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Like most women I know I’m juggling. I have kids and all their myriad bits and pieces they need from me – support, and clean clothes, and food, and taxi-ing, and more support, and reading their stories, and tidying their rooms, and checking homeworks, and buying Munchy seeds and chocolate doughnuts and the list goes on and on. I have a dog to see to, and fish to remember to feed, and a cat to occasionally say hello to (we’re not sure where he now resides, but it’s not here. Unless he decides it is. And then he goes again. I like the cat…)

I have my house and the need for it to be at least hygeinic and have the beds made, and some sort of attempt at dusting, and the recycling cleared, and the bins emptied. I have a weekend trip to plan for and dogs to get to kennels and injections had so the kennels will take the dog.

At the house I have the garden (and until recently an allotment) – with onions to be weeded and broccoli to be netted and raised, and lavender to de-head, and planters to sort out.

I have work. Two jobs. Both of which are busy. I have students sending me work, people asking for meetings, assignments to assess, reports to write. There is no day where I couldn’t pick up something that needed doing. Since I work for myself, I have an office to maintain, and accounts to keep up to date and filing to do.

And then, on top of that, I choose an incredibly time-consuming – I struggle to call it a hobby, and might call it a passion. A passion I’ve had limited time recently to pursue, one that makes my fingers tingle when I ignore it and tears at the back of my mind wanting to get some attention paid to it. I want to write, but really, what I need is someone to open my brain and pour out the contents of the new story and make life easy.

Today, the kids are at school. My husband (who, to be fair, takes less maintenance than the rest of the menagerie and even manages to put on washes and do useful things) is at work. I wanted to look at Christmassy gifty-things so I didn’t ask my mum wanted to go shopping with me (sorry, Mum, look away…) like I normally do. The house is tidy, done yesterday by someone who wasn’t me but is very kind (make that less than low maintanance but actually reasonably self-sufficient). There is just me and the dog and the fish for another two hours.

I plan to finish this blog. I plan to write a chapter. I plan to have lunch and go for a walk in the winter sunshine and pick up my kids. While they eat seeds and doughnuts, and veg in front of the telly, I’ll pop on a wash with their uniforms and sit with it whirring softly in the background, and write another chapter. Then I’ll have a cup of tea and not worry about cooking because my husband cooked something yesterday (did I say low maintenance? He is a saint.)

My work is staying in the in-tray until Monday. No one will be inconvenienced by this. No one is waiting on me to deliver to them right now, this minute.

And in this state of being, of not rushing, of breathing one breath after another because I have time to, the story I’m writing is unfolding, the next chapters becoming known, and all because, for once, I found a little space in my busy life. And it reminds me I need to do it more than I do, and that it’s good for me and everyone who relies on me, or wants my company, or who wants to hear me laughing and not have me tearing my hair out.

So, I wonder – have you planned your bit of free time? A little coffee shop with just you at the table (I did that this morning, how naughty!) Have you got a corner to curl up with a book, or to stare at the garden and just be. And if you haven’t – should you?


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