They say if you want a job done, give it to a busy person. Well, I’m sure we can all claim to be one of those – 21st-century living demands no less.
But for me, over the past four months, the levels of being busy have multiplied tenfold – and so, miraculously, has my ability to get things done. I started my maternity leave in October and the first month was, as you might expect, not very productive – well, unless you count producing a baby, which I have to say was no mean feat. But, in terms of the tasks of everyday living – cooking, cleaning, responding to emails and keeping in touch with family and friends – all this went out the window and was replaced by a blur of 24-hour-cycles (day and night ceased to exist), during which I spent precious time with my daughter.
It was marvellous.
I have no complaints about sleepless nights or changing nappies, because it is all part and parcel of the gift of motherhood.
As I entered the second month of my leave, and of my daughter’s life, things started to change. The concept of day and night re-emerged and I began to return to a world I had briefly left behind. I now faced a new challenge – how to get things done when your life is on a strict schedule of feeds and naps.
As I became more confident in my motherhood skills, and our little girl got more used to life in the big wide world, I achieved new levels of efficiency.
I learnt to eat any meal in super-quick time. I learnt to pile her buggy full of groceries while timing my supermarket visits with her nap.
And, most importantly, I learnt how to nap during the day. The biggest hurdle came when, in the third month of my leave, we moved house.
We are lucky that in the UAE it is easy, and affordable, to hire great companies who will pack and unpack for you.
However, I forgot quite how much there is to do when relocating – and that’s without a baby to contend with as well.
Once you have a little one, the amount of stuff such a tiny person accumulates is astounding.
The day after our move, I found myself swimming in a sea of boxes and piles of random things scattered everywhere. This was when I had to use my newfound efficiency.
By this point I was well used to my baby’s cycle, so I began to divide my time accordingly. When she was awake, I would be there for her. As soon as she slept, I would whizz around the house at top speed, multitasking like a trooper.
Sometimes I would get all the chores done, have food defrosting for dinner, make myself a much-needed cup of tea and be thinking about lunch, only to realise it was only 10am.
Then, I’d have to set my mind to unpacking another bag.
Now that I am back at work, I’m very grateful to have acquired these new skills – because I just added a whole lot more to my to-do list.