Couch to 5K
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Will I ever get back on track? :(

I am dropping in for a whinge, mostly. I am really struggling to fit a run in considering the problems I mentioned earlier regarding my schedule (and kids). I am really doing my best. I have had to drop the idea of running before work as it just doesn't fit between school runs and work. I am the only adult at home so even if I got up super early to go out before we need to get ready - which would mean being on the street at 5 am - it would mean leaving my three young children home alone, which is obviously a no. I have childcare but it literally just covers my working hours and the time it takes to collect the other kids (I have children in different schools far from each other so I split the school runs with the babysitter). I work a six-day week so I am already forking out half my salary on childcare. I tried nonetheless to engage another babysitter to give me a couple of hours during the week to run, but it fell through this week and I need more reliable help.

My husband is home this weekend so I'll be out again on Sunday morning, but once a week maximum is obviously not enough.

I am trying to modify the childcare situation to find a way of getting better cover for my money and if it works it should resolve my problem, but I am so frustrated in the meantime. I seriously have to battle just to get to the supermarket at the moment. The children have varying and super-complicated exit times now which has made school runs the bane of my existence. As you know my job is fairly demanding and three kids are no joke. My middle son, A, who is a sweetheart, also has a few difficulties (slight dyslexia but we are following a diagnostic path linked to autism spectrum disorder, although not sure where that will lead), and these issues are very demanding. My kids also receive a crazy amount of homework, which is ok up to a point but it is basically filling up our evenings, and A needs particular help (though he is bright and doing really well this year so far).

I haven't even eaten a proper meal at home this week as it just seemed that every evening despite all my efforts it was as if the wheels just flew off. This week there have been about a million of those irritations and things to deal with that every family has, and I am fed up of being the only one all the time. I have a ton of stuff to read for work too, and I just want to hide in a cave. And also RUN!

Thanks for tolerating my whinge! I'll find a solution, it's just I am getting impatient...

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Take heart you are not alone but don't forget to look after yourself. If you can only manage one run at the moment it is not an issue though I suspect you are itching to get out and have some me time. Take care hopefully things will calm down and sort themselves out. Feel free to vent your frustrations if you need to

Michael

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Thanks, Michael. I actually felt irritated with myself for whining about what is after all not a life-threatening problem but I knew you would all understand the frustration of not being able to get out there!

Yesterday I tried to do half an hour of other exercise at home - I do make an effort to fit something in and I believe the children should be able to grant me that - but I swear they called me every few seconds. In fairness it seemed they were definitely having an off day yesterday. They are starting to feel the effects of the new school year starting now. The three month summer break is far too long and returning is a big shock. They spent a lot of time in the south with my husband's family this summer, and they have a very different routine there - very late nights and long afternoon siestas, none of which is compatible with our everyday life, so they are still adjusting.

I do eat btw - I am generally quite a big eater! It's just that this week I have eaten badly, on the hoof rather than at the table. I loathe this, and it's not a habit. It's just been a rubbish week with too many worries and time-swallowing nuisances.

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While it is nice for the mob to visit grandparents they do tend to spoil them and sometimes forget there is a routine to go back to I had the same thing with mine okay a long time ago but it was a nightmare getting them back into normal daily life. You could try some emotional blackmail by saying mum's going to do some exercise if you need me you can join in with me or do your own thing until i have finished.

Michael

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You're right! In fairness they are good and quite reasonable, but they are still young too.

They seem to understand the idea that mum wants to do exercise and oddly I think that it makes me cooler in their eyes, especially if it involves the kettlebell :D

Also when my husband comes back at the weekend he brings the southern routine with him and it is a huge nuisance for me. I always try to insist that he respects what I am trying to do during the week but it doesn't really work, and since we have had this experience before (he lived away for two years just after my third was born) I know that it will probably not change.

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Whine away, it probably makes you feel better and it sounds like you need it at the moment. You definitely need some "me time" whether you spend it running or not! Hope you get some soon.

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Thanks Nikki! I think it is that eternal mum thing of feeling pushed out of your own life. I realise I don't have a great level of patience at the moment either, partly I think as I am tired and have been feeling a bit under the weather, but also as I really do need to recharge mentally too. I seem to have a million little worries and things to remember and would love a moment to clear my mind and return to them with more calm and focus.

