Fitting It All In

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The yoga teacher is disappointed in us, I’m sure.

Every week she asks us the same question.  Are we doing our yoga at home?  Just a fifteen minute practice in the mornings?  Hell, we can even do it in bed if we want to.  Yoga really is that flexible (if you’ll excuse the pun) and slides effortlessly into your daily schedule, right in between the alarm going off and the nutritious breakfast I need to instagram.

Every week I avoid answering the question, hoping that someone else will chip in with a more desirable answer.

“I did a few sun salutations whilst out running the other day!” one of my colleagues pipes up, clearly taking one for the team.

I’m not sure that a few sun salutations was the answer the teacher was looking for, but it’s a darn sight better than my one miserable stretch the other evening when in the throes of the bedtime routine I procrastinated things still further for an a toddler who had already reached peak overtired irritant by shouting enthusiastically, “let’s do some yoga before bed!” and immediately launched into downward dog in the hope that the toddler would follow suit and I would basically be Gisele Bundchen doing yoga on Copacabana Beach in a bikini, surrounded by one’s perfectly co-ordinated offspring.

The truth is, much as I love yoga-and I really do, I look forward to it all week-the only reason I can fit it in at all is because it is not only literally slotted right into my working day, but its location is my actual workplace.  True, it means I do sometimes hot-foot it over to the gym when I should really be marking a set of books, but I manage, somehow, to fit it in.  Usually, except when parents’ evening, an upcoming deadline or some other outrage stops it in its tracks, leaving me bitter and not sufficiently twisted, meaning I need to do daily stretches at the photocopier in the vain hope that my body will not entirely seize up and refuse to yield an inch at the next yoga session.

Most things, I’m afraid to say, do not fit into the schedule.  It’s not for want of planning.  I literally planned a time slot over the weekend to clean a set of pine cones we found in the woods the other week (never say my life isn’t wall to wall glamour and hedonism) ready for their anticipated use as Christmas decorations later in the year (In MAY.  Check out my ruthless alpha-mother ORGANISATION skills.  Pat on the back for me), but there are only so many hours in the day and I need to be ruthless about how I use them.

I want to say that being a single parent means time is at a premium, but I think the same is true of all parents.  Being time efficient means cutting corners and doing the things that really matter, and nothing else.  It means being ruthless, dropping the unnecessary and multi-tasking-I have recently taken up reading a book whilst breastfeeding, rather than the less socially acceptable endless scrolling of the Guardian website on my phone, the crux of which was not that I was sick of reading about Trump’s latest outrage, but that Piglet kept trying to grab the phone with his free hand whilst emitting muffled shouts of “photos, photos!” from his position latched onto my right breast.

Yes my friends, this is what happens when you breastfeed a child well into his third year.  Conversation direct from the boob.  What also happens in such situations is the familial legacy of addictive phone-watching being passed down the generations at an alarming rate, and it is this crisis in particular that I am hoping to avert, as well as the one of endless vigilance to the online news machine just in case the third world war breaks out and I need to pay immediate attention to the forthcoming destruction of the world.

Being time efficient means endlessly prioritising, list-making and ruthless efficiency.  I’m getting there, slowly but surely.  I’m not quite having it all, but I’m certainly doing it all.

Well, most of it anyway.  Just possibly not yoga.

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