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Sharon Bill Music Tutor & Author

Jack of All Trades ...

Jack of all trades, master of none: Trips to various National Trust stately homes really makes me question our 21st Century ideal that we can have it all (or DO it all!)

Walking around Calke Abbey (years ago) we could see how each person would have their own specific areas of responsibility. The gardener devoted his days to maintaining beautifully manicured gardens, the cook made sure that lovely meals were served at the appropriate times, the house maids observed a strict routine to make sure that the house was clean and tidy - and so the list continues. It struck me that this is what I strive to achieve each and every day but without an army of servants it's simply impossible. So WHY are we led to believe that this is what we can achieve? Is it more a case of what we are expected to achieve?

Time flies and there aren't enough hours in each day. In our home we lead relatively simple lives but every day I try to run a small business and also find time to write to expand that career's portfolio (because I'd like to!) I try to provide tasty and nutritious meals for my family and to break out of the culinary cul-de-sac I inevitably find myself stuck in. On top of this I strive to keep a clean and tidy home - adding a splash of creativity whilst sticking to a strict budget. As if this wasn't enough to fill our days we have pets that need attention and a relatively large garden that we try to keep under control. I may not manage the kitchen garden and gravelled herb gardens of the stately homes we've visited, but I do feel compelled to mimic a shadow of their finery. At the same time I'm constantly aware that I need to find time to exercise to work off some of the effects of having three children and fight off the onset of middle-aged spread. The adverts tell me that I should look quite different to the way I do just now, but I haven't the time or the energy to start!

The fight of the suffragettes moves me to tears and I honour those ladies for what they sacrificed for my sake - but I don't think they intended it to get quite so out of hand. The blessing has rather turned sour - did they really mean we should have it all? It's not possible because we simply can't DO it all! So why do we try? Why do I try? Is it because I can't say, "No" to some things? Is it because my motivation is to try and impress? Dare I admit that the ironing pile is mountainous and it's oven chips for tea because I've just gone past caring today?

It's easy to blog about a trendy 'downsize' on an executive budget - but what if I stop aspiring to 'upsize' in the first place? Dare I begin my own personal revolution and aim to do less, impress less and please only those that really care? Perhaps the problem is that I can never impress myself and it's me that is continually cracking the whip…