I am lying beside my two year old. My head is full of things I should be doing but I can’t leave until he drifts off to sleep. He had a nap at daycare, which never bodes well for an easy bed-time. I can hear the television, my husband relaxing. Teeth gritted, I wish my little one to sleep. My own body is giving into exhaustion and I wonder if I will get to the writing/washing/sewing/emails/cleaning or whether I will fall from one bed to another. Another night wasted. Another pay-off for getting up at five when the boys wake and trying to squeeze a few minutes of work in before breakfast. There is precious little child-free time to book-end my day.
I get a Monday reprieve from the night time routine. I play netball with some school mums and it’s a welcome distraction. My husband puts the boys to bed and it’s fine. But if I am in the house, they expect me. It’s just easiest to go with it. Even when I am unwell, story time will move to wherever I am resting. If I am around in the mornings, then it’s me the boys rouse and hustle out of bed. This is motherhood. It comes with the territory and one day they will be old enough to sleep without cuddles and to wake without company.
But right now, they still need me and I am grateful for it. Mostly. There are the family holidays which seem to be trips away from routine for everyone but me. I have talked about with my friends before. When you go away as a mum with your family, it’s the same job in a different location.
Right now, child-free time means time away from the house. Which when you are tired and in need of nurturing isn’t always the best idea. There are plenty of times I yearn for the house to myself on a day away from working. To do nothing but lounge around, run a bath, read and watch a season of whatever.
If that window of time became available would I do it? Probably not. I’d see dishes to wash, clothes to fold and wardrobes to tidy. I’d see time to catch up on emails and time to write. I have been conditioned to believe that time spent idly on myself is time wasted.
So my child-free breaks are taken outside the house. Catching up with friends over dinners and drinks. Or attending a course. Or exercising. And I love that. I love that I can do that. But is that the only kind of break my soul needs?
I can’t blame my family for my exhaustion if I don’t value myself enough to allow myself some proper down-time. I just have to work on seeing the value in down-time. Allowing myself that luxury.
What do your child-free breaks look like?
Do you take any sofa days?