Email traffic jam

The problem with flexible working is that so many people are doing it nowadays that the busiest time of day tends to be the evening when people are getting down to some serious emailing. Those who are fortunate enough to have young children and a very strict sense of routine start this emailing around 7pm. If, like me, your attempts at bedtime are more a ballpark time than any particular hour of the day, more like a wrestling match of the wills with every small person in the house trying to stretch their waking hours that little bit longer, then that means when you finally get back onto your computer there are potentially scores of emails waiting for you just when you were hoping to find a quiet moment to write a report.

Bedtime in our house is not a restful time. Like long-distance runners, small people seem to have a final rush of adrenaline just before the finish line. Daughter one can last cleaning her teeth for eons, ditto any other cleaning routine [and she has many]. Of course, it takes her hours to get to the bathroom because she’s decided to practice guitar at the last minute and she has to check her Blackberry every other second. Daughter two never remembers to practice keyboards till the end of the evening and similarly forgets her spellings. Last night she decided she had to sing Tomorrow from Annie at the last minute with fully choreographed actions, ending with a jazz hands spectacular finale.

Toddler boy, who is in her room and is the liveliest person of all, was bouncing in excitement. He demands the same Charlie and Lola book every night and pretends to read it [‘I’m doing my homework’] by repeating ad infinitum ‘I have this sister Lola. She’s small and very funny’ while perusing the pages. Daughter three has reading to do and then requires a long chat about fire safety and cyanide poisoning and why it won’t happen to her. In between there are various potions to apply to people’s bodies and multiple runnings up and down the stairs. Then there is cuddling up.

Toddler boy would ideally be cuddled up all night [as would daughter three], but he spends at least the first 10-15 minutes of cuddling up giggling and hiding under the covers. Last night I gave up and daughter two stepped up to the plate. She was later found in a strange hat with toddler boy lying on top of her and the Charlie and Lola book on her tummy. When I staggered downstairs at around 9.15 I was hit by a wall of emails. I think this is what is known officially as the merge…or as I like to call it the m…arggggggg.

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