Tuesday’s Top Five – Ways to spend my days off

One thing that I wasn’t really prepared for when I began the journey down the motherhood road three and a half years ago was the constancy of the job.  There is no time off, no end of shift, no holidays or sick days and even the middle of the night is not scared.  But every so often I do manage to get some days to myself and I have some of these coming up.  To be exact I have four whole days when the girls will be at childcare while I’m on school holidays and I have lots of things I plan to fill my days with.  Here are my top five…

1. Solo gardening
Of course this one tops my list and I think anyone who loves gardening and who has tried to do it with small children will know just how precious having some alone time with your plants is.  Gardening with kids can be fun and is great for developing an awareness of where food comes from and a connection to the environment (that’s the educator in me talking!), but it can also be excruciatingly slow and frustrating and there’s only so much the small ones will put up with before they start demanding my undivided attention.  When I’m on my own out there a whole day can slip by without me ever looking at the clock (perhaps I should set the alarm so I remember to go pick them up again), I work my way through the to do list and only stop when the blisters on my hands start to bother me and the light is fading.  I love it!  I feel completely at peace and my mind – which races a lot of the time making sure my balls all stay in the air – stops for a while.  This time it’s lots of planting, preparing, a bit of weeding and some harvesting and clearing out a bed or two on the agenda.

2. Reading
I miss this so much, I used to read a lot especially on a Sunday afternoon or in bed on Saturday morning.  Since children came along and even more so as my days have become busier with work, reading as been put to the side.  I generally only manage a couple of pages before bed, but I’ve found over the last few months my eyes are so tired and sore that I can barely manage that (hopefully the glasses will help that). Books that I would normally fly through sit on my bedside table for months and the to-read list just keeps getting added to.  These holidays at least a few hours are going to be dedicated to reading, now I just need to make sure I choose something REALLY worth reading.  Suggestions?

3. Spending some time with my sister
I’m very lucky having a sister I so close with and these holidays she’s using one of her annual leave days so we can spent some time together probably in the city.  While we haven’t worked out exactly what we’ll do I suspect it might involve some shopping, books and wool may feature in there and definitely regular stops for refreshments.  I always love these days, and having one on a weekday feels very special.

4. Solo Cooking
Like the gardening, cooking in peace and with free-range is so much more satisfying than trying to accommodate small, uncoordinated hands.  Don’t get me wrong, when I set out to cook with Miss Three and pick something easy for her to help with we have lots of fun, but if it’s more complicated or needs to be done quickly then doing it on my own works much better.  And there is nothing pleasant at all about cooking with Miss One clinging to my leg or pulling every last piece of plasticware out of the cupboard and on to the floor around my feet.

5. Spend some time at home alone
Well most of the above fit into this category, but it deserves it’s own mention because if you’re like me and need your own space, having the house to yourself, quiet and preferably clean, is pure luxury.  Lack of my own personal space has been the thing I struggle with most.  Sometimes I don’t want anyone touching me, demanding that I go here or do that, following me everywhere I go – showers and toilets are no longer private places.  I have also been blessed with two girls who just love to talk or babble in the case of Miss One.  Mostly I love that, but boy it can become draining and it really never stops, NEVER.  So quiet is so much more appreciated now.

Now in a Utopian world my fours days would be spent in just these ways, but in reality there are a few things I will have to do that don’t feature on my list.  Firstly I really need to catch up on some housework that has been seriously neglected over the last ten weeks.  And secondly, at least a day will need to be devoted to school work, marking tests, assignments and projects and preparing for the new topics some of which I need to learn myself.

A purely selfish list tonight, please excuse that and for a more informative one on winter veg head on over to Liz’s.

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15 Responses to Tuesday’s Top Five – Ways to spend my days off

  1. Liz says:

    Four whole days! WOW! Well 3 I guess given the school work but even so. This year to date I have had one child free day and I really, really need some more, for all the reasons you list about – although as I don’t have a sister I’ll have to substitute a friend for that one. Every time I book Mr 2 into extra childcare I end up having to do some paid work – very annoying indeed!

