What’s Up?

I’m kind of vague when I talk about what it is that I’m so busy doing, that keeps me from blogging or being present in my interwebs circles in general.

Generally, it’s because getting into the details would probably bore you to death but largely it’s because I’m lazy.

But I was thinking about it this morning – about what’s happening in my life and why I feel so exhausted at the moment – and I realised that my life is actually pretty hectic right now!

Jack going to big school this year is a major catalyst for changes to the way my day runs and, frankly, I don’t think I would stand the slightest chance if I hadn’t removed myself from social media. (Yes, the fact that I mention this in every single post so far has not escaped my attention – clearly, it’s a big deal for me.) Even so, it seems to me I’m not nearly organised enough at this point. I’m trying, though, and we generally seem to get through each day with everyone having gotten to where they needed to be with what  they needed to have. I’m still struggling in a big way to find a routine that we can groove into.

Jack’s school day finishes earlier than Megan and Michael’s, so I’ve been doing 2 school runs in the afternoons. While we wait for the older kids to finish, I do homework with Jack. This week, though, I’ve decided to let them each pick an after school activity to attend. Michael has chosen chess, which happens on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Megan has chosen Tennis, which happens to be at the same times on the same days. Jack signed himself up for cricket last week – I arrived to pick them all up from school on Friday to find Jack on the field, doing his thing. This is fine – I think I’m going to enjoy spending an hour or so outdoors every Friday afternoon while he gets to run off some excess energy. Also, the school offers “story time” in the library on the days that the older kids finish later, so Jack will be going to the library on those days from this week and he’s also keen to try chess, which means I don’t have to keep doing 2 school runs! Then I’ll just have to figure out how to keep helping Jack with his homework. Thankfully, he’s enjoying school and loves doing his homework!

Now, I’ve been a mom of 4 for almost 5 years and pretty much everyone I meet asks me how I manage. The truth is, until now, I’ve only really had to manage 2 of the 4 kids most of the time, because  the younger two were both at a pre-primary near David’s office and he would drop them off in the morning and pick them up on his way home in the afternoons. Plus, I wasn’t bothered with the older two doing extra murals, so I really only had to pick them up after school and bring them home.

Now, that’s all changed and I’m in awe of moms like Laura, who have been doing the soccer/cricket/swimming/dancing, 3 different schools madness for ages and still find time to blog, Facebook, tweet and run a household.

That said, I also have a business to run, one that has undergone a number of growing pains and identity changes over the past three years or so. I’ve gone from promoting someone else’s company and product to participating in research and development of an entirely new product, starting up a company with partners and finally breaking away from the partners to set up on my own in a very much male-dominated industry.

We have the basics down – company name, production setup in place, product labels and a large order, which we are producing and delivering in smaller quantities over a period of time. We manufacture in the evenings and over weekends, meaning David and I mix the paint ourselves outside of normal working hours. I take care of all the logistics behind this – sourcing and collecting raw materials, delivering product to clients, handling sales and enquiries, etc.

In the meantime, I have to get stuck into market research and marketing campaigns and get on top of the accounting admin.

Then, there’s the household. We now have a domestic who comes in twice a week and I LOVE her! She is a fantastically hardworking lady with the sunniest personality and impeccable integrity. I wish I could employ her full time because then my house would always be spotless.

Outside of keeping the house clean, there’s also the cooking and feeding 8 people daily is interesting!

My mom and sister live with us and my mom is a diabetic plus she and I both have Hashimoto’s, which means special dietary needs. We also have 4 kids in the house, some of who are extremely fussy eaters *cough, cough, JACK cough*.

I started trying to eat and cook gluten free when I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s almost 2 years ago now. It is still a struggle. Eating completely gluten free means that I have to bake my own bread, cakes, biscuits, etc. Yes, there are more and more gluten free products available on supermarket shelves but buying them in sufficient quantities to feed 8 people is simply not economically viable. My family eats 2 standard size loaves of bread daily. A ready made gluten free loaf costs 3 times as much and is half the size, meaning I would need to buy 4 loaves daily. At R36 per loaf, it would cost me R3168 on an average month with 22 working days just to buy bread. Not going to happen.

