Earlier this week I wrote a post on housework, perhaps you saw it? Like most of my posts it was 90% sarcastic ran, but at one point I got all, like, deep and reflected that it was my feelings of obligation and guilt around it that were the real problem, rather than the actual chores themselves. It’s like, does the floor need sweeping? Then sweep it. It doesn’t have to be an existential crisis woman! I also mentioned how my Hubs does the majority of the washing and is generally very nice and supportive and all the pressure comes from me and the Evil Patriarchy.
So, after writing this post, which many of you seem to have related to (cheers for the comments my dears), did I spend the rest of the week in a spirit of productive yet gentle self-awareness? Was I kind to myself, doing what I could and not giving myself a hard time when the house was still covered in crumbs and bits of squashed banana? Was I heck! Instead I seem to have set out to prove that I am, in fact, the domestic goddess I’ve been aspiring to all along. #denial I took Bubs to a different play group every day (twice on Thursday, WHY?). I made homemade stock from veg peelings and tried out some new recipes. I did endless laundry, because apparently part of me wanted to prove myself wrong. “How dare you tell everyone Hubs does the washing?? That is out and out slander!”
How did this happen? Why am I driving myself round in a frenzy of prove-my-worth productivity? I mean, don’t I read my own blog?!? It’s all very well talking the talk, but I really need to put my mothering where my mouth is. I’ve pretty much nailed the whole ‘talking about feelings’ thing. But haven’t quite mastered the ‘paying attention to and looking after my own feelings’ bit. Sound familiar?
Well, here’s something radical. This weekend, I’m having a break. Not 10 minutes on the loo. Not an hour upstairs whilst Hubs plays with Bubs. Not even just a lie in (I know, I know, there is no such thing as just a lie-in when you’re a parent!). No, no, I’m having an actual weekend off. It’s crazy but it’s true.
For a whole two days and nights I’m taking a load off. I haven’t gone away for work, I’m not on a hen-weekend, I’m just chillaxing with my family (my pre-marriage and children family, obvs).
And let me tell you something, Dear Reader, it’s a bloody revolution!
Just imagine having a lie-in, a properly long, leisurely lie-in. Now imagine having that lie-in in a quiet house. Sleeping without the sounds of child-protests, games or CBeebies wafting up the stairs. Utter. Bliss.
I’m not showing off. I don’t feel smug about this. In fact I feel embarrassed and a bit guilty. “Other mothers don’t do this. You’re so selfish. So self-indulgent. Are you really going to post this on-line? What will people think?” God, we can be dicks to ourselves sometimes, can’t we?
But I am aware that for most people it would not be possible to take two whole days off from parenting. I grew up in a single parent household and the first time my mum had a night away I was three years old, I believe. Even if you do have a partner I know many of you couldn’t (or maybe wouldn’t) leave your children with them for 48 hours, who knows what you might return to!
But we all do this don’t we? We don’t allow ourselves nice things because other people don’t allow themselves nice things. Anyone see you vicious circle emerging here? We’ve all become embroiled in some sort of low self-esteem race to the bottom. Bleurgh.
So this weekend I am going to allow myself to eat ice cream and sleep and read and write and generally slob. Don’t get me wrong, I will feel guilty about it approximately once every 10 minutes, but I’m going to do it anyway. Because that guilt is pretty much 100% ridiculous. Because I’m a mother not a martyr.
It’s about to be Lent; a time for giving up our vanities. So, for an hour or two, it would be nice to give up my delusion that my self-sacrifice is somehow essential for the survival of my family. That is utter bullshit. A few days of selfishness might serve them better. You know with the whole not-hating-my-life-and-everything-in-it thing. That always makes for a happier household, don’t you think?
So, Dear Reader, here’s my challenge to you: whether your a mother or father for neither, do you think you could eke out some time for yourself this weekend? Not necessarily a lot, but just a tiny pause when you’re not trying to be whichever unattainable ideal it is you have in your head that is driving you mad?
Just a thought…
What are you doing for yourself this weekend? Or maybe you don’t feel like there’s even five minutes for you in your life at the moment. Please comment below and I promise to get back to you.