This picture sums up a discovery I’ve made over the past few weeks. To be the best mum possible, you need to strike a balance and find some time for yourself. Even if it’s just a little sliver.
I made a decision over the Christmas break to try and regain some kind of balance. I wrote recently about how being self-employed can make it hard to get that balance right. Although I love every aspect of what I do, I’ve come to accept that I do need some element of non-work, non-mum life too. I need a piece of something for myself.
And since I’ve been taking that piece over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed my shoulders haven’t been so tense. I haven’t been a shouty mum (OK there was the time she drew on the wall, but let’s ignore that one) and I haven’t been a grumpy wife (OK, there was the time he went to the pub and forgot his key and I had to stay up until 1am for him, but let’s ignore that one too).
Mainly, on the whole, I think I’ve been a much easier person to be around, because I’ve been ME. Not a hamster running on a wheel, trying to spin a million and one plates. But ME. Someone who’s prone to laugh. Not someone who’s crying every five minutes through exhaustion and wondering if they’ve lost a little piece of themselves somewhere down the line.
I’m me again. And I like it.
These are the things that have helped:
A beautiful scented candle lit in the kitchen while I’m doing the washing up or faffing with the laundry.
Realising I still have a whole hour to go before I need to collect my two year old from nursery, so making a quick detour to the shops and finding a dress for myself. Not a pair of toddler trousers or a jumper for my husband, but a dress. A dress for ME.
Taking two minutes to pick an outfit for work the next day rather than stumbling around in the dark at 4am. Rocking up to work wearing my favourite pair of pre-pregnancy tights that I’ve found at the back of the drawer.
Taking on a manageable amount of work, rather than a huge mountain I’ll never climb, giving myself the odd evening to do something totally rock and roll, like knit while wearing PJ’s and watching the Downton Abbey box set.
These are the reasons I’m smiling. It’s the little things that have set the balance back to one I can happily deal with.
Now, I’m off to go and do my knitting. Don’t judge me.