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"Feeling pushed out of your own life", yes I recognise that feeling. I have also been in a situation with three young kids, a job (albeit working from home) and partner working away. I felt like there was no slack in my life, every minute had to be tightly scheduled or the whole thing would fall apart. It will get easier, I promise! Yes, go and talk to the neighbour. That is an essential first step. Also, swap lives with your husband for a week. I'm kidding, obviously. But I'm pretty sure that he has absolutely no conception of what your life is actually like. When I was in your situation the whole thing was made more difficult by the fact that my husband expected to have the weekend off when he came home. Do what you can, be kind to yourself and things will get easier as your kids get older.

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I think you have understood my situation perfectly. This is exactly the problem - my husband also has no idea at all of what all this involves and also expects a weekend off in which he can also offload all the stress accumulated during the week. I need more active participation (and also economically - it seems that the home and family are all my problem now, and tbh this is my major underlying problem as much of the rest could be resolved if this issue was - for instance, I could really do without having to take on extra work).

The kids are great and obviously day to day I do have less to do than I did when my husband was home too, but fundamentally I just need some moments for myself, for pleasure (running or reading) but also for some of the basics of life (dull stuff, dentists, my son's fairly regular medical appointments, work I need to bring home, that kind of thing) that I really need to be able to do without all three kids in tow.

It's good to hear from someone who has "been there, done that", and to know it gets better!

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Wow that is a very busy schedule. I thought mine was busy but there are 2 adults here so makes things that little bit easier for me even if he does only get home at 7pm. Anything is better than nothing though. You’re doing amazing and hopefully the new childcare arrangements will be in place soon so you can get that time to yourself just that little bit! Xx

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My goodness, no wonder you need to let off steam! I know you really want to follow the programme 'properly', but it sounds like the last thing you need is another thing to organise in your life. It's super-important that you somehow find time for yourself, but don't put too much pressure on yourself. Just run when you can and slowly but surely build up. I keep hearing about the 'miles in your legs' - i.e. it's all about building up slowly but surely. If it's only one run per week it will take longer, but you will keep getting stronger. You've already cracked the C25K anyway... it's just practice from here to the podium.

Be gentle to yourself and grab whatever breaks you can to build up the miles in your legs!

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How old are your kids? And how responsible? Please everyone don't send me to social services but I leave the 9 year old watching tv with the 4 year old while I head out for half an hour. She knows how to call my cellphone should he (for example) cut off a toe while trying to get an orange or knocking himself out playing Spiderman while watching TV. When I get back they are always still watching TV, still conscious and with toes intact :-). She has often poured them drinks or got fruit out of the basket. Then I make a *very* simple dinner, maybe soup but often a plate of plain vegetables, ham, cheese, and crackers for them and leftovers for me.

I always have more energy and patience when I return than when I leave.

Of course I have posted a list of other numbers in case something should happen to *me* and I don't return -- dad, grandpa, grandma, auntie, uncle, etc. We have talked about it all also.

My nine-year-old is ultra reliable but perhaps one of yours is too?

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Hi, and thanks for replying! I think I'm heading towards this soon-ish. My eldest will be 11 next Friday :) and she's pretty reliable and now runs local errands. They are all very good but I am just aware of the fact that there are three of them. I'd love to go out in the very early morning when they are sleeping anyway. I probably wouldn't have overthought this too much until there was a major fire outside our house a year or so back - someone just banged on our door at 4 am yelling "Fire!" which was a horrid way to wake up!

My second, the boy I mentioned in my first message, worries me more. He is actually very cautious but can get very anxious, and I'd worry about him stressing the others. However he will be nine next May, and he is always keen to show me he can be responsible. The four year old is surprisingly mature for his age and does what I tell him.

We have an annoying situation with household rubbish, that can only be taken out (and to a specific location) between 8 and 10.30 at night, so I normally skip out at 8 ish and leave them for what is only in effect about 5 minutes, and everything is always fine. So I think this option will open up before too long.

Your message made me think, though - the neighbour (apartment on same floor) is a single mother with two children and a live-in nanny. I am tempted to ask her if we can have a reciprocal agreement that in situations like this our children can ring the bell next door if necessary, in addition to being able to call etc. Might also be a good way of initiating a friendship - she can seem a bit unfriendly but my suspicion is that it's just a question of being perpetually stressed, under pressure and a bit unsure of us too.

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PS I always have this image that in my absence they are juggling burning torches while sitting on barrels of kerosene!

