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Doing It All: mental hard drive full - 10 stresses mums can drag to trash right now

November 2nd 2016 / Emma Bartley

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It’s easy to reach your internal memory limit when you’re processing work, family, personal admin and your internal chocolate-to-weight algorithm. Here are some stresses it’s not worth wasting your mental energy on

In the past few weeks, my phone and laptop both reached their internal storage limit. I haven’t got time to deal with this, obviously, and am dismissing all the iCloud pop-ups insisting I manage it because I’m finishing up a six-week work project and I have two children to look after. Unfortunately, it’s a false economy because being so full slows these devices down.

As I sat waiting for my laptop to turn on, it occurred to me that I am this computer: struggling into life, behind the curve, unable to take any more on. When the spinning beachball of doom appeared, I understood. “Don’t you dare ask me to perform another task,” it was saying. “Too much is happening already.” Buy some external storage, said someone helpfully. So I did, and it has actually freed a bit of space, bringing my laptop back up to normal speed. Which got me thinking: what could I delete from my mental RAM?

Let’s start by trashing these worries…

1. How much you slept

Since the answer is always going to be “not enough”, there’s really no point thinking about how tired you feel, the average number of hours you get per night, whether your partner slept better, or for longer, whose fault it is… Man up, grab a venti macchiato and move on with your life.

2. Social media likes

We all know this stuff is bullshit, but somehow it’s still satisfying to get 74 likes on a Facebook picture of your pet, and soul-crushing to get zero responses to a tweet saying “What a week, I’m totes getting wasted this Friday night who’s with meeeeeee? #krazy #dontleavemehangin”. Either leave social media, or internalise the natural law that says funny cat pictures get 4k+ likes, stories of your kids cutting you down get 50+, and anything vaguely serious gets ignored while everyone feels embarrassed for you.

3. Your weight

I used to run a complex mental algorithm that worked out what I was allowed to eat each day based on what the scales had said that morning, and how pregnant I looked in the mirror. What has happened since I became too busy to worry about it, and ate whatever I liked? It turns out I weigh like 1lb more, and look pretty much the same. If you’re morbidly obese then yes be worried but otherwise, drag this nonsense into the trash. The men already did.

4. What happened to that thing

Such as, the lid for this plastic box, and the box that goes with this random lid. Or the other half of these 13 different pairs of baby socks. I once lost a whisk – how does anybody lose a whisk? However tempting it is, you mustn’t spend too much time imagining where they all are (The bin? Down the back of the sofa? On a desert island somewhere partying with Elvis?). That is what the boxes and the socks and the whisk want. Show them you’ve moved on by channeling Gloria Gaynor and buying new ones.

5. Whether the house is clean

*Waves to rodent*

6. Whether you are getting the best deal from your energy provider

Apparently almost nobody is, which I take to mean that we’ve all got more important things to worry about than trying to save ourselves five quid a month by moving our accounts. I realise this means letting our corporate overlords win, but really they won the day they came up with those labyrinthine online contact forms that keep kicking you back into FAQs until you lose the will to live.

7. Being independent

Accepting help used to cause me physical pain, but sometimes it’s the only option. If you don’t delegate to colleagues, or let Grandma take the kids for a day, or say “yes please” when somebody offers to make you dinner, you will burn out. If necessary, practise in front of the mirror: “Y… Ye… OHGOONTHEN”.

8. The minimum amount of social interaction your friendships can bear

Facebook statuses and occasional garbled WhatsApps are going to have to be enough for now. The people who love you will still be around when you’ve finally got time for a drink.

9. The millennium bug

There are a whole host of things I’m worrying about that might never happen, which is why I’ve temporarily banned myself from reading anything with “Brexit” or “Trump” in the headline, because there isn’t anything I can do about it and it’s not good for the kids to see me breathing into a paper bag.

10. What people think

"Haters gonna hate", said a postcard of a brussel sprout that I saw the other day. As tears sprang to my eyes, I realised: yes. It is time to stop worrying what other people think of your work/childcare arrangements/eating habits/5k run speed/choice of front door colour. You just cried over a festive cartoon sprout, and that cannot be right.

Read Emma's Doing It All column every fortnight on Get The Gloss. Find her on Twitter here.


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