I so admire mothers who also work outside the home, for it is not an easy task to juggle everything. And to be all things to all people, at both home and employment.
As a stay-at-home-mum you are all things to all people all the time too, but at home only. So as busy as life can be, simply by virtue of the fact that you are available for all sorts of tasks that no-one else is, it can be possible to find time to do things that you want or need to do for yourself.
As a stay-at-home-mum you have given up, either by choice or necessity, paid employment to be at home for your children.
You give them, and family life, your time. Children grow up, eventually becoming fairly independent teenagers - transitioning to the adults they believe they already are - and you may then begin to notice that you have some additional time on your hands.
Time is precious. You have happily gifted some of yours and now some of it is being gifted back to you. How to treat this gift, in between the lessening but still required parenting?
Taking some of this time for yourself does not always mean simply partaking in a favourite activity; like going for a walk, a swim or attending a dance class. Nor, it must be said, does it necessarily mean an increased housework load! Some of this time can be used to take a short trip or to put a skill set or an interest you may have to good use. Because you want to. For you.
So you have a think and make some plans, then make arrangements to attend an event to facilitate these plans of yours. But this may require some additional 'out of hours' time, so to speak.
Then you promptly find as many reasons as you can as to why you should just scupper the whole thing and simply say 'no'.
1) It's the weekend and too many alternative arrangements will have to be made.
2) It's just easier to say no ....... For whom?
3) Too many questions will need answering.
4) Who will make the required meals that you won't be there for?
5) It's just not worth the hassle.
That was how I felt getting up for my organised event yesterday. I had been looking forward to it but now I just didn't want to go. However, I had made a commitment to attend so go I must.
And on the way I began to think of the many reasons I should more readily say 'YES' to these things.
1) Weekends and outside school hours are for stay-at-home-mums too.
2) Shared parenting is a partnership so there are no problems. I am lucky this is so.
3) The more you do it the less questions will arise and
more independence will be created.
4) There is a reason why microwaves and takeaways exist. And cook books and YouTube. Anyone can learn.
5) If I can't make this day happen then I can't make anything
that results from it happen either.
6) I am NOT entirely indispensable.
This is just one of a number of scenarios that I have recently found myself looking for all the reasons I should say no.
Is that simply because I've just gotten used to it? Has staying at home all these years made me 'dependent'? Or perhaps just everyone else around me? Has the status quo been fixed in cement? All without anyone realising....
The actual answers to these questions I pose are unimportant, but dealing with them, for me, is not.
As it happens I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday's event and was glad I made the effort. Everyone survived and I found more reasons to say 'YES' than 'no'.
I think perhaps that teenagers are not the only ones in transition around here ;)
So this is my new motto......