Also, if I were my kids, I would be so utterly sick of bread by now. Obviously, I don’t eat much bread because baking it takes too much time. So I’ve started looking into Paleo. Not because I want to lose weight or whatever but because if it’s Paleo, you know it’s good for you.  Lots of protein, lots of fresh veggies, everything is low GI for my diabetic mom and it’s perfect for those of us in the house who could do with dropping a few kg. Also, it eliminates the issue of having to bake completely because Paleo is totally grain free.

The thing with Paleo, though, is that it requires planning and learning a new cooking style, which also takes time. And since I’m the only one who actually is serious about really eating healthy, I’m the one who does most of the cooking. Which means researching, finding recipes, finding time to get to the shops and buying ingredients we don’t usually have in the house, etc. Also, no grains means no cakes, biscuits, etc. Which doesn’t help to get the family on board.

Our diet is one of my biggest challenges at the moment. Without buy-in and support from the rest of the family, I fall off the wagon a LOT. And I pay the price every time, too. Eating gluten drains me of energy, bloats me, leaves me sluggish and foggy-headed, sometimes for several days afterward. Which doesn’t help when I need to get up early in the morning to run.

And getting up early in the morning to run is the only option, if I am going to keep at it. Which means getting to bed no later than 10PM. Running is how I relieve stress and spend time on my own, doing something just for myself, so it’s a non-negotiable. It’s also how I challenge myself and build self-discipline. I signed up for the Old Mutual Om Die Dam half marathon this week, which leaves me just under 7 weeks to train. So, eating right and getting enough sleep is a big deal right now.

Reading over this post so far, I really don’t have more on my plate than any other working mom does but it feels messy and overwhelming because I’m so disorganised. I’m working on planning things better and being more efficient in getting things done. I think one of the most useful things I’ve started doing is making lists. I’ve done this in the past but it never lasts and, if I’m honest, it’s because I haven’t been using lists these past few days that I woke up today feeling like everything is out of control. That and because I forgot to take my thyroid stuff yesterday, ate two (wheat flour) cupcakes on Monday and haven’t gotten around to finishing some of the things I was supposed to do over the weekend.

So, starting now, I’m picking up my pretty Graphic diary from MillaMae again today and noting down all the things I have to get done, and starting over.  Also, David brought me a diary from work – a corporate gift from one of his suppliers – which I’ve decided is going to be used for managing the kids’ schedules, homework and activities.

This year, I’m going to win at life!

How are you doing in 2015 so far?



5 Replies to “What’s Up?”

  1. My goodness that sounds hectic! I’m struggling with 5 of us in the house and a full-time helper :/
    And you’ve just reminded me to sign up for Om Die Dam 🙂 See you there

    1. Ah, I’m so glad there’ll be at least one familiar face at Om Die Dam! I’m guessing I’ll probably be eating your dust, though, since you’ve been waaaay more consistent in your training! Still – it’ll be nice to grab a coke/coffee/water/juice after and compare notes?

  2. I feel the disorganised thing! I feel like I’m just ahead of the tidal wave!

    Also the eating thing is a nightmare… I got all sorts of whining when I tried to go carb free. Sigh,

  3. Why don’t you just buy a loaf of gluten free bread for yourself, mom & whoever is gluten intolerant, and buy normal loaves for the others, you don’t have to buy the same bread for everyone, thus making it more affordable. You state that you’d have to buy X amount of loaves but you wouldn’t, just enough for the gluten intolerants and the others you buy regular bread, it’s like you didn’t think of that….. not being rude, just pointing out the obvious as it may help 🙂

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Chan. We bake a gluten free loaf every day (it’s cheaper than buying) for those of us who can’t eat gluten and buy normal bread for the rest.

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