrossed in a game they were playing together I didn’t like to disturb them.
For me as I’m sure it is for most parents, it’s a guilt thing. Am I doing as much as I can for them? The answer invariably being no, of course I could be doing more. And it’s a question too of priorities. Sometimes I have to put my priorities over theirs because they benefit them, they just don’t realise it, and also for the sake of my sanity. When it comes down to it, they don’t care about the Weetabix barnacles stuck fast along the dinner table, but I do.
I’m trying to get the balance right. Tonight we got out two different train sets in the lounge before Ladybird decided she’d like to paint. The 2011 ‘School Run Mum’ would have decided it was too close to bedtime to get painting stuff out and dished out an I’ve just got to, but the 2012 me, got the easel out and enjoyed watching them create. And even better they played with the paints for at least as long as it will take me to clear away. Note the use of future tense there, because it’s all still out there. The rest of the evening went awry when the call came from QPR to say his keys, wallet and phone were locked inside the car, while he remained on the outside.
So, tired out with the day’s events, looking forlornly at the mess and mentally totting up how long it was going to take to tackle it. I reminded myself that the rule of tidying everything away by the end of the day is my own invention, no-one will be coming around to check up on me tomorrow (hopefully). So I told myself I’ve just got to sit on the sofa and write my blog, the mess will all be there in the morning.