I know I’m not alone here, nor am I in anyway unusual. I work (nearly full time 1 day ‘off’), I run a home, I am the main carer for our children, I’m studying for my master’s degree, my husband works away… add what you will.
However, sometimes there really is a need to rebalance the equilibrium and this weekend was just that.
I often spend the weeks in a crazy whirlwind of taking my daughter to various dance classes or rehearsals, deciding what to cook for dinner that evening (usually as I walk in the door*), ensuring I have the correct books for the correct class to be teaching the correct subject in the correct room with the correct year group (yes, my life really is that mad!), remembering how many pills I gave the dog yesterday (and remembering to give them to her, not try them myself to see if I get some kind of canine nirvana for a day), deciding whether I will get the rest of the week out of 60 miles of fuel or if I actually have to find the time to fit in a fill-up, wondering if I remembered to get the eggs in or let the chooks out, whether I’ve got time to whizz the dog round the village before work or will she have to wait until later, considering whether leaving the dishwasher to empty in the evening is slovenly, adding on +10 hours to my washing machine cycle to ensure it doesn’t finish much before I get back so it won’t stink and I’ll need to wash it again, checking in with my university to work on an essay/get feedback from my supervisor/see if they have finally marked an essay, have I got time to squeeze in a run/yoga class, not to mention the remembering who is doing what, when and where and if I was required to take/pick up/call/return an email + all the numerous things that just go dang wrong when you least want them to!
*Meal planning is an issue here, we have tried it and it worked when the kids were little and ate what I put in front of them, but it’s worse now they’re teens and that I only have one most of the time. She often eats her main meal at school, but is then ‘staaaaaarving’ when she comes home and baked beans or eggs just won’t do, or I plan to do pasta, and then she eats pasta at school earlier and doesn’t want it again, naturally, or one or other teen has been home for the weekend and eaten all the ’emergency’ things such as pot stickers, portions of previous lasagnes or stews or the fish fingers! So before I get all the well meaning suggestions of planning on Sunday, I’ve got the t-shirt!
So life is a bit of an all consuming circle most weeks.
But not this weekend. This weekend whilst my husband (who had been away all week…let’s remember this, but I’m not bitter 😉 but you’ll see the pun !) was drinking beer (there you go!) in Munich with his mates, I had booked myself on a silver-smithing course to make some bangles. It was just a few hours, all to myself with a friend (coincidental that she was on the same course!) laughing and creating and finding time for therapy. I then sat in the evenings and mended (yes, stop laughing, mended!) a pair of my favourite jeans with some slow Sashimo style stitching and a glass of red wine called ‘The Governor’ (there was an element of satisfaction in that!).
It’s so important to find that self care, ironic, especially as I am currently spending time researching singing and well being for my current essay! I think as women, mums or not, we overlook this soooo much. We strive so hard to ensure we achieve everything and we are our hardest critics of ourselves. We also sometimes feel we have to live up to the perfect Instagram feeds where people only post the good stuff in their lives (believe me, you wouldn’t have liked the images of dead chickens I had to deal with a few months back or the dog turds on my patio every frickin’ morning or the one the spaniel left all over my lovely rug in the kitchen a couple of weeks back grrrr or the posts when I say the same things over and over and over again to my, clearly deaf or ESL children or have to deal with a school issue or my daughter’s perpetually messy bedroom filled with cups and plates and dirty washing!)
When things go a little awry, the first thing we tend to give up is our ‘me-time’. I know if there’s an issue at work or with one or other child/animal, the first thing that goes is my yoga or my run in the week. It doesn’t even necessarily make things better because we’re not coming at the issue with a fresh and calm state of mind.
What are we trying to achieve? Perfection is not even achievable – it’s a fact. We are striving for a non-quantifiable, unobtainable status. I have to remind myself of that. I remember the phrase that ‘no kid wants the perfect parents, they want a good enough one’ or words to that effect being said to me when my kids were toddlers and it’s stuck with me, although sometimes I really have to take a step away and remember that.
So, this morning, I’ve done the chores, but it’s 9.30 and my cereal bowl is sat here next to me and there are dog hairs all over the floor in the mud room. My essay is open but I just can’t even. I’m breathing in and ignoring it right now so I can allow space to write this. I feel such a rebel ha ha!
What I have done this autumn is booked myself on several courses just for me. I have a schedule of crazy in the lead up to Christmas as is always the case with musicians, actors and dancers in the family. I am doing more silver-smithing at the end of the month and a morning of pottery in November. Spread out through the season to help me catch my breath here and there before I step back on the hamster wheel. We have also booked a bit of time down by the sea to get some air in our lungs and rejuvenate and reconnect as a family too as the well being needs to be all of us.
So, this part is for you: Just take a moment and stop what you’re doing. Put it down. What have you actually done recently that was just.for.you?? No kids, no husband, no animals? Have you reconnected with a girlfriend? Been on a course? Taken yourself on a long walk? Driven somewhere to sit and watch the sun set or rise? Read a book that you’ve wanted to read in forever? Had a frickin’ bath without interruption and fancy as fuck bubbles? Well if your answer is no, DO IT! No one is actually stopping you but you. For half an hour the world will survive without you having to help it. Give the kids (if they’re little) to your parents, husband, wife, partner, get a babysitter for half an hour, call in a favour from a mate, send them on a playdate. If they’re not little, they can suck it up, they can sort their own shit out or get into trouble at school if they don’t the next day. Really, really do it. Your parenting, wife-ing, partner-ing, working will improve for it.
Right, now I’m off to hoover up that bloody dog hair – my rebel is getting a beating from my conscience !!