We all need time to ourselves. Sometimes being a mother is like being part of a ridiculous circus. Where you’re the juggler, the tightrope walker, the clown and the person who sells the hot dogs in the interval.
So it’s not surprising that every so often we want to go and do our own thing for a while. This usually means walking around the supermarket, rather than sat in luxurious hotel spa, but time to yourself is vital.
Personally, I have to take mental health days from motherhood, otherwise I turn into a shouty mum. Shouting, lecturing, finding fault, and generally being a massive ratbag. My favourite way to unwind isn’t the most financially healthy way. I like to head to the shops, child free. I enjoy window shopping and having lunch out, I am certainly not one of those people who doesn’t like eating out alone.
Some people might tut at wanting me time, but I don’t care. After all, why should we martyr ourselves on the altar of motherhood? We are parents, not saints. Just because my body can have a baby doesn’t mean we can’t have a break. Men do. Men go off and have independent lives. They come back, wrestle their kids to the ground, play Lego, and put their feet up to relax.
Mothers meanwhile, are always ON, usually in emergency mode. In their quest to be ‘good’ virtuous mothers, we wring our hands and feel guilty for enjoying themselves. We sit for hours working out what to have for dinner next Tuesday and we berate ourselves for the tiniest little thing – whether it’s a forgotten school bag or a meal that doesn’t contain more than 2 of their 5 a day.
I am that mum that feels guilty that my fussy children don’t have the best diet. Feeling like I am to blame for my two-year olds speech delay. Carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders on a daily basis.
Why do we do it? Because we care. However Instead of literally giving ourselves a break by running screaming out of the house towards the nearest cinema or cocktail bar, why don’t we give ourselves a break every day in our heads?
Maybe its time to stop paying attention to everything that needs doing and worrying about. Ask for help when we need it. Forget that forgotten homework. Have no clue what’s for dinner, but wing it anyway. Throw out the rule book full of guilt and worry and frustration. Stop creeping around trying not to wake the kids up, as tense as if we were walking on a window ledge at 1000 feet.
Instead of getting to the end of our tethers and having to ‘escape’, why don’t we chill out and try to enjoy ourselves more while we’re parenting? Kids are resilient, they’ll manage without our micromanagement.
Yes. Let’s do it. Let’s stop being martyrs and beating ourselves up. Stop worrying that you only gave your child one piece of fruit a day. And I will do the same.