Things Left Undone

kleenexI grew up going to church every Sunday, so the Church of England liturgy still resonates deeply with me. At the moment I am meditating on the Prayer of Confession, where forgiveness is asked for things left undone which we ought to have done – sins of omission as well as commission, and I feel like there are a lot of those in my life at the moment.

I haven’t been well for the last four weeks. I had a horrible cough and  cold which just wouldn’t shift, and finally last week my husband and mother-in-law bullied me into going to the doctors. Turned out that the cold was also a chest infection and sinusitis, which at least explained why I was feeling so unremittingly rubbish. I’m now half way through the course of antibiotics, and just starting to feel human again. Human enough to survey with dismay the chaos which results from me basically taking a month off!

Regular readers know that my husband is in the process of setting up his own business. Things are particularly intense at the moment (I suspect we might be saying that continually for the next few years!), and so time ‘off’ isn’t really an option for him, in fact he’s working very long hours and most weekends, so we’ve just had to muddle on as best we can. I have had to prioritise the absolutely critical tasks and save my energy for those. In practice that has meant feeding the children – they’ve definitely had more than their fair share of baked beans, scrambled eggs, fishfingers and jacket potatoes over the last few weeks, ensuring that we all have clean(ish) clothes to wear, bedtime stories, and spritzing the Dettol around to try and prevent my noxious germs inflicting their presence on anyone else. Oh yes, and administering cuddles and Calpol to Sophia at any hour of the day or night when the poor baby’s teeth started troubling her. As for things I haven’t done, well…

  1. Planted the snowdrop and crocus bulbs I was so excited about having bought (gardening types who read my blog – is it too late now?)
  2. Tidied. Anything. At all. You can’t actually see the dresser now under the piles of paperwork, odd socks, broken bits of crayon, stray toys and other detritus.
  3. Done any preparation for Christmas. In mid-October I was feeling fairly smug and ahead of the game as I already had quite a lot of stocking fillers for the girls and toys for friends’ children. I still have those, but things haven’t progressed any further. And I have a horrible feeling that I might have missed all the Ocado delivery slots – no worse crime exists for a middle-class, non-driving mummy come Christmas time!
  4. Kept up the homework routine I’d promised myself I’d implement now Anna is in Year 3. Instead it’s been a case of croaking at my husband as he returns home and I use the opportunity to take myself off to bed “oh, by the way, can you help Anna do her fractions worksheet/learn her spellings/write a newspaper article/design a remembrance poppy”.
  5. Provided Sophia with much in the way of fun or educational activities. We’ve staggered to a couple of baby groups, but it wasn’t hugely successful because, strangely enough, other parents seemed to note my hacking cough and copious phlegm production and give us a fairly wide berth. Luckily, having been a telly refusenik for the first 22 months of her life, Sophia has now developed a timely passion for ‘Awyee and Yo-ya’ (Charlie and Lola, obvs), and I have been slightly too willing to indulge her in it.
  6. Bathed the children. Well, not much. I couldn’t face it by myself, and husband isn’t always home at bedtime, so we’ve ended up giving Anna quick showers before school and bathing Sophia on an as and when basis.
  7. Done any of the ‘extra jobs’ I normally do on a weekly or fortnightly basis – proper cleans of bathroom and kitchen, changing the beds (I know, I know, it’s disgusting), vacuuming anything other than the area immediately round the dining table etc etc.
  8. Done any paper work. Nothing has been filed, meters haven’t been read, I have a horrible feeling the credit card bill hasn’t been paid and I have a massive backlog of unread/unanswered emails.
  9. Swept up the autumn leaf fall from the front path and garden. It now looks highly picturesque, but is lethally slippy as soon as it starts to rain. Which it now is!
  10. Cooked anything more complicated than scrambled eggs, apart from the Thai curries I’ve been frantically preparing in the hope that copious quantities of chilli, ginger, garlic, lime juice and fresh vegetables will cure me.

I could go on, but I’m starting to depress myself further. And yes, I know that theoretically instead of blogging about my failings I could start rectifying them, but I only have an hour while my MIL looks after Sophia, and I’m in a cafe not at home, so there’s not much I actually can do out of that lot. Plus, although I’m much better than I was, I still feel pretty exhausted, and have a nasty feeling that tackling the king-sized duvet cover or the paperwork mountain could trigger an immediate relapse.

I can’t quite work out how I’m ever going to catch up with myself, especially as we’re entering the busiest time of year when I struggle to fit in all the extra shopping, baking, wrapping, social engagements and so on under normal circumstances. I’m also very much hoping to finish the first draft of my third novel by the end of the year…Arrghhh!

I need to draw some deep breaths and write a list. Lists always make everything alright. Wish me luck!

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