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  • Third Culture Matters
  • Finding Spaces

    ‘Stop. I have no space left in my head.’

    I seem to be saying that a lot these days.

    Now the kids are older I’m no longer essential to moving them around nor am I as essential to their entertainment (in fact I’m becoming a wonderfully clichéd embarassment to be around according to my darling pre-teenagers) but I feel they need me to be there for them. Only problem is: they need me at home, hidden from the rest of the world, there for when they decide they need me.

    This means I actually have a lot of hours for writing, while I’m waiting so to speak. Or so one might think.

    Mornings are just me and our dog: walkies, groceries, shower while rice is cooking, so the food’s ready when they come home at midday.

    Now we’re fast approaching midday I’m ready to get my laptop out:
    first my youngest arrives – ‘starving!!! Mummy’ – and eats, wants help with her homework, then arranges a play date.

    Second try: I settle in front of my laptop, write one sentence, if I’m lucky another..
    ‘Hi..’ the next kid’s home,
    ‘Hello, lunch is in the kitchen, did you have a nice morning?’
    I quickly type my sentence before I lose my thought… drat (a mother’s faithful companion: guilt sets in) they’ll be grown up and out the house before you know it, go talk to him, enjoy this time together – and I do.

    Then when he’s out the door number three enters and I start all over again. But all I want is to get my thoughts down or at least finish my sentence.. right?

    So I’m plagued with this idea of ‘how do I get MY space?’ Oh I know this is an age old problem and I’m not the first and it was my choice to have kids and all that… but still, where do I fit in? What about me?

    When my head is full of their words, their giggles, their every thought, deed, achievement how do I find space for mine?

    That’s what I’m going to figure out.

    Without feeling quilty.

    I suppose it could be quite simple: organise, right?

    Right. (duh) So, what if I allocate times for lunch on the days they’re home. I use the times in between kids coming home for washing, tidying up, bills, writing up the agenda, making appointments, all the usual Mummy things to do.

    And then I clearly define times for writing. It may not always work, like when a young friend proves clingy and mistakes the playdate with my daughter to a ‘show and tell’ session with me – but it helps me keep my cool, chill, whatever. I suppose being flexible is also a part of the organisation programme.

    And then there’s the evenings, when they’re all finally in bed. That’s when the space in my head and the table and the hours are all mine and with a good old-fashioned nudge up the derriere, I’ll actually put it to use rather than opt for the remote control.

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