    • Barbara Good says:

      I know Liz, I am very lucky! And after all that extra paid work you’ve done lately it sounds like you really deserve a child free one or two soon!

      • Liz says:

        I agree wholeheartedly, if only the guilt didn’t hit whenever I have free time…..if I’m not course writing I feel I should be and if I don’t have a course to write I feel like I should be playing with Mr 2…silly I know…

      • Barbara Good says:

        That sounds very familiar, damn those jobs that don’t conveniently stay at work, but instead follow us wherever we go! And as for playing with young ones, I had an inspired day today (I usually work Mondays and my mother in law takes care of the small ones) and set up a number of different inside and outside Montessori activities as well as taking a walk to the park. I’m hoping the simple activities remain popular for a while cos coming up with new ones could test my mental capacity beyond its limits.

  2. Ali says:

    This sounds marvellous. I’ve no doubt I’ll crave something similar soon enough. I can only wish you one other thing: health. May you be able to enjoy these days illness free, especially when teachers seem to get sick in the hols, just as their bodies decide there’s finally time to be sick!

    • Barbara Good says:

      Indeed, but those first few months with the first born don’t seem quite so intense as far as getting some space goes, as long as they’re having a couple of day sleeps – but much more intense in other ways of course. I do remember being able to read while Miss Three slept in the mornings when she was tiny and it was just the two of us at home. Though that was mainly because she was such a light sleeper that doing anything else inevitably woke her up. I did get through a lot of books during those months… perhaps I should have trained myself to sleep during the day. Hope you are finding some time to relax amid the whirlwind of new motherhood.

      As for the sickness, there’s one thing more certain of bringing on illness than working with school children and that is living with toddlers who go to child care. I’m hoping my immunity is so high now I can withstand just about anything… touch wood.

      • rcra says:

        Yes it does seem a cruel irony that the weeks best suited to being a working mum – when bub only does 4 or 5 things and mostlikely sleeps a lot- should be in the first months as you get your bearings, lose sleep and fall in love. I am enjoying myself as she is a pretty easy baby all things considered. I should sleep more during the day too! I imagine I’ll miss my solitude acutely when she can follow me and needs occupying so much more!
        Here’s crossing everything for your immune system!!

  3. I found myself nodding my head in absolute agreement with this post all the way through it. I treasure time away from my kids. I treasure my children, but man, oh man, was I surprised at the total lack of time off, and freedom to think my own thoughts.

    Solo gardening, solo cooking and reading top my list when I have a little time.

    Great post.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Motherhood (pr perhaps parenthood) brings up so many conflicting feelings I find. Like you said I treasure my kids and the time I’m able to spend with them, but I equally treasure those few times when I get to be alone. I’ve always been someone who enjoys being alone and Mr Good and I have always given each other lots of space, so children really changed that part of my life. I love the line you used, ‘freedom to think my own thoughts’… that’s it exactly.

  4. I’m really excited for you that you are going to have some time to recharge. Looks like you are powering through the reading list now that you are finished A Suitable Boy!

    • Barbara Good says:

      Thanks L, and yes the reading is going well now. Just added another book and am already half way through the next. Though I’ll never make the 15 books I set for the challenge.

  5. Enjoy those 4 days. I have grown children and thought I would have plenty of time for doing things solo once they were out on their own, but I haven’t had more than 1 day a week without children in more than a year. Only in this case it’s grand children. Today is the first day since Last Wednesday I have to myself and am going to try to make the most of it. I enjoy their company, but chores seem to fall behind when I have children around daily.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Only two to go now, and tomorrow’s is dedicated to school work, poo. Plus the house needs some major attention, but hopefully I still fit in a little more gardening and reading.

  6. Andrea says:

    Love your top five this week Barb, quiet time alone is so precious , gardening, reading and time with a sister or special friend always a joy……………..
    Make the most of your four days and don’t feel guilty !!

    • Barbara Good says:

      No guilt here at all Andrea (well, perhaps just a tiny bit when I drop the girls off at child care and then go get a coffee on my own.) But just two to go, the first week went far too quickly.

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