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That's a really good idea about the neighbour. I have two younger sisters and was brought up by my dad, and I remember he had an arrangement in place that if we were worried about anything while he was out working evenings, to go round to the neighbour. (Don't think we ever needed to do it, but def would have done so.)

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I'm really feeling for you HeleneCorsa. It's so hard, and when it's all legitimately overwhelming and there genuinely isn't the support you need.

Definitely get some phone numbers from neighbours and leave them by the phone in the house, so even the youngest can call if they need to. My eldest is 13 but she feels reassured having the neighbours' numbers - even if for instance someone creepy kept knocking on the door when I was away, she knows someone can walk down and see what's going on.

Also -

Your "eternal mum thing of feeling pushed out of your own life" rang so true. I wrote my own whinge yesterday and then deleted it.

I know school gets in the way (and is the source of so many problems), but one thing I did in the summer is I took my two to the park with me and I ran laps around the edge. It's not a track and the ground might be uneven, but it helped them to see that I'm committed, and they were able to get some fresh air and play on the swings while I kept an eye on them, going round and round and round.

On rainy days doing wii dance together can be something that helps you feel you've done something, and you've done something together with them, and it can change the energy in the house.

Good luck. You're doing so well hoding it all together. I hope you have a good weekend and your husband appreciates all you're doing x

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Thank you for your understanding and thoughtful reply, and I am sorry you are having troubles of your own. I suppose we can draw comfort from knowing we are far from being alone.

Dancing with the kids is a great idea and I know they love this. We don't have a wii but I am seriously toying with the idea as I think we would get a lot of fun out of it. It is definitely true that this changes the energy at home.

I also need to experiment more with running with the kids at the park. Weather is also far less of a problem for us here fortunately (and this is the loveliest season in Rome). At the moment I do a lot of panic-sprinting after my son on his bike to prevent him squashing innocent bystanders!

I've realised that even tomorrow, Sunday, I am double-booked with unavoidable (i.e. non-fun) stuff and am risking a triple-booking. Also with a papal trip (within Italy though) I am going to have my work cut out for me. There is never a break, is there? Arrgghhh! At least I should fit my run in early tomorrow morning, which I'm already excited about!

Thanks again! Hugs.

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Whinge away.

The forum isnt just here for 'I just ran Week xx Run xx.

Its for advice on all things running. And you asked a question that related to your running.

Once a week is still good if only for the fact that it is YOU time.

After a week of zipping all over the place you need some time for YOU.

And we will all be here if you need to rant.

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Thank you for being so supportive! :)

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Running is not supposed to be an extra stress in your life, an extra imposition in an already straining schedule. How about you just accept that for now it's once a week (unless you did Friday night Sunday morning, but then you would see even less of the old man!).

You can get back into 3 x running when the holidays come round or when your childcare gets easier. But please don't be cross with yourself. You are doing the best that you can at work and at home. Well done. As for moaning; good flor the soul 👍

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You are right! I think the annoying thing is that I am really itching to be out there, as I know it makes me feel good (and less stressed). But as you say, I need to accept that this is how things are for now.

Unfortunately my husband never seems to arrive until very late - usually the wee small hours of Saturday morning so our time is pretty limited anyway - I work on Saturdays.

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Crikey...you are Wonder Woman...I also have three children but I’m lucky enough to be able to stay home, I don’t know how you juggle everything, hats off with admiration...I hope you find a solution soon because I know how much you want to get out there...I’ve got everything crossed for you x

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Thank you! I am testing different solutions as I do need more cover in general. I have put so many of my things on hold - dental appointments, doctors appointments, bureaucratic stuff for my citizenship application - that really need to be dealt with and I need to be able to do more without having the entire gang with me.

Also getting stuff done in Italy is often a very different experience to the UK... Yesterday for instance I waited AGES in the post office to then be told it was not handling post that afternoon, only banking and other functions. I nearly lost it, felt like yelling BUT THIS IS A BLOODY POST OFFICE!!! Often here it's as if you push the button and nothing happens (or everything blows up!).

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So frustrating...😡😡 gosh, I’m cross for you!!! You must be tearing your hair out x

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Helene I don't have the children issues, but I know exactly what you mean on getting things done here. It tries the patience of a saint, maybe that's why there are so many saints... they've all tried getting something done at a Post Office. No solutions I'm afraid just sympathy and an open ear if you want to rant feel free to do so. Sometimes just letting it go helps. Take care and hope the neighbour idea bears fruit. She may like the idea of her children playing with bi-lingual children...

