Muddle Monday Meltdown

Muddle Monday Meltdown

The other week when I was packing for my Cape Town trip, I thought I should pack some jewellery but couldn’t decide what jewellery to pack as I have some really lovely, sentimental pieces and I don’t wear them all as often as I should. I tend to stick to one thing and then forget I have others. Like my beautiful Tiffany earrings my sister gave me as a Maid of Honour gift in Barbados. I put them on then and there and have barely taken them off and well… she is about to celebrate her 7th Wedding Anniversary in a few months’ time. So I chucked the lot into my pretty little gold zip bag and popped it into my handbag. I have bags that go in bags. Yip, that’s me. Then I forgot about it.

On Monday morning I remembered where all my lovely necklaces were so fished around my “Mary Poppins” bag, in between the light bulbs, hair clips, hand sanitiser, bribery-sweets (you know the kind you magically bring out at the last second before a massive kiddy-meltdown erupts in some, usually public, venue, or to use as the proverbial carrot to get them in the car on time for school. Well that’s what I hear, certainly not what I do. No, never.) Purse, makeup bag, sunglasses bag, hairbrush, Mylocort Cream for when I got attacked by super strength mozzies, lemon & herb flavoured Cashew nuts in a bag, a tub of almonds home-baked by my Mom, my bag with my USB charger cables for iPhone/ iPad and my earphones, a zip lock bag with little honey sachets and raisins, last week’s doctors visit statement (I think they charge so much because of all the paper and ink they use for my  statements), some lip ice… yes I am still naming items in my bag. Take note as there is a quiz at the end. How many items in Bron’s bag can you name?

To my horror, this is what emerged from my little gold bag.

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All of my individually beautiful, sentimental, fine, fragile pieces of jewellery in one massive mushy muddle of a mess.

That pretty much was the perfect photo for my muddle of a Monday start.
An effing mess that looked like it was impossible to sort.

Still on a back foot of a particular tough week prior, I suddenly felt like everything in my life has also just been chucked into a bag, albeit a much bigger version, still gold though, and emerged so inter-twined, tangled and impossible to sort.

Now take a deep breath and brace yourself… you are about to enter my mind when it is in full on stress-induced, anxiety riddled mode…..

