I am seriously wondering if other people are operating in a different time zone to me. If somewhere along the way, I’ve been sucked into vortex where time is just speed, speed, speeding along on an analogue watch with me clinging onto the whirring second hand for dear life. I’ve got a To Do list that just keeps growing and a pen that refuses to put a line through any of my tasks. From morning until night I’m constantly trying to get a million and one things done. I end the day exhausted but still feeling as though I have accomplished very little. It’s starting to get to me.
The Faulty Towers project is now in full scale planning mode and so in addition to the many hats I wear as mother, wife, housekeeper, cleaner upper, mistress of Lego tower building and a dragon fearing ‘princess’, I’m now putting on my hard hat each day and masquerading as a strange cross dressing blend of George Clarke and Kelly Hoppen. Every day my head pounds with umpteen questions and decisions on everything from the style of switch plates and sockets we want, to the type underfloor heating or the height of the rails in the wardrobes. This time last year, I felt most buoyed up about managing the house project. Husband was most encouraging too; "This will be such an exciting project for you. Something for you to really get your teeth into. You’re great at this stuff, you’re going to love it.” Now I’m in it. I’m not so sure. It’s all getting a bit stressful. When you don’t know ‘stuff’ you need to research it, and I am finding a) there’s a lot of ‘stuff’ I don’t know when it comes to totally overhauling a house and b) it’s proving very difficult to find the time to research said unknown ‘stuff’ in the necessary detail, (particularly the subject matter I consider boring - CAT5 cabling anyone?). This is all in addition to the normal day to day requirements of running a house, looking after Pip, washing, cleaning, cooking as well as dealing with the day to day issues of living in a dilapidated wreck. (Leaky sink, broken bathroom pump, temperamental toilet…I won’t go on.)
The answer is staring me in the face - but I don’t like it. My hobby, my lovely little blog, my writing – is going to be the thing that has to give a bit. When we first decided to buy Faulty Towers and embark on this huge house project, this blog wasn’t even a glint in my eye. But now, 6 months on, I love it, and I want to grow it; nurture it. If anything, I’d like to spend more time on it not less, but it’s getting more difficult. My dream of embarking on other writing projects has to be put on hold too. I’d set myself a little goal to write something each month. Last night I said to my husband; “I’m not going to realise my writing goal for January.” The comment came back; “ You probably won’t in February or March either.” He’s right. I won’t, I just don’t have the time at the moment, and I’m past the days where I can burn the midnight oil and get away with it.
One of the hardest things about being a SAHM is that you end up wearing all the hats. Because you aren’t physically at work, but in the home, sometimes there is a perception that you have infinite spare capacity to take on lots of other things. In this case, I’m now SAHM and Project Manager of The Grand Design. Really they’re both full time jobs, but I feel like I’m only servicing both of them part time. The net result of all this is that the first stuff to go when time is tight, and other things are more pressing, is the stuff for me. My stuff gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. It’s like the creased shirt at the bottom of the laundry basket that you never quite get round to ironing. ‘ I’ll get round to that one tomorrow – it’s not urgent.’ I don’t want that to be the case with my writing. I don’t want it or my blog to be ignored, or pushed to the bottom of the pile, but, I feel guilty and selfish for still trying to pursue it in the midst of all this chaos. I can’t change the situation. Other things need my attention more now, and it would be self indulgent of me to ignore those and plough my own furrow. I just have to accept that maybe I won’t be able to indulge myself quite as much as I would wish.
I’ve got one silver lining though (although I'm sure that a very lovely house at the end of this will be a second.) At the top of the house, in the eaves of the roof, is a little room. I call it The Garret. The floor is very wonky, it’s cold, there’s something wrong with the flue in the chimney; black dirt comes in through the old Victorian fire. There’s a hole in the window frame, which is home to the 'loveliness' of ladybirds that all gather there. It’s almost as though they think it’s their little room, they’ve adopted it. But no, I’ve decided, this room is going to be mine. My place in the clouds. I’m going to restore the little Victorian fire and put a little gas burner in it, then I’m going to put up a little desk and some whimsical, quirky wallpaper on one wall. And there, at some point, when life mellows, when I’ve conquered this beast of a house, when Pip starts pre-school, I shall escape occasionally, up the 46 steps to the top. There in my room, I shall take off all my hats one by one, and lay them carefully down on my polished slightly less wonky floor, and then, I shall write, write, write, to my heart’s content.
But now, I must stop daydreaming, stop blogging and get myself off to Builders merchants.