Do you know one of the hardest things I’ve found about being a parent?
Finding things to do to relax.
And then finding the time to actually do them! I feel stressed just thinking about it.
So much so, that sometimes I feel like stopping life’s little roundabout and just bloody well getting off.
Not forever. Just for an hour or so. Just to take a break. Just to chill out dammit.
The trouble is; that singular hour or so you get to yourself a day after the kid(s) are in bed and before you’re too knackered to even take your bra (or boxers!) off is so precious, I always feel like I should use it to do something CONSTRUCTIVE.
I never used to appreciate the endless possibilities of ‘an hour’, that 60 beautiful minutes stretching before you like a tantalising yellow brick road, where you get to do WHATEVER YOU WANT.
No story reading, no nappy changing, no pretending to be a dusty old witch or superhero in huge underpants.
No pooping dinosaurs or silly voices and definitely no creating elaborate meal plans from Annabel do dah’s epic toddler recipe planner.
Come to think of it – neither did I ever used to entertain the notion that ‘an hour’ should be spent doing something ‘constructive’.
You’d think it would be easy wouldn’t you? Relaxing I mean. Just for an hour. Seriously, how difficult can it be?
Have a bath. Read a book. Do some yoga.
Hell, drink 6 bottles of wine and eat your body weight in stinky vintage cheese or doughnuts if you want to! (I don’t personally advise that one. Just saying.)
Heavens, just calm down. Do ‘normal’ stuff. You know, like you used to pre-children. It’s just an hour.
Except it isn’t ‘just an hour’ anymore is it?
Ohhh no. NOW that pesky hour is right on my back. All the time. Like an irritating itch that demands attention.
Sending me constant reminders to Do. Something. Constructive.
‘You’re hour is about to staaaaart’ it taunts.
Go on…get ready…get set…GO!
Help, I’m off, I’m racing down a hill, no a mountain, no, you know what, I think it’s an ice shelf – of endless, glorious possibilities.
Yea! I’m out of control, but I loooooove it!
Quick. This is it. My hour. My ONE hour I get to myself a day, my re-fuelling time, my ‘me-time’ (stop it!), my give me my sanity back NOW time.
‘Whatever you do, do NOT waste it’, the itch reminds me. Oh Shut the F Up!
The momentum, in anticipation of all the things I can do with my 3600 seconds, is building like a raging forest fire.
Urm, it’s getting a bit much actually.
Wait…I’m feeling a bit…’stressed’.
I have a harsh word with myself, do some deep breathing and quickly entertain the notion of sitting luxuriously in an explosion of multicoloured bath bombs surrounded by scented Lavender tea light candles.
Oh yes, I’m feeling more like a Buddhist monk on the cusp of Nirvana already.
Right, I’ll follow the bath with 20 minutes creative time I decide – courtesy of An Enchanted Forest adult colouring book and a pack of felt tip pens in calming pastel pantones.
Do I follow through?
Of course I bloody don’t.
…because 5 minutes have already elapsed. With me…faffing.
I’ve only got 55 minutes left.
Right, to hell with the bath.
I hurriedly delve into a book on peaceful parenting. In fact I’m knee deep in the merits of letting your child win at board games to boost their self esteem. (What? I have to deliberately ‘lose’?)
I’m simply NOT developed enough as a conscious human being to willingly relinquish any game. Not even picking up pairs. Not to my 4 year child. Not to ANYONE.
Oh heck. Now I just feel like a bad person.
OK, centre yourself dammit. Maybe I should just give up and put the washing on?
No, wait – I’m suddenly caught up in the fact the very fabric of my existence now depends on my using my remaining time to create something ‘organic’.
Yes, that’s it.
With spelt flour. And Rapadura sugar.
And those black dot things – what are they called again? Oh yes, chia seeds. Sound like a poodle pornstar, but never mind, they are VERY nutritious and will likely give my child perfectly formed fairy wings if eaten on a regular basis.
Especially if combined with cacoa and formed into the shape of a raw chocolate vegan ‘power’ ball.
My child will be on such an antioxidant overdose toxins will scream for mercy.
But hold on.
Is this really the most efficient use of my remaining 26 and a half minutes?
I don’t realistically have time to draw up a list of pros and cons of the merits of making my child an organic superfood power ball over a self carved educational toy made out of reclaimed wood.
So I quickly decide to make my daughter something out of hessian.
That toddler sized baby sling I saw on on a board on Pinterest. From scratch. On a micro sized sewing machine.
Only trouble is, I’ve got 23 minutes left and the image of a perfectly formed mini sling, for my daughters BPA ridden plastic toy baby, is soon replaced with me screaming blue murder at a bobbin.
Yes, I’ve been reduced to shouting at a piece of smoothly formed wood and it transpires I’ve spent 22 and a half of the 23 minutes trying to (unsuccessfully) thread a sewing machine needle.
With 1 minute to go before my precious hour elapses, I collapse on the floor. Exhausted.
I can’t even be bothered to have a cry.
So I rage off to bed.
Where I see my sleeping Little Lady. Serene. Gorgeous. Loving. Wilful. Vulnerable. Powerful. Funny.
And at last I feel relaxed.
And I remember it’s all worth it.