Work emails growing as fast as the minutes tick over. Aiden on school holidays so he is nagging me for this and that while I am trying to get out the door and off to work. He was trying to setup the PS4 (which was at Tebs house, almost all the time it seems) in our lounge when I notice the HDMI cable is broken. The little end thingie was obviously still stuck in the back of Teb’s TV. Aiden must have yanked the cable out when he went to fetch it. So I stomp up to their house to retrieve this little silver cap thingie thinking why on earth I thought it would be a good idea to send Aiden to get the console in the first place, then to think why on earth I got this bloody thigie as there was no conceivable way anyone was going to get all those little wires back into their holes. I haul out the black hole of a box labelled “Wires and Cables”, take a deep breath, and dive in. 20min later we are connected, Zama has arrived, late mind you, and now I can get out the door. But wait, Zama says her boy is sick can she leave early. I have a meeting to dial into between 2-4pm. I grit my teeth and mumble something inaudible under my breath about my day and message Teb’s Mom to see if she can cover for Zama and be with Aiden until I get back. On a conference call, with Aiden in the house? Bloody insane. (Funny story, so they forgot to dial me in or skype me or whatever. No biggie, these things happen.) We love Holidays. We love holidays… said no working Mom eva! Back to my stressy-fit… more work travel to plan for, a growing list of household maintenance to tend to; replacing special LED whatever wattage light bulbs (Hence the old ones in my bag – see method to my madness) trampoline dodgy support pole to fix, a cupboard door to fix, a Kreepy Krauly that is now on strike and not moving at all – to fix, and I can’t even skim the leaves as the pool net is broken. (More on the broken items in another post I’m going to call Aiden’s Accident Advent Calendar). Oh look, the estate agent, who is the only person I know who uses SMS, just SMS’ed (For those of us born post Nokia 3310 era, SMS – Short Message Service) to ask for a viewing at 3pm. Sure, why the hell not. I advise that “I won’t be at home but my son and hopefully my neighbour will be, knock yourself out”.  I whatsapp Zama to say please just focus on making house look nice for the viewing. 12.30pm – Estate Agent SMS’s to ask if they can come at 1.30m. I shoot off a quick whatsapp to Zama “Is the house okay? No hurricane came through?” Ok all good. At 1.35 they SMS to say sorry cancelled. (F*$!^ off) Ok where was I… Prescription medication to fill – which means remembering to phone the doctors and then time is just right so that you don’t end up at Dischem with the queue snaking round all the way to the self-medication side. Which happened, 4pm on a Monday, another one of my “What was I thinking moments”. I turned around and left to fetch Ava. More pressure as I have to sort in the morning, Aiden is on his last pill, and no one wants to be around to see what happens if we miss a night.  My watch, my dear watch is nagging at me to stand up, breath, do an activity… Does stressing out count? I can’t find that option under workout? I haven’t hit my Vitality rewards goals in 2 weeks, no bloody smoothies at all, and it looks like I’m all set for a hat trick this week too. With Aiden home, going to the gym was a pipe dream. Luckily one morning, Monday, when the wifi was on, the neighbour was there so that helped. I tried convincing him to come with me to gym. Nope. My persuasion skills have zero effect on him. Except l the one morning he did finally agree after I promised that there would be sooooo many other Highbury boys there as all their moms go to the gym. We arrived at the gym to find fokkin no one. Tumble weeds at the V Club. Aiden took one look and went NOPE. So back home we went. On Thursday I thought I hit the jackpot as the boys (now Tebs was also on holiday – yay, insert deadpan, not impressed face emoji here) decided, as I was about to leave, that they wanted to go with to Ava’s school holiday club. I quickly threw in the previous night’s uneaten burgers wrapped up (It would have been hot dogs, but well, you know… that whole Listeria thing), some stale popcorn and some no-name-brand shortbread biscuits for their “snack pack” and set off.  I had a fleeting moment of calmness as I snuck into the 7.15am Pilates class at 7.19. (oops.) I got home, showered and was about to head off to work at Westville when the phone rang. It was 8.23am. It was Ava’s school principal. They boys are bored and want to be fetched. FFS. Go back to the school where I had excitedly dropped the mob there 75 minutes earlier and collect the boys, only to find Ava also waiting with her bags to be taken home. I tried to get her to stay but the crocodile tears started and eventually there we were, all back home. Luckily Zama had arrived so I did a drop and wheel spin. My Headspace meditation app now wants me to sign up for some astronomical fee, and I can’t even download another free one because… of course… the wifi went out and I am not sure when its coming back. I have a Body Corporate AGM to prepare for; confirm venue and cost, write a Chairman’s report, get all the docs ready for a handover as I’ll no longer be Chairman as I will be moving (and there is so much to sort out and pack! I need boxes and need to get rid of all the broken shit around the house) and print out the financials to review and you think I could find a printer? The home one…. you guessed it also broken.  I head off to one of my offices to use their printer. (I forgot to mention that I no longer have an office, we shut our regional office down so my Pilates studio is now a storage facility. However due to foreseen circumstances of Aiden being at home, on holiday, I can’t work from there so Westville have kindly offered me a desk.) Guess what? Theirs was broken too. It’s Tuesday and the AGM is at 6pm (keep up with me here.) It’s now 3pm and I stop by my Mom’s to use her printer. My dear Mom even bought new toner cartridges and then guess what? Yip printer broken. I email the body corporate management company and ask them to print out a set of the documents for me. 2 Seconds later queue a power outage in Durban’s greater west area. I lost track myself a bit here, I was still rambling on with my TO DO list, which also included sorting out my car insurance switch which kicks in 1st April so I had to take my car to some place in Pinetown, in Old Main Road (arggggggg) for a check before it activated. All to save R200 a month. At this point I am willing to hand over every cent I have to make this all go away. Somewhere in all this I have no groceries, and did I mention no wifi?, so I go to the coffee shop up the road to put in some time and then hit Checkers afterwards before fetching Ava. But on my way in, while still in the parking lot the boys run up to me. WTF? “I thought you were with Teb’s Mom at his school party” I say all stressed out and annoyed now. Long story short (I know, the irony right?) They told Teb’s Mom it was fine for them to stay with me, I told them to go back to Teb’s mom and go home but instead they just ended up running around the shopping centre! If I hadn’t phoned the Mom to ask her to decipher some random message she sent me, I wouldn’t have known that she was already home and the boys were running amok. I could have left the coffee shop none the wiser. I find the boys, sit them down at my table and in between work calls, I give them such a lecture that I think the shop owner also found a chair, sat down and apologised. I pack up my laptop, storm out of there with the sounds of whiny, tearful boys crying sorry and that they are hungry. “Tough!” I say. “You can eat bread at home. Lets’ go!” Of course, I was meant to stop and get groceries so I think they ate bread crusts. And back to the Chairman thing, trying to do a handover , along with a new contractor starting and the garden service guy, the same guy who threatened to sue me personally for terminating his contract, while simultaneously pestering me on whatsapp to ask if I can rethink my decision (Haha, yes sure, would love to have your professional services back, that whole you being an arse, and trying to sue me.. well lets just ignore all that) has taken it upon himself to hold our gate access remote hostage, only to return it to us on payment of an invoice which shouldn’t have been sent as we pay him in advance each month, not arrears. I mean really… THIS WEEK SUCKED! Oh, and look at that… emails have reached an all time high of 258! Not too far off my heart rate I am sure when I called Zama to check on things on the home front, only to hear in the background Aiden yelling “The trampoline snapped in half” Well on the bright side one less thing to fix.