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Yesterday I walked into the post office, collected my number, and was called instantly! Good Lord, a miracle!! I nearly dropped dead of heart failure. And so I managed to send a simple package, an operation that has taken me three weeks and several aborted attempts.

(My favourite ever post office story was when I walked in just at the moment that a man at the counter had clearly reached his limit. He threw both arms in the air, intoned in a wonderful baritone "Vaffanculo! Vaffanculo! Vaffanculo!", then turned around, took a bow, said "Ladies and gentlemen, I bid you a good evening", and flounced out).

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I feel for you HeleneCorsa! It is hard to find any time for yourself when you have young children especially for you when your husband is away. Grab any chance you can when he is home and I hope you get your me time sorted soon!

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Is there a chance of starting a network of expats who live in your area (not sure where you are) so you can gather a mutually supportive group? Or generally putting out the feelers amongst the school mums for people who are potential friends/in the same position as you? When my children were small a group of school mums were lifesavers for me. We all had various difficulties at home (single parenthood, disabled children to care for, unreliable childcare, no local family support) so chipped in to help each other at the drop of a hat. And the 'talking' support was as precious as the practical. Really feel for you in your situation, but it will change, trust me. As has been said, enjoy and gain strength from any chance you get for time to yourself but the children will be grown up before you know it and you'll have more time than you know what to do with. You're doing an amazing, precious job - well done and good luck. 🤞

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Thank you, and you are right!

My children have been at the same school for a while and it's a great group of people but we are not really in the same area. That said I know I receive a lot of help from them. For instance, on Fridays my daughter usually goes to a friend's house after school as they finish school early that day.

The expat angle tends to be a bit less helpful I find - of course there are many with families but the overall way of living, and expectations, tend to be different. I should find out a bit more though. I don't really fit with the typical expat profile and have been here ages so it's a long time that I've really had anything to do with it, but that doesn't mean it has nothing to offer - need to find out a bit more.

I think support networks of this type are brilliant but what I am lacking is a satisfactory basic everyday structure, as I find I am having to spend too much time just resolving day to day issues that should be running like clockwork by now. I don't have the time to be arranging things ad hoc day by day, or receiving and making scores of telephone calls at work just to keep up domestic arrangements. Family life is not simple, is it?

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I completely empathise! I'm struggling to fit runs in with a demanding job, a child and a partner who is out of the house a couple of evenings a week and some weeks ends doing music stuff. Early mornings are ok but wake my other half up too early and by the time child / house is sorted I'm ready to drop. Although I don't have any solutions it's comforting to know I'm not alone x

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I think so many of us identify with you as a busy working parent. I have a hectic job but just one child & because of my hours & routines still sometimes only manage 1 run a week! Having lived abroad (but without kids) I know it can be tricky on the social network front but I think that's your way forward. My neighbour is elderly but is a port of call for emergencies for my son & also has a key to our house after my (just 13) son locked himself out twice! I also have a reciprocal arrangement with a friend who has an autistic son & although I can leave my son at home now we have always given each other pockets of time to escape for a bit out just get something done. Hope this might work for you. Oh and to keep myself calm I've been practising mindfulness which certainly works for me. Good luck - you sound like an intelligent, positive & strong woman and I'm sure things will work out!

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Thank you for replying! I think this issue touches a nerve with so many people.

Luckily the living abroad bit is slightly easier for me inasmuch as Rome is 'home' now - I've been in Italy for seventeen years, Rome for over fifteen, so to be honest my normality is here. Brexit has potentially thrown up a few issues which is why I'm starting out on the citizenship path (logical anyway considering how long I've been here anyway, and that I am the wife of an Italian and mother of three British-Italian citizens).

The types of arrangements you describe are real lifesavers and I will definitely try to develop these to add to those that exist already.

PS Your username made me chuckle as my youngest son's nickname at home - and I have no idea how it ended up that way - is "Stinky Malinki" :)

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Best place to have a vent!!! It is tough when kids are younger and schools far apart must be really tricky, you are doing well to get out at all!! Keep plugging away..and cherish the young years..they will be all grown up before you know what happened!!! 27 22 and 16 now...where did those years go?!?!

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