Released On 16th Sep 2022
Ruth's blog: My Turn to Choose
School starts next week: into Year 2 for our eldest and our youngest starts in Reception. Everyone is very excited. The older one to see all of her friends, go back to the school routine and pizza lunches each Thursday. The younger one is excited to feel grown up in his uniform, see some known friends and make new friends and play in the massive sandpit! We are excited: after 2 years of “two children in two places” we will have a pair again, simplifying the practicalities of drop offs and pick-ups and who is hungry when. We know there will be challenges in getting both out of the door at the same time but are pleased that scheduling our home days and office days should in theory be easier now.
I think we had a great summer holiday, the best in years. We spent time with extended family, had day trips all over, had a camping trip (the week after the heatwave, you know, the one with the thunder storms!). But while on paper it was planned well and good fun, it was very hard work. Literally everything had to be a compromise. Child 1 vs child 2. Parents vs children. Tired parent 1 vs tired parent 2. Where we went, what we ate, how many additional floors of vertical spiral staircases we climbed in a castle. How late they wanted to stay up vs how early we wanted them asleep so that we could collapse. And looking back, over 7 weeks, I managed two outings on my own, neither of which was with my husband. And that seems a shame.
So in planning our autumn term, which also involves some renovation on our house and the chaos that will cause, I am trying to be a bit more selfish. I am joining a no-frills gym (well now I have to - I will update you next time!). I need to get fitter, and this seems a good plan for the autumn/winter. I am booking in some theatre trips with friends and am organising a babysitter so R and I have some evenings we can go out. All of this costs so I am budgeting to make sure these important things can happen, as reasonably as I can make them.
As parents or carers we give a lot of ourselves. A huge amount. More energy is spent on paid work. So, we all need time and things for ourselves to make us feel “us” again. I think we need to rethink the word selfish and not feel guilty about doing things just for ourselves. I struggle with the word self-care, it makes me think of being pampered in a dressing gown, spa style. But however you define it, we all need it and to try to find ways to weave it into our everyday lives. Time for me and time for you, to be US.
Ruth works 4.5 days per week in a central London accounting & tax firm. She lives in South West London with her husband, two children aged 6 and 4 and a tank of tropical fish.