I am, I really am. I’ve decided to cut myself a bit of slack! I came back from my holiday feeling, surprisingly, utterly and completely relaxed. We’d had a truly magical time yet it was restful too, I felt rejuvenated, I felt less anxious about completing so much in every day and I possessed a real sense of calm.
I love being a stay at home mum but it doesn’t always leave me with any time for myself and there are days when I feel like all I’ve done is chase my tail, dash from here to there to everywhere and pretty much just prepare food all day. And yet I hadn’t felt like that on holiday even though I’d still cared for a toddler, cooked for him, entertained him and helped prepare meals for the grown-ups in the evenings too. I’d pretty much done my every day life and yet felt like I’d had an actual holiday, which I wasn’t really expecting!
I’m aware that of course I did have 24-hour around the clock help in the handy form of my husband and Sam’s godparents but then, at the same time, there’s always a helping hand at weekends and yet I don’t get that same sense of relaxation that I felt during our week away. Could it have been the weather? No pup to walk? The fact that hubby and I went on an actual real date? We totally did! And then the penny dropped…
Other than a few bits and bobs every now and again, there had been no chores. There were no bathrooms to clean, no dishes to do, no carpets to hoover and no dusting. I didn’t have to constantly wipe kitchen sides or put a load in to wash and cram as much stuff as possible in to a two hour period.
I’ve always thrived on being busy and with that comes an added element of self-imposed stress – I’ve always put so much darn pressure on myself to do everything perfectly. I get in to a real tizwoz before guests come worrying that the house isn’t clean enough or the cushions aren’t plumped just so, which let me tell you is completely impossible with a dog, a toddler and a husband! I go all out planning and preparing nutritionally balanced meals for each day of the week, marinating, chopping and cooking, with love, to feed my boys, often using nap times to get everything ready in advance. And when I’m not cleaning or cooking? I’m doing something for Sam, making a game, setting up an activity or sorting out his many piles of washing! And I’m always sweeping! A malting lab is not conducive to a tidy home! There are days when Sam gets up from his nap and I realise I haven’t even had a cup of tea, let alone a meal and, as the week goes on, I feel tension niggling in my shoulders as I count down the days until Friday when I get a, very welcome, extra pair of hands. And I’m tired! Looking after a toddler can be very demanding and exhausting work. I’ve looked at the clock before, seen with disbelief that it’s only 9:06 am and wondered how many more toddler negotiations I’ll have to overcome before noon and yet still don’t have a rest!
I’m aware that a lot of my lack of relaxing is definitely down to me! You’ve probably gathered that I’m not a person who rests easily. My husband has always joked that the only way he’ll get me to put my feet up is if he actually tapes me to the chair! He’s suggested time and time again that we get a cleaner and yet I always refuse; it makes me feel guilty, I’m at home everyday and therefore I should be able to keep on top of things, yet as I’m always reminded, I might be at home everyday but I’m at home to tend to Sam, not necessarily to don a pair of marigolds, even if they do come in an array of colours these days!
I’ve therefore decided that I’m going to do something about it; I shall sweep my guilt under the rug (see what I did there?!) and take some time for me! I loved being so relaxed in Portugal, knowing I was handling the day-to-day hurdles calmly and rationally as opposed to the feeling of fire-fighting I often get at home. Nap times were used to relax. I read, I played cards (badly I might add) I had a beer (well I was on holiday!) I even had a little doze myself on a couple of occasions – I found time for me. And it was blissful.
So what am I going to do? I’m going to continue to make time for me at home! Whilst I probably won’t have a beer each lunchtime, as tempting as that may be, I’m definitely going to make sure I have something to eat and a cup of tea. I’m also going to put my feet up for a bit and read or catch up on the sort of tv my husband really doesn’t want to watch. And I’m not going to feel guilty about doing so! I’m going to ask for help and get over the fact that just because I don’t go out to work it means I have to do everything myself, and when there are chores that need doing, well, I’m going to stop trying to be such a perfectionist. I’m going to take this relaxing malarkey and do it to the best I possibly can…
And if I find I can’t actually relax and make time for me? Well I guess there’s always my husband’s approach, that way I know I won’t need to worry about being house proud as the next time any visitors come I’ll be gaffa taped to a chair surrounded by dog hair whilst my child nibbles crumbs from the floor – but hey at least I’ll be up to date on Love Island!
I’ll let you know how I get on…