As I have mentioned a couple of times I have been hit with a bout of redundancy. After much initial musing my husband and I agreed not to disrupt the kid's routine by taking them out of a nursery where they are happy, for fear that we would loose their places, and in light of the fact that I would be looking for another job sooner rather than later.
Accordingly for the last four weeks I have been in the enviable position of being at home, child free, and with all the time in the world on my hands during the day.
Here is what I planned to do:
- Go swimming.
- Ride a bike everywhere.
- Go to daytime yoga classes.
- Meet friends for lunch.
- Go to the cinema.
- Blog lots.
- Read lots.
- Get a facial/manicure/massage.
- Spend one on one time with each child for one day a week.
- Take the children swimming, to the cinema and theatre,
- Save the pandas, understand the theory of relativity, and buy a pair of jeans which make my bum look pert (although I do realise that these last aspirations were idealistic and impossible to achieve within a relatively short period of time).
Here is what I have done:
- Avoided going swimming.
- Not taken the bike out of the shed.
- Not looked for a yoga class.
- Met a friend for lunch - once.
- Been to the cinema - once
- Written an average of less than one blog post a week.
- Read Grazia on a weekly basis and the family section of the Saturday Guardian twice.
- Barely turned the oven on (although I did bake 30 cupcakes for my son's birthday party).
- Been nowhere near a Beauty Salon but have tried to find my tweezers several times.
- Spent time with the children at GP and dental appointments.
In fairness it wasn't the best timing in the world to have arranged major structural building work to take place whilst I've been off work, rendering the house unsafe for little people to be around and meaning only my bedroom and the cellar are accessible during the daytime. Now to my utter shock someone has decided they would actually like to employ me, starting next week. My little oasis of idleness and self indulgence is therefore drawing to a close.
So I would like to share with you a little wisdom garnered from this experience of serious 'me-time'. To all the working mums and stay at home mums - you are fantastic. To keep all those balls up in the air is a spectacular feat of imagination, endurance and organisational skills.
I know when you are up to your armpits in meetings/laundry/nose-wiping/nappy changing/report writing it feels like nothing more than drudgery and 'me-time' is an aspirational luxury you can only dream of. But 'me-time' is only valuable when it is in the form of brief respite from an otherwise hectic life. In the absence of the day to day chaos too much 'me-time' feels quite frankly a little dull and meaningless. I have missed the kids and my husband during the day, and I have missed work, my colleagues, and purpose.
And so I am enthusiastically looking forward to resuming normal service. The rush to get four people dressed and out of the house in the morning. The commute, the interaction, the drama of working life. The thrills and the spills, the chaos and the mess are what make life interesting. You can keep your 'me-time' for now - I'm back in the rat race.