Having four children means I have a strict system for…well…pretty much everything. I don’t mean that I am a strict parent, just that I feel I have to be organised and have particular ways of doing things.
Some people with only one child operate like this, so my view is I should be forgiven for my routined approach.
With two children under two and two others of 6 and 8 with a busy social schedule I have to be on the ball. I have the daily schedule of activities stored in my head and then I have to fit into that sleep and feed times for the babies and some work and exercise time and things like the big kids homework and some down time for them as well.
It isn’t easy, but with good systems and backup plans in place everything works.
Everyone is where they need to be at the correct times, wearing the correct things, with the correct kit and requested sandwich filling. Nappies are changed, noses are clean, babies are fed and winded, dinner is prepared, the dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer are all emptied and refilled, the ironing is done and put away, homework and reading is done to a high standard, shopping is ordered and put away, emails are answered, bins and recycling are put out, rooms are hoovered and cleaned, beds are changed, and I can have a shower and get dressed with a baby and a toddler in tow…see my other post on how to shower with little ones.
My reasons for operating this way are that 99% of the time I don’t have an extra pair of hands. I have to make it work and I do exactly that.
The problem I have is when help is offered or given. I find being offered help bizarre in itself as it doesn’t happen very often. Then that makes me defensive because I feel there is an implication I am not doing something right.
My other issue is that the majority of the times I have tried to ease off and except involvement from someone else, something has either gone wrong or ended up more complicated, or taken ten times longer than if I did it myself which then frustrates me.
Is it me?
To me, the offer of ‘help’ should make something easier not more complicated.
I am aware that from the outside it looks as if I only like things done a certain way but the reality is that I have just had to develop my own workable systems so: when I have four children to bath I have a system; when I need to have a shower and watch the children then I have a system; when one child has a guitar lesson or swimming lesson and I have to take all four with me I have another system. I even managed a few weeks of doing a fitness dvd before the school run with an audience of children .
I am aware that my independent approach can come across as ungrateful, so sometimes I will accept the help to avoid people thinking that and to see what happens.
A few months back, I was on my way back to the car after my eldest sons swimming lesson and it was raining heavily.
I had my baby in the baby carrier on my chest, my toddler in the pushchair and one of the older children holding on to each side of the pushchair.
As I approached the car someone I know ran over to ‘help’ – she then decided she was going to take charge of the pushchair complete with toddler. Whilst I carried on with the other three children, who were all in the car quickly and efficiently, she was busy faffing with the pushchair, car seat straps and boot. The result was she was soaked, my toddler was soaked, the pushchair was upside down in the boot which then meant the boot wouldn’t shut and said toddler managed to climb out of his car seat. I then got soaked fixing all of this.
And people really wonder why I prefer to do things myself?