As a Mum of two young girls my days (and nights) are spent running around for everyone else. Whether it’s getting washing on - that somehow MAGICALLY appears in everyone’s drawers clean and folded - or providing those relentless meals that they seem to want 3 times a day, every day - at the end of the day there’s not much left in the tank for me.
It’s often now, usually as I hide in the pantry eating my kids lolly bags given to them from a party attended last weekend, that I remember back fondly to that pre-children time. ALL. THAT. TIME. If I wanted to sleep in on the weekend. I could. If I wanted to have “cuddles” with my husband. I could. And I would! If I wanted to run into a shop for something. I could. No questions. No nagging. No lugging kids in and out of the car just so I can pick something up. What a simple, easy time it was...and of COURSE I complained about how “stressful” it was or how “tired” I was. If I could go back through time and slap myself around, I would. TIRED. Yeah right.
The shift from working wife to Mother is a huge one. The shift from stay at home to your new baby Mother to Working Mother is an even bigger one - complexity and stress levels growing as you go. Throw in some more kids? Up it all goes. The tiredness sure, but mostly the giving to everyone else except yourself. I remember when I was working full time with a 2 and a half year old (or as I like to call them at that age Satan’s spawn), being 8 months pregnant at the time and having a husband working REALLY long hours, there was NOTHING left at the end of the day. And everyone along the way wasn’t getting a very good version of me either. My daughter got tired and highly stressed version of me for an hour in the morning (begging her to wake up and get ready and out the door) and then for another 2 hours in the evening begging her to eat her dinner, get in the bath and then DEAR GOD GO TO SLEEP. My husband got some kind of weird zombie version that occasionally spat venomous comments at him. And work got something in between. Probably the best of me because I am a good, dedicated worker who suffers terribly from guilt for not working hard when someone is paying me. Then there was the baby sucking the very life from me on the inside...I’m not quite sure where I fitted into the picture!
While a near nervous breakdown, and then going on maternity leave saw the end of those shenanigans, there are still times where I wonder where I fit into the equation. “Me time” is usually whacking on some deodorant and putting on my bra picked up from the bedroom floor for the 14th day in a row without a wash. Yes, you read that right. 14. As Mothers all we do is give and yet when it’s time to take some time, guilt usually slips in and I wonder why I should have ANY time to myself. Or worse still, 15 minutes into some “me time” away from the family and I start to miss my kids. SO annoying!
So. How do we do it? How do we MAKE time? A mere 30 minutes a day can make all the difference. A bath can do the trick. A walk, in the morning, to clear your head before the madness begins. Waking up BEFORE everyone else (which is hard I know if you have been up in the night) with a cup of tea in the early quiet can be SO good. Reading a book. Challenging yourself with a new recipe. An old fashioned dance or sing off to a pre kids song REALLY LOUDLY. Or just a big old drink post kids bedtime and watching some bad TV (most likely the route I take). But making some time, as small as 10 minutes, for yourself, can make all the difference to your outlook.
Or do what I do, and look back through old photo albums and curse yourself for all that TIME you used to have! TIRED SCMIRED.
How do you make time for yourself? Are you like me and suffer from that terribly annoying condition of Mother guilt? Have you ever worn the same bra for 14 days in a row?
Beth blogs daily at www.Baby-Mac.com.
She believes in family. Good friends. Pork. Champagne. Long lunches. Sleeping without being woken by small children. Clean sheet day. Fresh flowers in her home. Open fires and sitting by them with drink in hand. Using her passport. Love, real proper, heart thumping love with her husband. Bad reality TV. The internet. Cooking. Eating. Changing her hairstyle. Often. She believes in reading, writing, watching and sharing. And putting it ALL out there.