What matters to you more: neat hair or a big family?

My friend Bess has four kids under seven.  Last week, she was at the pool where her eldest was having a swimming lesson. The other three were going feral. The youngest had taken off his pants and was putting them on his brother’s head. Their sister was looking to see if there were any chips left in the bottom of a packet she found under a bench.

Finally, finally the lesson was over and it was time to pack up. Bess was trying to lasso her tribe when another mum said, ‘Gosh, are they all yours?’

Bess admitted they were.

‘I only have two,’ said the woman wistfully as she combed her daughter’s hair in preparation for the ballet class that was backing up the swimming lesson, ‘I’d have liked four, but I like to do things properly.’

Hilarious. Cringe-worthy. Rude. But in principle, fair enough.

Most people seem to have given up on the idea of having it all or doing it all. I see this as a good thing. Life is busy and something has to give. And what that is varies from person to person and family to family.

For the lady at the pool, the dream of a bigger family lost out to the appeal of a calmer life, complete with ballet lessons for children with neat hair.

What have you let slide in an effort to make life more manageable? Is it ironing, haircuts, homework or something else? Has takeaway become your new best friend?

And are your happier because of it?