Sometimes we just have to accept defeat...
Doctors, especially cardiologists don’t usually give up. There’s rarely a case we say ‘no’ to. We take on even the most challenging of cases no matter how impossible they may seem.
Being a doctor was my major identity since January 2016 and since becoming a mother, my mindset was similar. However challenging the day ahead may seem with 2 under 2, I still have difficulty in saying no to appointments, meet ups and general gatherings. Even if I know it will be a struggle, I am forever (too) optimistic I will manage (even if others couldn’t).
Rather buoyantly, I accepted an invitation to attend the baptism of one of my best friend’s daughters. I also had promised I would go to my parents’ house for tea around 4pm later that day. I knew it was on a weekend, a Sunday to be exact, the day I usually like to make no plans. The ceremony was to start at 11am, the time when Alyvia is due to have her lunch and get ready for her two hour afternoon nap. It was also the day the clocks went back and although in the back of my mind I thought we may run into some problems adjusting to the new timings, I was still determined not to miss this important occasion to support my friend. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could manage. After all, I am MummyCleverdoc aren’t I?
A day in my life as a doctor on a Sunday would consist of a similar scenario:- I would be determined to see and treat as many patients as possible who came through the emergency doors so as not to keep them waiting too long and also not to leave too much work for my colleagues who would later take over from me after 12 hours (or 16!!). It would be a challenging task but I would keep going (sometimes skip eating) to achieve this personal standard. I secretly enjoyed the satisfaction that came along with it when I had accomplished it all.
Cleverdoc vocalised his reservations that Sunday morning and like he usually does, wondered why I had taken on such an absurd invitation without a second thought.
‘We have two to think about here, what about their nap times and feeding times and Sophia has a fever...’ he just reeled off all excuses. It sounded like blah blah blah in my head anyway.
That morning, Alyvia and Sophia woke at 6am rather than 7am due to the clocks going back. This would mean Alyvia would need her afternoon nap at 11am but I thought I could keep her up for the ceremony and then let her sleep straight afterwards. Then there was the issue of when I would feed her and if she slept for 2 hours after wards, she would most likely miss playing with the other children. I should have known then that we could only commit to attending the ceremony and not the lunch afterwards but again, stubborn old me wanted to conquer the WHOLE event.
The morning was a struggle as I could see Alyvia getting tired by 10am. As we left for the church, no amount of entertainment or loud music could keep her wake. She fell asleep along with Sophia. Transferring the sleeping 2 into our enormous double buggy when we arrived took longer than we thought. At 11.15, we managed to rush into the church. People were leaving and I couldn’t quite spot my friend or her daughter. We hovered around in the foyer with our buggy which was clearly too big to fit through the aisles, waiting for a familiar face. Finally when we saw my friend, she mentioned she was taking her older child to the kids play area and that we could follow her while we wait for Alyvia to awake. Little did she know that Alyvia had just started her 2-hour afternoon nap.
Alyvia hadn’t eaten anything before she slept and I knew she would be starving when she woke up. The church had begun their Sunday service . I didn’t want to be rude so didn’t ask when the actual ceremony would be as I was anxious about the little ones waking up. CD gave me the ‘Why are we even here..’ look and I just glared back at him.
I went to find my friend in the playroom and skirted around the topic about the ceremony. Much to my joy, she informed me that the ceremony started at 11am sharp and had finished by 11.15am!! Luckily she wasn’t upset we had totally missed the entire event. We were however annoyed with ourselves. I didn’t dare look in CD’s direction as I knew what he would say. Regardless, he came to me anyway and made it clear that we should just leave…the girls were sleeping, all the other children were playing, lunch would be served soon and Alyvia would be sleeping so she would miss all of it.
I didn’t want to just leave and offend her so I told him we would stay for a bit and watch the children play. So while MY kids slept, I helped my friend entertain all the other children for 45 minutes or so. CD just stood in the corner of the room guarding the buggy. They didn’t wake up through any of the shouts or screams.
An hour later, there were no signs of Alyvia waking up but Sophia woke for a feed. While I fed her, I thought about how I had failed this task. It was now almost 1.30pm. The whole day was a shambles and I felt rotten. It was as if I had gone to work and only spoken to patients but not examined them therefore resembling a poor consultation and an even poorer service.
In a similar way, I didn’t see the point of attending the church but missing the ceremony and all the other activities that had been scheduled?
Back in the church hall, lunch was being served and while we picked on food (Alyvia was still sleeping), we decided we would call it a day. My attempts to revive this disaster of a day had failed and CD was clearly annoyed with me with how I had planned this day.
We got in the car and as soon as we started driving, Alyvia woke up. She was hungry and ready to play. We rushed to my mum’s house to give her a late lunch. She would be due to start her bedtime routine in less than 2 hours! As a result, the whole day dragged and we ended up outing them to bed late.
Suprisingly, we were mentally exhausted and I felt guilty thinking I may have let my friend down earlier.
The doctor in me would have never had an unproductive day like this and I certainly would not have stopped what I was doing . I would have tried to turn the situation around, stayed back at work late and caught up, helped out my colleagues and gone back to see the patients I felt that I didn’t give enough time to.
I should have just accepted that this was going to be a challenge and possibly only taken Alyvia. I should have also packed some food with me in case Alyvia was hungry and there was no food available. After realizing we had missed the ceremony and that Alyvia would be asleep for the next 2 hours, we should have left much earlier. My friend would have understood. If that had happened, we would not have been so behind for the rest of the day and the girls would have made it to bed on time and happy. So many ‘should haves’ came to mind later.
We all learn from our experiences and as much as I am a people-pleaser and have a habit of putting too many things on my plate, I have to accept that I can’t do it all…especially sometimes if it's to the detriment of my children. Perhaps, when I return to work, I can practise this too and actually make it home in time for bedtime!
How did you all find the clock’s going back affected your routines and your children?
Leave me a comment! I would love to hear how you tackle these kinds of things!