Look, I love Instagram as much as the next person, but I cannot understand how all these parent bosses are up and posting from about 6am until midnight (and sometimes later) every day. So, as an aspiring mum boss, I have a question for you all: how the hell do you do it?!
I typically have between 5 and 6 hours of sleep a night and I can admit that I am knackered ALL of the time. I walk around yawning. I have headaches. I forget things. I have had dark circles below my eyes for almost 7 years. I feel old. Very old. And I feel like I am wasting the time that I have. My time management is terrible; I’ve always been a ‘late’ person, but it’s got worse. It’s a very simple formula: more sleep = less tired + more productive, but, since having kids, I haven’t been able to get it quite right.
I have a friend who, come what may, goes to bed at around 10pm and then gets up at around 5am, just so she can fit in some exercise, an uninterrupted shower and have her breakfast in peace before the kids wake up. That’s 7 hours sleep. Another friend tells me that she can function on 6 hours of sleep a night. She too rises super early to get stuff done before her kids wake. Both of these friends have 2 children and both juggle motherhood with work.
I aim to get to bed by around 10pm. I look at the clock. It’s 9.30pm. I think “YES! Finally, an early night for me”. I look at the clock again. It’s 11.57pm. I still need to iron, load the dishwasher, sort out my family finances, eat… How did this happen? So, I actually end up going to bed somewhere between midnight and 1am. Before I fall asleep, I set the alarm for 7am, so that I can snooze it a couple of times before I must get up in order to get the kids to school.
To make matters worse, I am such a light sleeper that I hear EVERYTHING during the night. My eyes will ping open at even the softest sound. Everytime the radiators start filling up, I hear them. Everytime one of the kids gets up to go to the toilet, I hear them. Everytime a car alarm goes off, I hear it. I’m basically sleeping with one ear open, otherwise known as not really sleeping at all.
So, then the kids’ alarm will go off. Kid 1 gets up, almost immediately, but Kid 1+1 will sleep through it. I rough Kid 1+1 up a bit to get her up, and then it’s all four of us in the bathroom together, showering, brushing teeth and pooping for about 30 minutes. We wolf down breakfast and Formula One it to school, usually arriving just as the bell rings. It’s a mad rush. Every day. I feel that I am teaching my girls a terrible lesson on how to get up and be productive in the mornings. But this never used to be the case…
I am currently an interim SAHM. I do some freelance work, and I’m researching into a business idea, but, my main priority in the morning is getting the girls to school. Then I am generally available for the rest of the day. The day is filled with school admin, home admin, job hunting, research, eating, washing, cleaning – basically everything. The irony of it kills me. The more time I have, the less time I have. Despite not working a 9-5, I am literally busy from the minute I wake until the minute I go to bed (give or take some Instagram time).
For many years, up until a few months ago, I was on that 7.52am train most mornings and I slept my way to work. I was that woman. You know, the one leaning against the window, nodding off, with a book in her lap and probably with her mouth hanging open. But, I was way more organised than I am now. I had to be. I would iron the kids’ uniform for the week on a Sunday night. I would pick out and iron my work ensemble the night before. I might even make myself a little packed lunch, if I was feeling particularly adventurous. I would set my alarm for 6.15am, snooze it once and then get up at 6.30am. I would be fully dressed as I woke the kids up and put them in the shower. Then I would either drop them to breakfast club or kiss them goodbye if The Photographer was around to take them to school. I’d be sat at my desk by 9am, with a hot cup of coffee and two slices of peanut butter on toast in front of me
So, I need to learn: how do I manage my time? Why was I able to manage it when I was working for someone else, but struggle so much now that I am trying to do something for myself? How can I fit in everything that I want to fit in and not feel guilty all the time? (Guilt seems to be a common theme for so many of us parents).
Make me understand.
How do you do it?
Does something have to give? And is that something sleep?