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Surviving on 10%: 90% parenting

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I’m a logical, methodical person. I like structure and boundaries. I don’t really like surprises. I don’t really like going with the flow. In Sweden you might call this kontrollfreak.

It’s 2020. The year where nothing is happening as anyone expected. And, just to ramp things up a notch, we’re dipping our toes into the world of potty training/toileting with our two-year-old daughter. My toes are still ice cold. It’s been a hard couple of days.

Earlier in the week, I stood at the kitchen sink, having scraped uneaten meals into the

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compost; washing the day’s third mountain of silicone placemats, bamboo bowls and sippy cups; pouring away stone cold, dairy-filmed cups of tea. I felt blank.

It was almost 8pm. I hadn’t even started dinner. By the time that was ready I’d almost be ready for bed. Another day would have passed without the thing I crave the most – time for me.

’Me time’ is a pretty sicky expression. ’Self care’ is far more du jour. That sounds like a dig – but it isn’t.  The Blurt Foundation is a charity with self care at its heart, without the

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Instagram filters, for whom I have a great deal of respect and who have helped me so much (their Blurt Alerts – weekly emails – are a real comfort). 

Although self care has its own hashtag and has spawned a hugely-profitable growing industry, I recognise that at its core, its perfectly sensible. Maybe even essential. But self care requires time. And time is against me.

I had a sinking feeling (while at the sink). If around 90% of me is now dedicated to my daughter, how do I cram 100% of ‘old’ me into the 10% I now have left. I’m no good at

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maths, but I also know the answer: I simply can’t.

It was a bit of a headfuck. But also a real eureka moment.

Old me loved gigs, weekend city breaks, writing for pleasure, hosting dinners with friends, dancing the night away to power ballads, running, swimming, evening walks and THE PUB. Not only do I struggle to find time for those things in my life now, but I appear to have a whole new list of things that also need doing – within that spare 10%. 

I shared this equation with my lovely NCT mama gang. One of this brilliant group – mother of

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two, PhD, activist, general all-round great woman –  suggested the following:

“Do you reckon we can claw back a % of ourselves each year?”

Yes doctor, I think that’s a decent place to start.

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Out of focus image of mother and baby

- 18 Jul 20

I’m a logical, methodical person. I like structure and boundaries. I don’t really like surprises. I don’t really like going with the flow. In Sweden you might call this kontrollfreak.

It’s 2020. The year where nothing is happening as anyone expected. And, just to ramp things up a notch, we’re dipping our toes into the world of potty training/toileting with our two-year-old daughter. My toes are still ice cold. It’s been a hard couple of days.

Earlier in the week, I stood at the kitchen sink, having scraped uneaten meals into the compost; washing the day’s third mountain of silicone placemats, bamboo bowls and sippy cups; pouring away stone cold, dairy-filmed cups of tea. I felt blank.

It was almost 8pm. I hadn’t even started dinner. By the time that was ready I’d almost be ready for bed. Another day would have passed without the thing I crave the most – time for me.

‘Me time’ is a pretty sicky expression. ‘Self care’ is far more du jour. That sounds like a dig – but it isn’t.  The Blurt Foundation is a charity with self care at its heart, without the Instagram filters, for whom I have a great deal of respect and who have helped me so much (their Blurt Alerts – weekly emails – are a real comfort). 

Although self care has its own hashtag and has spawned a hugely-profitable growing industry, I recognise that at its core, its perfectly sensible. Maybe even essential. But self care requires time. And time is against me.

I had a sinking feeling (while at the sink). If around 90% of me is now dedicated to my daughter, how do I cram 100% of ‘old’ me into the 10% I now have left. I’m no good at maths, but I also know the answer: I simply can’t.

It was a bit of a headfuck. But also a real eureka moment.

Old me loved gigs, weekend city breaks, writing for pleasure, hosting dinners with friends, dancing the night away to power ballads, running, swimming, evening walks and THE PUB. Not only do I struggle to find time for those things in my life now, but I appear to have a whole new list of things that also need doing – within that spare 10%. 

I shared this equation with my lovely NCT mama gang. One of this brilliant group – mother of two, PhD, activist, general all-round great woman –  suggested the following:

“Do you reckon we can claw back a % of ourselves each year?”

Yes doctor, I think that’s a decent place to start.

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Hi, I'm Nathalie. I live in Bristol and I've been mum to the lovely Zoe since April 2018. Motherhood arrived during a very difficult time in my life - it's been both an enormous challenge and the best thing I've ever done.

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