Do you have time for Me Time?

January 28, 2011

A great post by my lovely friend Linda has sparked a big debate over at Ready for Ten about ‘Me Time’. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently as I suddenly, astonishingly, seem to have rather a lot of it.

There are those – probably Mr X amongst them – who think my whole life since having children has been Me Time. Before the advent of Child One and Child Two, I had a very stressful job as a feature writer on a national newspaper, and rarely arrived home before 8, 9, 10. I almost never cooked and I spent my high salary on things like ridiculously expensive leather gloves. I’m not even going to tell you what my handbags cost, I can’t bear to think about it. In a way, I never had Me Time then either, as my soul belonged to the newspaper, or to a lifestyle that I was in the thick of but didn’t love.

Children came and 15 years have passed. Nappy days, happy days. Now, yes I blog, I write the odd article and I’m supposed – ahem – to be finishing novel 2. But there are moments when I find myself alone in the house, with no-one yelling at me to find clean tights/help with chemistry revision/produce food/write 100o words  now. Perhaps I should be cleaning that yickky spot that I know lurks right round the back of the fridge. The cat has been batting cherry tomatoes down there for some time and that really can’t be good. But increasingly I’m wondering whether I shouldn’t just be done with it, acknowledge the fact that I have genuine free time to spend just like everyone else, turn on the TV, turn off my head and watch Jeremy Kyle for a change.

It’s the guilt that stops me. Somehow I still think that if I relax for a moment, the system will grind to a halt, despite the fact that the children the system was designed to support are now off on their own, developing their own systems.

Why do women feel this guilt and pressure to perform, even when there’s no-one watching and not much that needs to be done? Am I the only one who finds herself de-fluffing the tumble dryer filter instead of giving in to my craving for Bargain Hunt? Or are the rest of you slumped on your sofas as I write? Please tell me it’s not just me ….

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  • Addy January 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    It’s not just you. I was the same as a stay-at-home mum, always trying to justify my stay-at-homeness with hard work and no relaxation. Now I am officially retired, I sill can’t do it. I am working hard from breakfast till early evening and even feel guilty switching on Eastenders or Corrie while I eat my supper as I could be multi-tasking instead! See what I have been up to these last few days. And now I am off to my mother’s to do some more.

  • Young Mummy January 30, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I wrote a post about just this very subject a couple of weeks ago. I’m sick of constantly feeling guilty – it taints any Me Time I actually manage to get. I’m trying to get better at it, and have made a point since the new year of putting aside time to read, or play about on Twitter. I think I’m succeeding in at least managing to dull the guilt a little bit, even if it never quite goes away altogether…

  • Metropolitan Mum January 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I really don’t know why it’s so hard to relax – and why men have the gift to put their feet up in the midst of all-hell-broken-loose. I’ll switch on the tv. NOW.

  • Crystal Jigsaw January 31, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    It’s a natural instinct for any woman I think. They are programmed to feel guilty and carry the conscience that should belong to the men!!

    CJ xx