But the reality is that no matter how much you do, it is never enough – the house, children and life will never be perfect and at that one moment you get on top of things, something will happen to cause chaos again – like guests, or illness. Recent months have led to a realisation on my part that the more you try to be everything, do everything and have everything, the less you are actually likely to have real control over your life.
So after weeks of running headlong from kitchen, to nappy mat, to washing machine to prayer mat, I decided that life was starting to feel too much like gruelling hard work with no end in sight. I also realised that in the quest for completion, for perfection and of getting things done, I was missing out on the real pleasure: the journey. All very well trying to help your kids to do well, but where is the joy of their achievements if you missed out on all of the fun on the way because you didn't slow down to savour it. The kids are growing so very quick, Little Lady is testament to that at a very grown up eleven. I want them to look back and remember a mum who invested the most precious and irreplaceable thing she had in them – her time and attention.
I have been slowing down and trying to be present in each moment. I have made a decision to let the mess be, to leave the dishes for a bit, to let the laundry pile up more often. To spend more time cuddling with Darling and playing with Baby, enjoying her smiles and cooing. To mess around with the boys more and have more brunches with Little Lady. Really it goes deeper than that though. I am trying to immerse myself in each moment and enjoy the little things, the feel of warm water on my hands as I wash the dishes, the pleasure of a clean kitchen before you switch the lights off for the night or the enjoyment of throwing yourself into cooking a wholesome meal for your family; all things that feel like chores to be over and done with. Yet we spend so much of our life doing them, that it seems to me that I am better off finding some pleasure in them.
So I have been telling myself the following: I am enough, I do enough and I have enough. I have been slowing down and getting used to a different pace of life that doesn't involve keeping up with anyone or getting to the bottom of a to-do list. I'm not convinced I can maintain this forever, but every time I feel harried for time or stressed or as if I am not doing enough, I stop and sink into the moment: how it looks, how it feels, how my senses can revel in it. I stop constantly looking forward and thinking about the next thing to do and instead take my time with what I am doing right now.