“Some days are dry, some days are leaky Some days come clean, other days are sneaky. Some days take less, but most days take more Some slip through your fingers and on to the floor. Some days you’re quick, but most days you’re speedy Some days you use more force than is necessary. Some days just drop in on us. Some days are better than others. Some days it all adds up And what you’ve got is enough. Some days are better than others.”
– U2 ‘SOME DAYS ARE BETTER THEN OTHERS’
This blog post has been brewing in my head for about two years. Ever since my absolutely gorgeous and talented sister in law Anne Shooter wrote this blog post called ‘Whisky squares – a divine recipe that will make you a better person’
There was this one part where she described me and there was an absolute disconnect for me between the person that she perceived me to be, and who I really feel that I am:
“This recipe was given to me by my sister-in-law Sarah Raanan, who as well as being a brilliant photographer, and a mum of four delicious kids, and a great cook, has about a zillion friends because she is literally the loveliest person I know. She is all the things I wish I was: non-judgmental, kind, a great listener, generous with her time even though she is really busy, she is calm while being great fun and girly, she exercises three times a week, eats really healthily and cooks great family dinners, helps her kids with their homework, makes them fancy dress costumes, reads important books, sends gorgeous photos of her adorable kids to all her friends and family on significant occasions, does loads of cool social media/techy stuff, does cute things for her husband that makes him happy, says her prayers etc etc etc. AND SHE HAS FOUR KIDS AND I HAVE ONLY TWO AND I AM NOT NEARLY AS NICE AND AM ALWAYS TOO BUSY FOR EVERYONE. HOW DOES THAT WORK?”
“CALM”?! “helps her kids with their homework”?, “makes them fancy dress..”?!? I actually laughed when I read that part. I once tried sewing on a button but it took me 45 minutes and I still managed to sew it in the wrong place. ! But I am REALLY good at ordering costumes from Ali Express.
And as more and more people commented to me about the article (as well as arguing over where the recipe came from), I started to realise that the majority of them had this nutty idea that I have my act together. ALL THE TIME.
MMMMMM. oooooh no no no. This is all very one sided and is only focusing on the good stuff, some of it fabricated.
So let me set the record straight right here and now. Ok? ok…Here we go with a good old dose of HONESTY.
I wake up in the morning and the first words I utter are “what day is it?”, and I think about all the zillions of things that need to get done and how little time I have, and I feel sick. Then I swallow some pills that make everything seem a little more manageable. Very often if i’m up early, before Buzzy gets up, i’ll be hanging out washing that i’ve done the night before but been too tired to hang out so I’ve just left it to sit by the back door all night. This is a vast improvement on the days when I would do laundry and then forget about it for so long in the machine that I would have to run it through another rinse cycle because it smelled so bad.
I have iCal calendars in every colour you could imagine to remind me of everything AND I MEAN EVERYTHING. They ping at me an hour before and 15 mins before an event. And ask anyone who know me well, I have been known to forget to turn up to places even after the 15 minute reminder. Or i’ve still managed to schedule 3 events on the same date at the same time. And yet, I can remember birthdays of people I haven’t seen in 20 years and all the words to Road to Hell.
I have alarms that ring twice a week to remind me that I don’t have the car that day, and I still manage to offer the kids rides, only to walk out to the driveway and realise its Monday…
I have cute jokes that I put in Millie’s lunchbag. Sometimes. When I remember. When i’m not flying out the door to a 7:50am Pound class and shoving a slightly mouldy peeled carrot and the stub of a loaf of bread covered in Nutella in to their Lunch bags. Yes, I think the Bento Revolution is super adorable but SERIOUSLY PEOPLE, who has time for that?! Moulding the boiled eggs in to shapes of Hello Kitty?!
Oh and dinner? Yes. That. Every day they want to eat. Each one wants something else, at different times of day, in different rooms. And I write up menus and pretend i’m Martha and then just when everyone is jumping up and down about the amazing Evelyn Rose meatballs and rice and I’ve given myself the Domestic Goddess Award, they are over it and never want to see it again.
Some days its 5:00pm and I realise there’s not a stitch of food in the house and i have to bribe someone to look after Buzzy while I dash to the super expensive rip off supermarket because I can get round it in 40 mins without crying and get home again and throw spaghetti on the hob with a jar of sauce. I decided to stop pinning meals to my Pinterest board. Because it was just making me feel bad that in my 6 years of doing it, I hadn’t made one. And newsflash: the kids don’t really care. They don’t need our lives to be all Pinteresty, much as I adore it and am addicted to it, they just need me to be here for them, engage, be present, give advice, listen. And make sure we never run out of Nutella or ice.
