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Following on from yesterday… I have a very special day today. I am ON MY OWN between 9am and 3pm.
Peace – precious peace.
This is my chance to get on with stuff WITHOUT the roaring white noise that is the interference of other people breathing.
Hopefully the kids will come home from school to Patient, Smiling, Tender Mummy, not the Fire-Breathing, Shouty Poison Gnome who has been marauding the place for the last week or so.
Sometimes I feel guilty about needing this recuperation time, but then I remember the instructions on those aeroplane safety cards – ‘if oxygen masks are released FIX YOURS FIRST BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO HELP ANYONE ELSE.’ The first time I read this fascinating sentence I was quite taken aback, and then delighted at how sensible and logical it was.
Of course there is no point trying to ‘help’ a child with their mask first. If you faint or even die, whilst struggling to save your child, then a fat lot of ‘help’ you’re going to be…
And that’s parenthood in a nutshell really.
It’s a balance of being as good as you can be, until suddenly you’re not being good at it anymore; then you do whatever it takes to get you back to fighting form. It’s a skill – recognising that tipping point, or even sensing its imminence. It takes some guts and some determination to say, “This is what I need. Now.”
It took me years and years before I could say that without feeling guilty. I felt I needed permission to look after myself. I thought that denying myself luxuries or ‘me-time’ was the sign of a dedicated parent. I needed validation and justification if I wanted to buy a new coat or have a morning off – all the more so because I was a ‘stay at home Mum’.
You can call it a ‘home-maker’ or ‘principle care giver’ or ‘domestic executive’ or ‘household manager’, or any other bull-sh*t name you can think of – in the end the facts are the same – you don’t have a wage, you don’t get holidays and no one hands you a certificate for being employee of the month. Going to the toilet with the door closed is about as professionally progressive as it gets.
The sad truth is no one will give you what you need if you don’t take it for yourself. To be fair, no one but you really KNOWS what you need – and that’s why it’s ok to ask for it.
Waiting for someone (for example, a husband or wife) to say the words you want to hear is a fool’s game. It’s also not fair on your partner. There is no written script that we should be following. Feeling resentful because they didn’t read your mind and haven’t offered you the precise thing you crave is a massive waste of energy.
If you want something, make it happen. Be in control.
If you’re falling apart at the seams, you’re no good to anyone. However, if you keep yourself ticking along, using whatever methods you need – whether it’s alone time, exercise time, the occasional night out or spa day, getting your hair cut or going for a long walk – you’ll be happier in yourself, and in a better frame of mind for dealing with your family.
Many’s the time I have regretted speaking sharply to my children, and realised that I’m not cross with them – I’m cross with my situation and I’m cross with myself for allowing my state of mind to get so frazzled. It’s the most important job in the world, and yet often we have to do it on minimal amounts of sleep and sometimes in a precarious mental state.
Aaaanyway… that was all preamble to explain why I am not writing a blog today. I’m off to soak up the stillness.