Worlds Apart…

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My littlest Ladey turns 1 in just over a month, and it occurs to me that I have very little time left with my babies! As if she could read my mind, Holly woke up at 11pm tonight with tooth pain, and so as my husband got an early night ready for a very long day tomorrow, I brought her down, and she and I are now cuddled up on the sofa watching The Crown while she has an extra feed. She’ll fall asleep soon in my arms, and after taking in the smell of her and the cosiness of being cuddled up to her, I’ll head to bed, dropping her off on the way in her cot.
I know I’ll be tired tomorrow. We’ve had a mad 24 hours after a last minute trip to St Ives to go and see family. A bit of a restorative and much needed retreat for us all. We stayed in a beautiful little cottage, and stood by the sea as the waves crashed over the bay. The sea being choppy and the air being so fresh and windy reminded me so much of being a little girl on the beach with my Grandad who taught me how to ‘read’ the sea. I’d forgotten just how therapeutic the ocean can be. For a tiny pocket of time, work stress was a million miles away, I wasn’t writing notes in my phone to monitor any signs of epilepsy, and I wasn’t responding to any emails. I was just surrounded by family, my hair all over the place because of the wind, and the salt spray of the amazing waves drenching us from our daring vantage point. I introduced my two girls to the delightful terror that a choppy sea provides! I’m not ashamed to admit that after the first few moments by the waves I burst into tears. Emotional, happy tears. I felt my shoulders unclench for the first time in, maybe years, and I truly just loved the moments, without anything else or any other worries seeping in. I could almost hear my Grandad saying ‘that’s better girl’. My husband arranged the trip, he knows me better than I know myself sometimes (eurgh, what a cliche..), and not for the first time did it feel a bit like I had been falling and he caught me. 

So I now sit with my beautiful baby, fresh from the little detoxing retreat, and I’ll be tired tomorrow but this little late night cuddle with Holly is very much worth it. After a family discussion, it’s been decided I’m going to be cutting down some of the work I’ve got on my plate. Once the girls are at school I can go back to 60 hour weeks as standard. But for now, instead of taking on the world, I’m going to prioritise my world. A few things are going on a back burner, a few things are being passed on, and I’m going to balance out instead; a little bit of work, a little bit of what I’m passionate about (theatre and charity work primarily), and a lot of family time. 

It’s a decision that in truth I’ve been a bit scared to make. Just as my career was taking off I started a family and the guilt I felt with the family support I had received in gaining my qualifications blindsided me. When I was made redundant last Summer, panic set in as I desperately searched for a new job. I was under the impression that my family would be disappointed or angry if I wasn’t going full steam ahead. As it turns out, they’ve all wanted me to slow down for a while, I was fighting a battle only against my own assumptions! 

I’m NOT a good housewife. Most of what it entails alludes me. Ask me to write 50,000 words, or to analyse various larvae development to measure time of death on a violent crime scene, and I could do it with my eyes closed. But running a household is not a skill I possess. Which doesn’t make me a bad person or a bad wife or mother. I am extremely devoted to my children. I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent, but I understand that’s par for the course and one thing I am totally confident in my abilities is how much I love my husband and children. 

Slowing down is not really in my nature(!) but there are not three more special people in this world (or any other that might exist for that matter!) that I would agree to do so for. But importantly I think, (and something I haven’t done before!) is that I’m also doing it for someone I’ve always neglected quite a bit. I’m doing it for me. (Cue huge amount of guilt for even saying so).

I’m hoping to get back to the seaside with the girls soon, or at least I look forward to getting out and about with them that doesn’t involve being on the way to a meeting, or quick coffee dates in between shifts. I’m certainly not going to become the kind of Mum that starts doing things like making leaf rubbings! But I DO look forward to running around kicking up leaves and getting muddy! 

When the girls are both at school, my health is (touch wood) back to 100%, and I have no good excuse to roll around in the mud anymore, I’ll get back to trying to change the world full time. For now, I look forward to making my girls world as happy as it possibly can be.

Captaining Chaos…

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We have lot of people in our life, and don’t mistake me, we love it. We have a very busy work life that bleeds and combines with our social life but that’s theatre. 
Someone asked us the other day whether it got too much sometimes; on an average week, around five days out of the seven we have people round, which usually involves us making food or at least clearing up a lot of stuff afterwards. In honesty? We love our life and we choose the chaos, something I know some people can’t understand because they prefer a more routines or less hectic day to day. And in the main, it doesn’t get too much. But sometimes, especially now we have two children, we do sometimes have to admit we’ve bitten off a bit more than is ideal. I think it’s a slight curse of the freelance worker, in the beginning, you become so accustomed to accepting every work offer and taking on everything you can; that when you become established and busy, the idea of turning down work makes your heart jump into your throat! And as the majority of our work is about people rather than money, if we’re unable to do a job or put our all into something, we really feel the pressure of letting the people involved down. 

Our two daughters are now our number one priority. So we’ve had to start looking at our schedule and saying, ‘do you know what, although we promised to try and fit in an evening to talk to this person about a documentary project, it can wait, and tonight we’re going to watch the Let It Go music video eight times, be there for Bathtime and then both take on characters in a made up bedtime story.’ Because those little things are the reasons we’re doing most of the work. We sometimes spend eight hours of a day in the car to be able to do a really important piece of work, but it’s so that we can then have that precious bedtime routine for the next four nights.

We also couldn’t do it without each other’s support, my husband needs my help with the administrative side of his work, to bounce ideas off and to assist him with various things; and similarly I need him for inspiration, motivation and as an overwhelming source of support. And the hectic social side that comes with it? The dinners, the games evenings and other extras that come with both our careers? It’s what makes it all worth it! Money isn’t our main drive, we’d always much rather work with people we work well with and enjoy spending time with, rather than go for the highest paid activities, for us that’s what gives us job satisfaction.

Saying all of that, our other big priority is time as husband and wife. Not Mum and Dad, not Colleagues, not Organisers, not Vice Chairman and Secretary. Each day we try and ensure some of the day is kept sacred as husband and wife. Recently (with a particularly hectic work schedule and accompanying social timetable) we realised that we hadn’t prioritised it enough. We were getting to bed near or past midnight, going straight to sleep and then starting back with the rest of our roles the next morning. Once we’d realised that our roles of husband and wife had started slipping down our list of priorities, we cancelled an evenings activity and went out for dinner. And then we came home, had a glass of wine and just sat on the sofa together. It was AMAZING! And then on nights we finished at 10/11pm, we stayed up an extra hour just to spend a bit of time together. It makes a huge difference. It means that when a houseful leave and we’re left with more mess, instead of getting uptight, we clear up with a smile. When Scarlett’s screaming at us because we won’t let her get her own way and baby Holly is crying for a feed, it’s not overwhelming. We can smile through the chaos, because the very core of that chaos is my husband and I, two people in love taking it all on together. And when the core is strong, you can deal with all the rest, it’s like the foundations of a house; as long as they’re in place, you can easily build extra rooms above. 

It’s not easy, sometimes it’s hard to separate those roles, and sometimes we forget those vital important parts because the other bits of life can pile up and distract you so easily! So although our schedule sounds like hell to some people and it can often be hard work, it works for us. The bottom line is, as long as our kids are being prioritised and our marriage is at its core, we will continue with this ridiculous chaotic production that we call life!