We get overwhelmed and find it hard to focus on what really matters because we are so overloaded with information and our attention is pulled in so many directions that we find it hard to drown out the noise, to filter and focus on what matters (joining the Bento Box Revolution doesn’t matter. I have that figured out now). We think we need to sign them up for Ballet & Hip Hop & Gymnastics & French & English & Art & Karate & Piano and we over schedule ourselves to the point where we forget who we are and what we want, or what they want and we become crazed, tired taxi drivers. We totally forgot how to relax and have ‘me’ time, without feeling guilty about it.
“We are bombarded on all sides by a vast number of messages we don’t want or need. More information is generated in a single day than we can absorb in a lifetime. To fully enjoy life, all of us must find our own breathing space and peace of mind.” –James E. Faust
I took a photo with my phone a while back and posted it to Facebook. It was a photo of my eldest daughter, surrounded by her belongings and actually preparing to leave home for her 2 years of National Service. I don’t post a lot of images to Facebook but I felt like this was a really big deal and a special moment in our lives.
Some days just drop in on us.
My lounge was in the background of the photo. One of my dearest friends Jane wrote to me privately and said “your house is so tidy. I am jealous”
So I did what I think any honest person and good friend should do. I turned around and snapped a photo of what my kitchen looked like at that exact same moment.
Some slip through your fingers and on to the floor.
“Better?” I said
“Oh, I love you” she answered.
I most certainly do not have it all together. But some days are better than others. Some days, one room in my house looks really tidy and makes me feel all Zen-like and accomplished. And more than that, there are some moments when I manage to step off the hamster wheel and enjoy myself , enjoy my kids and live in the moment. I thank God for those days, those moments and the ability to recognise them and enjoy them. I can now see them as totally separate moments to the other, less pleasant ones. And I can see that one doesnt detract from the other. They exist independently.
That’s what really matters. The ability to recognise the special moments and just to be honest with each other that adulting is HARD and NONE of us have it all together ALL the time.
As my friend Glennon so eloquently explains (yes, shhh, she’s my friend)
“There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It’s regular time, it’s one minute at a time, it’s staring down the clock till bedtime time, it’s ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it’s four screaming minutes in time out time, it’s two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.
Then there’s Kairos time. Kairos is God’s time. It’s time outside of time. It’s metaphysical time. It’s those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.” – Glennon Doyle Melton
I’m not a perfect wife or mum or friend. I forget things, I say the wrong things, I double book, I forget what day it is, I yell at my family when I feel tired and frazzled and over-scheduled. I get so tired I fall asleep at 8:30pm sometimes with a sink full of washing up and food still on the counter. I have such issues focusing, i’m so easily distracted that I can flit between 5 different tasks all over the house and never complete any of them. And I talk to myself a lot. Out loud. Trying to get myself to focus on completing one thing at a time. But its just not the way my mind works and I have to accept that imperfection.
Being a good mum & wife & friend & person is not about perfection. We should all know by now that’s a total illusion. And life is not a competition to see who can prove that they are the most ‘crazy busy’ of all. We are all busy no matter if we have 0 or 8 kids. None of us feel that we have enough hours in the day. My life is not a ‘to do’ list. We can all see how that works. No matter how many things you cross off your list, tomorrow there will be 10 more.
“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”- Henry David Thoreau
It’s just about being there when you can, showing up, showing that you care, checking in now and then to ask questions and offer support. Really listening. Kairos time. Because more often than not, your kid or your friend or your spouse has had a hard day just like you have. They just need someone to hear them; to be honest and acknowledge that yes, I hear you and yes, life can be incredibly hard.
It’s about doing your best. Giving whatever you can.
And that my friend is enough. More than enough.
Some days it all adds up And what you’ve got is enough.
We need to let go of these crazy ideas we have that everyone else is doing it better than us. We are all doing ok. We are doing the best that we can with the tools that we have. We cook, and we schlepp, and we launder and we work, and we comfort and we cheerlead, and we argue and we listen and we reason. It’s all terribly exhausting and overwhelming but as they get older you start to see the bigger picture and you realise that all your days of worrying and arguing and coaching and crying and loving have helped to form this amazing human being who will then spread their wings and float off in to the big wide world, with everything you have taught them tucked away carefully somewhere in the recesses of their minds.
Elinoa is wearing the ‘Naava Applebaum Sherut Leumi Program’ uniform. The Naava Applebaum Circle of Life Endowment was established by the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, and it supports the Sherut Leumi service, in which Naava Applebaum participated.
“Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day.” – Glennon Doyle Melton
And they will make you so proud that it will take your breath away, and they will send you photos and show you so many Kairos moments that your heart will feel like it is physically bursting with pride. And they will move into their own place and start work and send you photos of their fruit bowl and you’ll realise that this is what adulting is all about and that you’ve done ok and that they will maybe even get their ‘5 A Day’.
And that ‘ok’ is really fine.
Ok is amazing