A few months ago I felt a surge of desperation. I had been a full-time mum with no respite and not enough wine for 4.5 years. I felt like I just needed a break, and I kept muttering this to myself in a slightly crazed fashion, especially around dinner times. I could feel my patience getting shorter and I was getting frustrated with both Bubble, Squeak, Gravy and maybe more importantly, myself. It wasn’t like me and I really just wanted to be someone else, somewhere else, for a whole day. What a dream, a whole day away. A mini adventure of good food cooked and washed up for me with drinks, laughter and sleep. Lots of sleep. I felt like I would return home all rosebuds and butterflies, ready to be the angel mother my children deserve; clearly overestimating the power of a 24-hour break, but feeling ever hopeful that it was the answer to all my problems.
But it isn’t always easy to do this. Life gets in the way. I would lash out at the long-suffering Gravy because I felt he wasn’t listening to my cries for help and our communication become tenser and shorter. And then I had a moment of realization. It is hard. It is really hard being a full-time mum. Yes, I love my boys to bits (hard not to say “to the moon and back” at this moment!) and feel so lucky that I can be with them for their yearly years. My tension wasn’t their doing, it was totally my own. I had been so busy looking after everyone else, I had forgotten who I was. What did I like doing? What else made me happy? What was important to ME? As this dawned on me I came to the understanding that getting angry at Gravy wasn’t going to make me feel better. I had deal with it and take action. For myself and for my family, so I could stop being such a miserable cow to live with. And that’s when the idea of the blog took hold…and now, here I am. Trying to find some Me Time.
But what exactly is ‘me time’? And where did it go? I used to be terrible at taking time out for myself, but at a push, I would consider it to include maybe a day at the spa, pub drinks with friends, or a good old film with a large pot chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Now however, ‘me time’ seems to consist of having a filling at the dentist (thanks ice cream), endless physio appointments or food shopping on my own. These routine and mundane tasks have switched from the ‘to do list’ over to being considered time that I am allocated to be on my own and therefore I should feel ecstatic about doing them? No thanks. Grocery shopping is what is says it is, unless its grocery shopping in an early morning market in Venice. Then I could feel the love for it. Sure, in an ideal world everyone who needed it would be able to get some time for themselves to do something to feel spoilt and appreciated. But that isn’t how it works with small children, deadlines, commitments and so on. Instead we seem to have adjusted our vision of what ‘me time’ actually means. If I manage to make a solo trip to the toilet I feel like I am winning. And don’t even get me started on if I actually drink my coffee hot. Then I feel almost invincible.
But on closer inspection, it turns out that actually I do have a lot of time to play with, especially as we are over the intense baby-madness time; I just choose to do chores with it. Yes that’s right, when I have an hour of childcare covered instead of grasping the opportunity and whisking myself off to the nearest spa for a back massage, I see it as time to sort out the boys clothes and look for companions for the lonely socks. Sad times. But also a reflection of my priorities and the guilt that I feel when doing something else other than my duties. I use the time I should be spoiling myself to organize my house to make tomorrow a little easier. But is it really worth it and wouldn’t I actually be happier if I invested a little in myself every now and again? I miss going to cocktail bars, and I miss Sunday brunches, but I am now older and a different person. I need to force myself to put myself first. I am trying to make a conscious effort to rediscover myself again. The new and improved me, maybe. Hopefully. And as a result, I have thrown all ambitions of having a tidy and organized house out of the window. That is not who I am and I am only setting myself up to fail if I keep trying. Now, it is all about finding the holy grail of Balance. Can it actually be achieved?? Watch this space whilst I battle with the challenge. I feel like it may be a long bumpy road!