The gift of time

It’s a funny thing being a mum. There are days when I really crave some quality time alone, to do stuff… Non baby or housework related stuff, that is. Maybe not very important stuff even, just pottering around, like I used to do when I had all the time in the world before ToddlerGirl was born. Then there comes a magical day when I am actually in a position to make it happen – and I spend half the time missing my little girl terribly and wondering what she is doing!

The gift of time - enjoying mummy me time

Yes, today is one of those magical days. ToddlerGirl is having a day out with her Daddy and a visiting friend and I am completely, entirely, wonderfully on my own in the house.

There was the usual hustle and bustle as they all left – it really is like a military operation trying to get out of the house with a baby or toddler – and then suddenly all was quiet. Really, really quiet. I sat in the living room for a while, pondering what to do with the acres of free time I had been presented with. If I had been a bit more organised, I would have arranged an exciting activity, such as a boozy lunch out with a friend or a decadent spa treatment. Humph. But then, acutely aware of the silence around me, I realised that I am so very rarely in the house on my own these days that I should stay put and savour the novelty.

Even if ToddlerGirl is napping (and I say ‘if’), I am generally running around madly trying to cram in as much as possible into my forty five minute window of opportunity to Get Things Done. It feels rather decadent to sit still, doing nothing, listening to the birds singing, with hours stretching out before me.

Of course, I couldn’t just sit still for too long. I did feel a pressing need to use this time wisely. Luckily, one of the side benefits of having a child is that it has made me much more efficient. I allocated myself an hour to do all my practical jobs: the washing, the tidying, nipping to the shops. Hell, I even managed to change the bed and organise the laundry cupboard! With my little cat napper, I have realised just how much you can achieve in a short space of time. And the importance of getting on with it while you have the chance. There is no way pre-baby me would have whizzed through so much housework so quickly! She would have still been sitting on the sofa thinking about what needed to be done.

My reward was to enjoy a leisurely lunch in the sunshine, another thing that doesn’t happen too often. It’s a really beautiful day (dare I say that it feels positively spring-like?), perfect for sitting in the garden.

As tempting as it was to stay put outside, I am now treating myself to some computer and blog time. It is often tricky to fit this in. I am running around after a toddler all day, squeezing in practical chores when I can and am generally flung on the sofa once ToddlerGirl is in bed, but it can be frustrating to have no space in the day to do some writing. With our nursery plans on hold, I am thinking that I need to give myself some time in the evenings to tinker around with my little blog and other projects – and having a chunk of the day to myself today has made me realise that we should do this more often. Not just for me. I sometimes forget that D isn’t exactly skipping around with lots of free time either. It can feel that way as he gets to escape out to the office to work and even to go away for a week, which from my new stay at home mum perspective feels like a break! But of course it isn’t and I’m sure we would both benefit from a little bit of space to ourselves at the weekend sometimes.

Not all the time, though. As wonderful as it has been to be alone in the house, I cannot wait to see ToddlerGirl’s face when she comes back and give her a cuddle! It almost feels as if there is a part of me missing; even as I relish the down time, she is on my mind constantly. And I guess that is the conundrum of being a mother: your life becomes so full with this little person (or people) that it feels very strange and slightly wrong when they are not around. That’s not to say it’s not important to give yourself permission as a mum to have some time away from your children. For me, it is hugely important, but it is also a strange double-edged sword, this wanting time and then wishing it away when I have it…

On that note, I am off. As much as I can’t wait to see ToddlerGirl again shortly, the clock is now ticking and I need to make the most of my last hour of freedom :)

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