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Three Young Children Have Thrown Me Off 'Balance'

By Rebecca Robinson - 9th April 2012

Balance sh-malance...

I thought I had balance. For a moment. I thought it was for keeps. But I only have until Kindy Boy turns five in a few weeks. Then the 3.30pm Wednesday swimming lesson changes and he moves up to another group called Turtles or Dolphins or Lobsters or something and then this time slot for him fails to exist. Upon realising this, my brain went into melt down. I only have Wednesday 3.30p.m. left without the other two kids. Two same-age toddlers do not go well at swimming lessons.  I have tried many combinations of Kindy Boy activities and taking his two sisters but it never goes well.  I end up so highly strung I end up yelling at someone. One toddler you can swing under an arm, read a book on a lap or placate with a snack. Opening a snack with two toddlers is embarrassing as they turn into competing feral animals who haven't seen food for a month rather than two toddlers who demolished bowls of porridge an hour ago.  

I enquired about Excel spreadsheets to see if this would help. You see, I pictured entering the required data into a tailor-made program called Yummy Mummy Organiser V3.4 or something equally marketable and then pressing enter. Then a beautifully presented spreadsheet appears in pretty colours and easy to read headings telling me where and when to be so it’s at-a-glance simplicity. I have discovered this does not exist. I have asked. Instead, I huff and puff and have to go back to the pen and paper mode and start scribbling the days of the week, and wriggle lines down the page to create columns. And then the headache begins. I need a coffee. No, the pen is shaky enough, I’ll make tea. A pot of tea. My notebook is full of these attempts at scheduling. And I don't even consider myself a busy person. I don't do ‘busy’ - it makes me hyperventilate. I need think time. I need no think time. Silence is golden, however, impossible, so no think time amongst the noise of three kids is as good as it gets.

Living in a street full of three- kid families, I am given a daily taste of what's to come in the years ahead. The crashing and slamming of car doors, the clamouring of sports bags brimming with netballs, basketballs, hip hop gear, towels, goggles and whatnot into the backseat of cars. The pushing and shoving of brothers and sisters as they moosh afternoon tea into their mouths and nearly choke whilst involved in heated debates about whose turn it is....for what I can never work out. I have been warned. It doesn't get easier and apparently they, as in older kids, can still wake through the night - what? I hear you gasp.  I know, they don't tell you this as you’re begging for the first few years of sleeplessness to be over with. I have seen mums who have became used to having regular sleep again, only to have it ripped away from them by 7, 8, 9 and 10 year olds in a run of coughs and colds and restless nights. And it ain't pretty.

But this isn't a complaint, more the musings of a mum with three kids who will attempt to balance three days a week of work in school hours plus fit in circus and swimming lessons, return library books before incurring a fine and cook tea each night. More importantly, somehow stay alert to opportunities of silence and the possibility of the soft flicking of pages of a grown up book being read and finished.  This I believe will be the litmus test of balance.  A grown up book.  Finished.

Strewth.

Image freedigitatphotos.net Stuart Miles

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