The above hectically long paragraph, which I did on purpose, without any neat, clear breaks, and jumped around from item and day and back again, is what happens when I let anxiety get the better of me. Like the photo of my jewellery all muddled together in a huge pile, my brain takes all my thoughts and dumps them in a huge pile without any order or care, making even the littlest thing feel completely overwhelming and daunting.

I started out the week yelling at my boy “No I did not lie to you, I didn’t go to the gym, I sat in the car park, in my car and cried for 20min instead”, in front of my neighbour mind you, who was in my lounge using the wifi, who suddenly hurriedly said her goodbyes.

But I managed to bring myself towards myself and with some sound advice from friends and family, I decided;

to be kinder to myself,
not be so hard on myself,
ask for help,
accept that sometimes I do feel overwhelmed and out of control and that that’s okay.

Sometimes the things we have to deal with may seem like a huge mountain to climb, impossible even. But if you take some time out, breath, meditate even, (finally managed to download the Calm app when the wifi came home) and ask Zama to come to work on a Friday to watch to the kids in order to give me a break, I managed to end the week off  with a glass of wine and some home-made sweet potato fries having sorted pretty much all of my TO DO list.

Oh, and I finally unravelled each precious piece of jewellery, and they are back in their respective little hooks, all in order.

Perfectly Sorted.
Bron

PS. How many items can you name in my bag… without scrolling up??

Festive Frenzy Frazzle

Festive Frenzy Frazzle

Dear Diary,

It’s been two weeks since my last diary entry. Two weeks since school closed for the year and the dreaded H word began. Holidays.

Don’t get me wrong, I love holidays, I used to eagerly count the days wishing for its arrival like my kids wish for Santa to arrive, with lots of pressies in tow. Or chocolate or ice cream, or chocolate ice cream with sprinkles. (They nag… er I mean count down pretty much everything to do with presents or sugar, preferable both). Visions of rest, relaxation and reading, and sunny lazy days poolside dragged my tired, depleted mind through that last mental block of the year end frenzy.

But that was BC.  A time Before Children.

Let’s take a moment and be honest here. Firstly the fine print.
I love my children dearly, they are my everything and I absolutely love spending time with them.

But, its hard work.

And at this time of year the “Working-Mom-Juggle” becomes a Circ du soleil headline show. With schools closed, random holiday clubs, and playdates are booked, I kiss goodbye the sturdy, safe structure of routine and try my best to embrace the chaos. No more school run, gym workout, work, collection of kids, home, dinner, bedtime. Now every morning I wake up thinking which kid is doing what or going where, usually at all different times, sometimes several times in a day. The logistics involved in having the kids occupied just so that I can get a couple of hours of work done would rival the likes of a covert army ops mission into enemy territory.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I could run a JSE listed company with my eyes closed at this rate (Obviously this is no way any reference to any currently disgraced CEO’s, #Justsaying).

