I’m no expert on depression, anxiety or general parenting. Far from it. But I know what works for me.
Every mum craves it, and rarely gets it. Kids hate it, and dads/partners question it.
Time for YOURSELF.
Today my daughter has watched Colin Buchanan (2 times), Hi 5 (once) and sat on my lap for an hour while I change up my resume, shower and cry on the phone. Now usually I would feel guilty that I haven’t given her any educational toys, taken her outside or done crafts with her. But today, I don’t care. And some days, that’s exactly what you need.
Time for yourself. While we all dream that this could mean a day with no children, walking along the beach drinking wine and gossiping with your best friend and eating a gloriously large and expensive meal for dinner, unfortunately real life sometimes gets in the way. So, we improvise. Over the years I have adjusted exactly what is ‘my time’. Some days it is getting home from work and laying on the bed in uniform and reading through facebook for an hour before starting sausages on bread for dinner. Bugger cooking.
And my kids survive, well fed.
Some days it is sitting on the computer surfing through youtube and TASTE.com recipes while my kids play the xbox. Before they do their homework.
And my kids survive, still educated.
Some days it involves sitting at the park drinking Zarraffas iced tea talking with a friend while my kids get stuck on a swing and throw sticks at the dog, because they are out of my scope of vision.
And they survive, and can play independently.
Today, after a rather horrific morning of budget blowing phone calls, I needed time. I needed my favourite time. And although I only had Miss E at home, happily eating her breakfast and colouring at the table, I needed to be alone.
Oh, how a shower can change everything. It can help tears flow, it can heat aching and tired muscles and it can drown out the squealing of children chasing their father around the house with a fake gun. Showers are my favourite peace time, made even better by the fact that the door handle is too high for two out of three kids to reach. Even hubby has learnt that a swift “No!” as the door handle turns shouldn’t be taken personally. Its not that I don’t want to talk to him about it. I do. But I need a place to think. Its my adult time-out chair. Everyone needs one. A place to think without interruption.
Supernanny says that children shouldn’t be put in bed as punishment. Bed is for rest. Adults should do the same- choose a place to think. The ensuite floor was my favourite. Even sitting on the closed toilet while I budgeted or wrote out the next days schedule made it so much easier to sleep at night. Bed isn’t for thinking. Get it out of the way elsewhere.
I should feel mummy guilt over hiding from my children. I should feel guilty for taking 20 minute showers while the council enforces water restrictions. But I know my sanity is more important than the gerbera bushes in the main street being watered.
So that is my advice. Find your time out chair, and use it. Daily if you must. Your children will survive (and even if you don’t have kids, everyone needs some silence every now and then) and also find time for yourself.
Where do you spend your time thinking, and do you have a seperate place to relax and spend time on your own thoughts?