One of the things that I really struggle with is claiming time for myself. The good, no great, news is that I’ve got some wonderful friends that I can turn to for advice. One of these is fellow Irish Parenting Blogger and writer Kate Takes 5.
I’m only at the beginning of the journey to find out how to do it and she has some great gems of advice for those of us who are struggling with the guilt and finding time for ourselves. I’ve started to go one evening a fortnight to our local Toastmasters group and I have to say it is a brilliant way to shed the worries of the day and immerse myself in an adult activity.
So I’m going to hand things over to the sage one and here’s what she has to say:
“I was thinking back the other day to when my first child was about nine months old and I had aged about the same number of years in that short period of time. I spent inordinate amounts of my day dreaming about having just one cup of tea in peace and quiet, the house all to myself. In fact I would have settled for two minutes on the toilet without a cry of outrage disturbing me each time.
But sadly neither was to be.
As I bemoaned my state to my older, wiser and three childrened sister she told me in no uncertain terms that I must claim that time for myself – because sure as hell nobody else was going to give it to me. ‘Yes, yes, You’re absolutely right’ I agreed, and then proceeded to martyr on for another four years.
Strangely the offer of a quiet afternoon on my own whilst the kids were whisked away for some fun activity never actually came, and so I began my claim game.
I started to book myself the odd facial and said a loud and slightly manic ‘YES!’ to each and every invite that came my way.
Initially I would only leave the house during the day if I had pre-prepared the lunch \ dinner \ snacks \ activities in advance. A full run down of what needed to be done and when was relayed to their Father. (Don’t worry – the irony of that last sentence is not lost on me here).
For night-time departures I would only go once I had managed to get all the little ones to sleep – which inevitably meant that none of the little ones would go to sleep. This resulted in me being stressed to the hilt by the time I actually left the house with probably a ‘domestic’ thrown into the mix too. Then, once out, I would worry, panic and check my watch and phone repeatedly until it was time for me to go home.
On the flip side my husband would disappear frequently for week-long work trips or weekends away without a second thought. The odd phone call to the kids, a few presents on return and that was that. ‘How does he do it?’ I wondered to myself, finding it more than a little irritating. Clearly he loved his kids but somehow he was able to compartmentalise, or distance himself, or whatever it was that he did, have a great time away and then come back. No big deal.
It took a long time for me to get anywhere close to his infuriating breeziness , but finally after eight years, three kids and lots of practice, I now find myself gliding out the door on a Saturday night with a peck on each of their cheeks and nothing but a waft of perfume left behind.
And I must say – I’d highly recommend it.”