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 ….