This morning was the first childcare day of the year for Biggestlittle. We walked in at the same time as the staff who organises placements and she said hi and asked where the other two boys were. I reminded her that they only come on Mondays.
The glorious words that escaped her mouth changed everything. She said that I should bring them in because it was quiet and they missed out coming on Monday due to the public holiday!
I don’t think even Usain Bolt could have kept up with me. I had those kids back there faster than you could say ‘coffee in peace’.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love those grotty, whingey little terrors, but a whole day to myself to drink coffee before it goes cold, and catch up on the study I’ve neglected over Christmas is something so beautiful don’t even know that I have the words to explain it, so keep in mind that whatever description I manage to give next will in no way compare to the level of bliss and joy that has washed over me.
Parents – You know way back, back before your life consisted of sports sign-ups, immunisation schedules, cracked nipples and/or bottle sterilising, arguments about how to discipline, teething poops, and answering the endless, relentless barrage of ‘why?’ questions, back when life was simple?
Do you remember that? Try. Try to picture life before children. Got it? Keep that image in your head.
I don’t remember where I was going with this – hang on to that picture for a moment longer while I think. (Yes, that’s absolutely an excuse to let you live in that moment for a few seconds longer before reality sets in, in 3, 2, …)
Quick now think of your hardest parenting day ever!
See why I was so excited for the childcare day?
It’s not that I don’t love them, or that I don’t enjoy their company, it’s just that sometimes I don’t want to see their faces for a tiny little while so I can pretend that I’m just a normal woman, doing normal things – sitting in the McDonalds waiting bay, wondering how long it takes to make a coffee, just a coffee, no happy meal. Going to the Doctors without having to either organise a babysitter or stop a few kids from busting in on a grouchy man with unironed skin having a suspicious mole checked. Studying and actually absorbing the words, not having to re-read the same paragraph three times because It doesn’t make sense that a University would ask for a 1500 word essay on the importance of I want milk mummy. Pooping alone – enough said.
It’s ok to want ‘me time’. I know that there are people who think ‘you made them and they are solely your responsibility’ or ‘childcare is only for working parents’. Those people are entitiled to think that, just as I am entitled to think that they either have freakishly angelic children, are satisfied with the role of full-time mother and don’t wish to pursue other avenues (which is genuinely ok, we all want for different things), a pristine brain with no hint of fog or darkness, or they’re just self-absorbed people who don’t know what empathy is.
Some times you need to hit pause. Take some time for yourself, give yourself some respite from the constant pounding postnatal depression, or the soul crushing anxiety, or whatever beast is on your back. Take time out to study something you’re passionate about. Hell even use a day to catch up on house work (house work may be code word for Netflix) if you need to.
It’s not evil, or neglectful, or wrong to need to be selfish for a little bit.
Parenting is hard. It has some really trying moments.
Being a parent does not mean giving up being a person.
As the great philosopher ‘Old El Paso’ says “Why don’t we have both?”