Just humour for me a minute here…

A simple example of a CEO CV (MOM CV notes added):

Responsibilities:

  • Informing and advising Board members
    (kids and husband – No you can’t have a sleepover it’s a weekday – Jay the plumber is coming on Thursday)
  • Managing the company’s
    Household resources – Switching from 2-ply to 1-ply in the kids’ bathroom – My en-suite still has the good stuff )
  • Stakeholder management
    (Managing the ever-changing needs of the Kids, Hubby, friends, extended family, Ngcebo!)
  • Recommending an annual budget
    (No PS4 dude, sorry it’s not in the annual budget, and tonight kids we are having spagbol again. Let’s say yay for leftovers)
  • Implementing strategic plans
    (If we organise a playdate for Aiden and then drop Ava at Mom’s then we can have 2 hours maybe? Always charge the iPads before a road trip)

Skills:

  • Leadership
    – Kids, do as I say and not as I do.
  • Organisational skills
    – As above, party planning, playdates, socials
  • Analytical thinking
    – School holiday club will cost be R100 per day, however the Gym Kids club is free
  • Strategic planning – Plan a short holiday break AFTER the free holiday club dates – see how clever I was there?
  • Time management
    – Doing 8 hours of work in 4 – ask me how 🙂
  • The ability to work under pressure
    – “Mom can we go to the shops and get Top Trump Cards now”  x 100 – nagged in my ear whilst compiling emails, and organising playdates on Whatsapp, and holding the dog back from attacking the monkeys in the yard. It can be done people.
  • Communication abilities
    – I can ask the kids to turn the TV down in 3 different languages, at 6 different volumes – one so high only dogs can hear me, all while standing on my head. Try it. I read that P!nk says she sings better upside down too.
  • Supervisory skills
    – I have eyes at the back of my head,  and ears as sharp as a bat. I know the sound of Lego being dumped on the floor or hot chocolate sneakily being make for 6 friends.

I am available with 15 year’s notice (Stll in current role), I have no annual leave and my salary expectations are extremely high.

I digressed a little there, so holidays….

Two weeks into the holidays and with a little under two weeks to go until Christmas, I am at the precipice where I want to and should have been…..all sorted, ready and prepared ahead of time for the festive season.  Which means I should have sorted out the gifts, the Christmas day lunch menu, got the house in order etc etc all before this Friday, because as we all know too well, the world as we know it ends on the 16th December each year.

Alas, this has not gone to plan and next week is fast approaching where I will inevitably end up joining the rest of the masses who couldn’t get their act together and are now frantically rushing around the shops which, a week out from Christmas, have probably packed away the crackers and are stocking Valentine’s Day goodies.

I was hoping for a nice December festive season “wind down”, however it appears to be more and more prevalent each year that the “wind down” is more of a “wind up”. Urgent work calls, last minute issues, people that I have not heard from all year are suddenly coming out the woodwork with random requests. Really? Now? I am pretty sure they are just trying to clear their inbox, like the rest of us, and finding reasons to keep me chained to my laptop and phone until the world ends.

Please, I beg, everyone go on leave now. I am done, finished, kaput. I am suffering from Festive Frenzy Frazzle and am desperately dragging myself to the finish line, the big “H”.

Ahh…Holidays – That joyous time of year where I have to look after my own kids 24/7 (and by that I mean it feels like they are awake all 24 hours of the day) , clean my own house 24/7 (and by that I mean really clean, like clean the cleaning appliances) and cook 24/7,  (and by that I mean feed the masses at least  3 times a day. I could possibly get away with twice a day – 6 times a day for Ngcebo)

And to think there I was this morning complaining about packing a lunch box. Little did I know.

But, for now, the thoughts of me on a sun lounger, book in one hand, glass of champagne in the other overlooking a crystal clear pool is the only thing that is going to get me to Friday morning.

The Holiday season, perfectly sorted.


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The joyous occasion of putting up the F*%$!ng Christmas Trees

The joyous occasion of putting up the F*%$!ng Christmas Trees

It’s that time of the year again. The time of year that pushes my anxiety and stress levels to the max. The joyous occasion of putting up the F*%$!ng Christmas Trees. Thank you to the Germans for starting this special tradition back in the 16th Century. It was supposed to chase away witches, ghosts, evil spirits and illness. Tall order for a nowadays fake, plastic green tree temporarily stuck in a plant pot that only 5 minutes earlier was trying to keep a mango tree alive. (Long story, it was supposed to be a lemon tree and it turned out it was a mango tree and well.. actually, it was a short story, I didn’t like the mango tree so it got turfed).

Continue reading “The joyous occasion of putting up the F*%$!ng Christmas Trees”