There's an extract from an editorial I read earlier this week that I'd like to share with you all:
"For most of us the idea of having a few weeks' break from work and the school run is the stuff of desk bound daydreams. That is until the first week of December, when the reality of entertaining the kids, juggling the Christmas shopping, negotiating ceasefires to family feuds and cooking a memorable festive meal, dawns on us.
No matter how overwhelmed you feel by this year's holiday season, I urge you to make time for yourself." (Diana Williams, Founder of Fernwood Women's Health Clubs, Fernwood Magazine, December/January 2009 edition)
I don't know about you, but for me making time for myself at this time of the year is almost a dream. Honestly, if I could 'make' time, I'd throw an extra hour or two into today so that I can finally make it to the hairdresser to have a trim that is at least 3 months overdue.
I don't have time for myself on the best of days, let alone at the busiest time of year. What with end of year school assemblies and presentation days, dance rehearsals that take up most afternoon (for the kids, not me...), end of year dance concerts, work assignments that are suddenly urgent and shopping trips that take twice as long as usual (what is it with shopping centre car parks lately - there seems to be more queuing cars than parked cars).
But I have to say, that there is much merit in what Ms Williams says in the above extract. If we spend all our time either at work or attending to chores and looking after the needs and well being of our family members, we end up feeling exhausted, stressed and perhaps even resentful (or if you feel the way I do right now, you're even too tired to have the energy required for resentfulness). But where does that leave those of us with families who rely on us day in day out in general and even more so during the coming few weeks? How do we ensure that we are being looked after when we most need it?
If your life is anything like mine, you would have realised by now that no one is going to look after you, especially when you need it most. I abandoned the idea of being pampered a long time ago and the wish that one day I'd walk into the bathroom to find the tub full of soapy warm water, candles burning and the scent of vanilla lingering in the air, well, it remains exactly that - a wish (hint, hint to hubby....).
So realistically, if anyone is going to look after us mothers, it's gonna have to be ourselves. I say mothers, because generally, it is the matriarch of the family that is primarily responsible for the care and well being of her family and household and that is an onerous feat for all mothers but perhaps even more so for working mothers. I don't intend to offend any of our male readers, but I think that's the way it is in most families - regardless of whether or not the woman in your life works, if your an average bloke you probably still expect her to attend to most/all of the domestic duties, prepare dinner, help the kiddies with homework and then whisk them off to bed.
But I do digress.
Back to the original point of this article - making time for ourselves when time itself is a scarce commodity.
After reading Ms Williams editorial, I began to think about my busy work/life schedule over the coming few weeks. I felt exhausted just doing that. But in an attempt to calm my rapidly beating heart, I thought that there must be something I can do that would be purely for myself and that would make me feel better and in turn make me a better mother (why is it that as mothers, almost everything we do is aimed at making us better mothers...) without impinging too much on the time I need to dedicate to all my other duties.
So here is my list thus far:
- Exercise at least 3 times a week and to make that happen I have pre-booked all three children into a crÃ¨che at my local fitness centre. So technically, I have no excuse!
- Have a relaxing bath on Sunday night, when kids are in bed. Yes, there'll be candles and if I have time to grab some vanilla essential oil, then that too.
- Book a facial. Better use that voucher before it expires in two weeks. Funny how quickly the 12 month term of the voucher has passed.
- Grab a book, take the kids to the local play centre and lose myself in another world while the kids lose themselves in the kiddie maze. Okay so that one may not work so well, but at least it'll tire the kids out which means a better night's sleep for them and thus me.
I could probably come up with a hundred other ways of spending time on myself, but the reality is that I'd be lucky to get around to doing 5% of them. So for me, at this time of the year, I'd be happy to accomplish all 4 things listed above.
And on that note, I wish you all a very happy, memorable, safe, not so busy Christmas and new year, with enough time for yourselves to ensure that you too can get through this busy time of year and maybe, perhaps maybe, even enjoy it!
Do you also find this time of the year to be difficult at best? Have you made any plans to 'make' time for yourself and if so what are they? Or if you have any magical ideas on how we can all 'make time", I'd especially love to hear them too.
Please note that this will be the last post for the Essential Baby Blog for 2008. We will be resuming our posts on 19th January 2009. Thank you to our readers for your support and comments during 2008. We all look forward to having you all on board again in 2009.