I’ve just spent the past few days at home on my own – with no kids, no noise, no-one to look after, no-one to please but myself.
When Roger died, I remember all I wanted to do was have some time to myself, a bit of space to be able to process things and just not have to talk.
As it was the beginning of the school summer holidays that wasn’t something that was going to happen easily, and I know by the end of that six week break I was ready to throw in the towel, crawl into a hole and not come out. If this is what life’s all about, I just don’t think I can do it, I remember saying to my friend, like a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
But guess what? A few days later, when school started and I finally had some quiet time to myself, I started to feel better. I realised all I needed was some time to think, a bit of breathing space and time on my own.
That’s exactly what I needed this week – a chance to relax, catch up on sleep, eat well, exercise and just be myself, before I forgot entirely where that relaxed, not harassed, but kind of calm part of me was!
We were away last week on our holiday in Yorkshire and that was just lovely. I’ve got a post on our little break coming up, I think we all enjoyed hanging out and having some fun without having any deadlines. But family holidays are pretty tiring nonetheless, and as a single parent you have to be all things to all people and it’s exhausting. Luckily my mum and dad offered to give Sam and Florence a bit of a break at their house for a few days so I could come home and recharge my batteries on my own.
So with a whole two days and three nights to myself, you can imagine how excited I was to get home, lock the door, run a bath and just chill out for a bit. I arrived home at about 5pm, just about the time when my day usually gets pretty hectic with teatime, bedtime and all that. So just to have some downtime at that time of the day was a total revelation!
As busy parents – much as we adore our little ones, it goes without saying – we all know how good it feels to even get an hour on our own, five minutes of me time even. There’s that joke about how we sneak off to the supermarket and feel like it’s a day at a spa… but two whole days solo! That has to be equal to a mum retreat. A few days in a spa has nothing on this. My own bed, my own space, my own rules.
I had so many big plans for my me time. I was going to spring clean the house, sort out my bulging wardrobe, clear out some things I no longer need from the loft, batch cook healthy meals for the next week. Oh yeah, I was going to do all this, and then I was going to relax.
But the reality of my mum retreat was that I was just too tired to do any of that, and thank goodness, because where would I have been if I’d have wasted my precious time alone on housework? More tired, that’s where!
Instead, I’ve had a few early nights and lie-ins; I’ve drunk tea in bed; I’ve caught up on a bit of writing; I’ve watched three episodes of my current favourite programme, The A Word and a few of Girls.
I’ve been for two runs; I’ve been shopping after work; I’ve eaten out with a friend; I have just been me.
With the children coming back today, I really am looking forward to seeing them and I can’t say I haven’t missed them because I have – especially when my mum sent me a photo of Flo riding a pony (sob!).
But the benefit of that quiet time on my widow’s brain (which really is a thing, apparently) has been immense.
So mum, when are next free…?