photo I sent the plumber this week – lucky him

Life isn’t all about romance

The other night, before going to sleep the last words I said to my partner were: ‘I messaged the plumber and he’s hoping to come and fix the loo on Wednesday.’ Not the most romantic thing but certainly useful. When the plumber didn’t arrive on Wednesday, we had a lot more conversations about plumbing. The honeymoon period is well and truly over.

I’ve never been the most romantic person. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thoughtful and love it when my partner does little things to show that he cares. I just never got the flowers/chocolates dynamic.

With 3 kids in the house, it can be easy to forget about the two of us and just focus on whatever it is the kids need at the time. Or the downstairs plumbing. Or dinner etc. When you’re not romantically inclined, life can feel like a never-ending hamster wheel of day to day tasks, that you’re accomplishing with someone you love by your side. This is great until one of us feels neglected. I accept that life isn’t all about romance and as long as we throw in the occasional date night, things are just fine.

Hopelessness is *just* a feeling

I don’t tend to write about the more difficult emotions in this blog. It wasn’t ever a deliberate choice, it’s that I like to look on the bright side of things, and prefer things to be funny, rather than serious. (If you want to read my more serious writing, message me and I’ll send you a link to my rarely updated personal blog). However, amongst all the craziness that accompanies our mad, slap-dash family, there are of course, difficult feelings and emotional times.

The kids don’t always love the dynamic of our blended family and tend to take turns rallying against it, involving their other parents and a lot of talking. Other days they’re best friends whilst the adults are still scooping themselves off the ground from the last episode. Then there are other complications. Not enough work, too much work, the boys sharing one swimming hat for school, which has now gone missing…… etc. Life sure is a lot more complicated than 10 years ago when I was a single 20 something and my biggest worry was who would look after my cats when I went away (thanks Miri, who did such a good job, they now live with her) and what time does the off-license close?

We all have bouts in our lives where we can feel hopeless. That nothing is quite going the way it’s meant to. This last month has been full of bouts like this. Then a voice note from my best friend or cousin will appear on my phone, a friend will whisk me out to lunch, my partner will send me a ridiculous Star Wars meme, the kids will present me with a hand made card, and life will feel ok for a while.

Hopelessness is one of the toughest feelings we have to contend with but it is *just* a feeling and it won’t last. Promise.

Photo from Pixabay – I didn’t have the guts to ask the postman to pose for a photo, especially as I was out the shower in just a towel

People always knock on the door at the wrong time

Working from home full time means that the majority of my day is taken up with answering the door. Friends and family have their parcels and signed for items delivered here because they know I’ll be in. The postman and local couriers are on first name terms with me and the dog and not a day goes by that I don’t see one of them. Not helped by the fact that I barely ever venture into a real shop so order household essentials online.

There is never a good time to knock on my door. In the mornings I get up, sort out the kids, get them to school, walk the dog, do some work then go into the shower when I feel enough work has been done. The shower part of my day is inevitably when someone will knock on the door. It has got to the point where I wonder if the postman knows my routine down to the very time I’ll be shampooing my hair and plans to disturb me. I always end up, dripping wet, with a towel around me, the dog under one arm and trying to sign for a parcel with my only free hand – what do I do? drop the towel? the dog? refuse to sign. Luckily these days the postman signs for me.

Perhaps a change of routine is what’s needed. People often ask about my working routine and how I must be so disciplined (I’m really not) to be able to work from home and achieve everything I need during school hours.

I’m currently writing this at 8:30pm. The kids are in bed, my partner is out, the dog hasn’t yet been fed and I’m still to make dinner. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I was writing my 5 things at 1am. So it may have been inspired by the postman’s routine, my reluctance for him to be able to assess the quality of my towels, or the fact the dog goes mental every time there’s a knock on the door. I will be changing my routine to a more normal working schedule and see if I’m better at getting my 5 Things lists written in good time.

Sharing experience is vital to success

When working for yourself it can be hard some days to see where others fit into the bigger picture. Luckily we’re living and working in an age where having a business/success coach is entirely normal and seeking a mentor is encouraged. This is particularly encouraged for people who work entirely on their own. However it can be hard to let go of thinking we have to be all things to all people and asking for help is a weakness.

With my work I am often the consultant. The person who knows how to work WordPress, who can talk about the different solutions to technical issues and mentor people on their marketing strategy and plans. Because of this role it can be hard for me to seek help when I need it. I always prioritise my clients so am not very good at building in time to see people who can help me with my work.

This week I was stumped. It didn’t matter how much I had learned about the GDPR there were elements of it that I just didn’t understand. What was making it feel worse was that I have to implement a lot of compliance structures into the websites I build and maintain and I wasn’t sure I could give the best advice as it was still a bit fuzzy to me.

One of my website clients knew that the GDPR was going to affect her business so took the time out of her working day to learn about it until she really understood it. Then she took more time out of her day to explain it to me and show me which resources had got her to where she needed to be.

I often say that no man is an island. While it can be extremely tempting to pull up the drawbridge and think we have enough experience in our own fields to do a great job, sharing information with and learning from other professionals will always keep us on top of our game.

Not sure where to credit the photo but it’s from my friend Persia’s Facebook Page.

Sometimes you need to throw the balls in the air and see where they land

It was only after I put 2 kisses on the message to the plumber, called one of the church elders ‘darling’ and ended a voice note to one of my tech team with ‘lots of love’ that I realised I might be a tad stressed. Not surprising really, life has been pretty hectic and incredibly emotionally draining lately. Looking back on what I’ve just written, at least I’m affectionate when my brain has effectively turned to sludge.

Given the above weren’t isolated incidents, it was time to make some changes. As we have 3 kids, 2 exes, a crazy cat and a dog that suffers from separation anxiety, making changes wasn’t going to be easy. It was necessary though so we took all the balls we were juggling, threw them up in the air and waited to see what order they landed in. Whilst the re-order wasn’t what we expected, it was certainly good and life has felt a lot easier since reordering everything. Yes change is hard. Some people deal with it better than others, but it is necessary for growth.