The minute you decide to become a parent, your life is no longer yours to do with as you wish. If pregnant; you must eat well for the baby, no smoking, no drinking, put down the crack pipe. If adopting, you must be the most virtuous of parents, so as to tick the boxes on the paperwork, many boxes that biological parents would fail to tick, if they were to undergo the same stringent testing.
Once the small people arrive; they demand our money, our time, our best knowledge. Sleep no longer belongs to you but is hijacked by cries and occasional sicknesses by the small people. Even our time on the phone, in the bathroom, is usurped. I have a friend who used to take her cup of tea and a magazine into the bathroom, just to escape the small people. This was her golden rule; leave Mum alone in the bathroom, until one of them climbed onto the wheelie bin and spoke to her through the window. Nothing is sacred.
Like most women, I spend a lot of time doing things for other people; friends, children, partner, family. The last thing I want to do is insult your intelligence by getting all self-help on your ass, insisting you take some time out for yourself. This is impossible for many, most women I know, even men. When I look at my life and take responsibility for the choice have children, whining sounds like, well, whining.
Why can’t I ever do anything for myself, I ask? Answer? Because you choose to breed so, STFU.
My progeny are older now, I am afforded a sense of freedom my friends with young ones don’t have yet but they will one day, I remind them. I can head out for a coffee or dinner and leave kids at home alone. I can ask them to participate in the running of the house, albeit the response is often less than congenial. This is my battle now, to ask them to learn skills so they can be capable people when they leave my house. They fight me on it but I am as committed to this as I was to controlled crying when they were nine months old.
How I take time out for myself now is by getting up before the rest of the house, sitting quietly and drinking tea, going through the web, I write. I exercise. I run errands so I can be alone in the car. I go to bed early. I walk the dogs. These small things give me time to think and be myself but I am always glad to see my loved one’s when I return, until the next excuse to be alone again.
This morning I got up early, I had an exactly two hours to do with what I wished. Two perfectly made lattes, eggs, avocado and bacon, some Stalkbook and some writing and then the son arose and like the last grains of sand in an hourglass, my time was up. Now the day will be taken up with responsibility to my choice to breed. I accept this. This is my lot because I wanted it.
But gee, it was swell to be alone for a moment this morning.