In which I am completely, unapologetically selfish
On Thursday afternoon, I had James pick the girls up from school and left them to it while I went and put my feet up for a couple of hours. There was a bit of chatting here and there, some music, someone else sweeping the carpet, another person talking about cooking. It was complete and utter leisure for me.
I’m not sure exactly what it says about my past few months that I haven’t felt as blissfully relaxed and free as I did in that moment.
Given that I was getting a tattoo. On my foot.
We joked that I should come more often for time-out as he put the arm rest down. I laughed, but as the session unfolded, I started thinking about how it actually was really relaxing. There was no fighting, screeching, bellowing or whinging. Nobody was following me to the toilet, demanding food/drink/the world or asking for something they know I’m going to say no to.
It felt empowering to be doing something alone, with no expectations on me, that was exclusively for my own benefit.
Of course, we had an exceedingly wonderful school holidays. We did so many things and had heaps of amazing family times. I wouldn’t change it for the world, not even the part where I panic attacked myself (being claustrophobic and all) through a submarine so that my kids and husband wouldn’t miss out on something because of my fears.
Still, I would have liked some time out. I get jealous when I see others posting about how their children are off to visit grandparents and so on for a weekend/week/two weeks. I admit that, especially towards the sixth week, I was feeling like I would appreciate the chance to miss them.
The problem, I have found, is that I am not cut out for this school parent gig. And, not in the way you’d imagine. I hadn’t considered the fact that having a child at school meant I would suddenly have to be much more social on a far more regular basis. Like, daily. Between drop off, pick up, assemblies, random performances, helping in the classroom, play dates, parties, dance, swimming and no longer being able to shop without bumping into people I now know I spent last year as an extreme introvert living a somewhat extroverted life.
So much of the year was spent chasing my tail, trying to get organised and figure out this new life while joining in with the things that would be important for Ellie and I, that I didn’t even realise what I was feeling and that all my frustration was due to the extreme exhaustion caused by the constant-ness of human interaction until October. And, by then, there was so much going on that I didn’t find the time to do anything about it other than mention the revelation in passing at the end of a post.
Now, however, with two girls unfurling their newly found wings and more responsibilities on my part to help them soar I have given myself permission to let go. Those of you who have been reading here for a while will know I struggle with wanting to do things for myself while feeling guilty, failing and then falling into the same habits. So often, I don’t even notice that I’ve let it slip until I am in dire need of some time for myself.
Please excuse the swollen foot and stupid toes. WHY do I have such stupid toes?
Those two hours made a real difference to me and not feeling an ounce of guilt for having done something just for me really crystallized the half plans I’ve vaguely formed late at night about not committing myself to too many things on ‘my’ day – helping out in class on Thursday when Jasper was at day care made sense but, in the end, was working against me. There was a reason my doctor ‘prescribed’ me this day and I’ve yet to really take advantage of it and do it right for my own mental health.
So, when I need to, I will go and do something to pull back the layers of stress that accumulate. I will happily do so, knowing full well that whatever I am engaging in is in no way going to get me ahead with the house cleaning, cooking or organising. It won’t be wearing down that pile of never-ending-washing or preparing things for school/outings/after school activities. And I won’t feel a bit guilty, because what it will be doing is filling up my tank, giving me space to breathe and center myself, allowing me rest in order to become strong and get back up again.
Sometimes, my family need me to be selfish in order for me to come back and be my best for them.
Also, I got a foot tattoo. It’s a shark. I love him.
When was the last time you were selfish?
Linking up with the lovely Jess for #ibot