Don’t get me wrong, I love my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I could use 10 minutes of “me time”.
It’s no walk in the park being mother to a hyperactive three-year-old boy obsessed with karate chops, fiancée to an equally busy man, full-time post-graduate student and freelance journalist – while planning a wedding. Taking a bubble bath in silence is something that used to happen to me in another life.
I recently had a conversation with a classmate, who asked what I was passionate about. I didn’t have to think long. “Sleep,” I answered promptly and she laughed. I don’t think she knows the value of a good night’s rest. This is serious business.
I began to realise just how serious it is when I had a health scare at the end of last term. I spent a few days in hospital undergoing tests. The neurologist asked if I was under any extra stress. I didn’t know what to say: seriously, I was stumped. Up to that point, the word “stress” had been banned from my vocabulary. I was the quintessential martyr – the ultimate ‘mother’.
In my mother’s day, things went a little bit differently. My aunts were my second moms; in fact to this day I still get a little confused at family gatherings. Referring to every woman as ‘mom’ can get a little complicated. In my mother’s generation, she could just drop us off at one of her sisters’ houses for the holidays, which could have lasted anything up to a whole month. My son goes for day visits to see his cousins and I’m present at all of them, no one wants to take my child on when they have their own to deal with. These are just the normal everyday things we ‘modern’ moms are expected to do.
Getting on with things without truly assessing our load is something we tend to do. We just soldier on. I used to think this was the stuff that made people tough – until my health stopped me in my tracks and made me realise there was nothing tough about depleting one’s resources to zero.
I realised the importance of taking care of one’s self and having enough rest. Jokes aside, trying to do too much, neglecting to eat a balanced diet, exercise or get enough rest can be life-threatening.
These days I try my best to put some “me time” into my schedule. At times I manage five minutes without someone asking for final decisions about wedding dress designs, vox pop questions or being harassed for juice while I duck a karate chop. I’m on my way – I call it my ‘baby steps’.