Sunday, 26 May 2013

Go Away Little Voice ...

Its Sunday morning and I am sitting in my pink, fluffy dressing gown at the kitchen table. Having read a few blogs I am now continuing to avoid any actual physical work by writing this ...

I don't know why it is that I have a gnawing feeling of guilt that I am doing nothing productive ... after all its not as though I've signed some sort of contract to be busy at all times, providing nourishment for my children or polishing various pieces of dusty furniture. I think it may be some sort of genetic failing present in most women. For some reason we feel that it is our mission in life to cook, clean, care for, organise ...

Luckily I don't seem to have the full on, OCD type gene. I may have the feeling of guilt when I sit down and do nothing but write, or read, but I don't actually do anything about it. I am aware of a small voice in the back of my head at this very moment telling me "Sarah, you really ought to get dressed and do some washing, or go to the allotment, or tidy your bedroom, or clean the fridge ..." But fortunately I have the strength of mind to ignore that voice and continue typing.

I think that I may well be part of a new generation of women who are moving on from the persistent necessity to clean, cook and generally skivvy about for their family. Or, of course, I could just be a rogue lazy cow.

I remember the very first time I heard that little voice in my head telling me to do something I would have preferred not to do. It was when my first son was about a day old. I had given birth by emergency cesarean and the whole experience had been a far cry from the dream of aromatherapy oils and shangrila I had hoped for. I recall him lying in his clear plastic, hospital cot crying and I knew he needed his nappy changing. I, on the other hand, needed a lie down as my operation scar was killing me and I felt faint. It dawned on me at that moment that there was nobody else around who could help this little baby and that this was my job now.

I think it was the very first time I had ever done something for someone else when really I needed to just go to bed and pull the covers over my sweaty, pain racked brows. I think it was then that the realisation of motherhood and all it meant, hit me. "Fuck"

It has been a long and slow recovery. For the first few years of motherhood I truly believed that I was the only one who could do right by my children and this belief resulted in a combination of huge resentment and an enormous amount of homemade produce. I lost count of the number of cakes I baked, sweet potatoes I mashed and poured into ice cube trays, or curls of hair I framed. (ok I admit that does sound a tad Hannibal Lecteresque ...)

Looking back there was no expectation from anyone but myself that I should do all this. My husband is the most wonderful partner who has no qualms about putting on a load of washing or ironing his own shirt for work. But that gene was rampant in my DNA.

It has taken time, but I now realise that what I do with my life is up to me. If I don't want to hoover my lounge then I don't have to. If I want to spend my day at the allotment, or not, then I will ... or won't. The world will not collapse if we have beans on toast for dinner rather than a three course, organic feast and if my son tells me he is not hungry at lunchtime then so be it. He is old enough to get himself some toast in an hour if he gets peckish then.

Does that make me a bad mum? I don't think so. I think it makes a happier, more relaxed, fully rounded person. I have learnt to ignore that pesky voice telling me that I have to do things. I don't have to do those things right now. They will get done when I want to do them ... or when I tell my boys to do them.

So, I am going to continue sitting here, looking out at my garden and the fence that needs painting. I shall continue to peruse the internet and possibly, in a moment, make another pot of tea.


joeh said...

RELAX is good.

following, as any friend of Lo is a friend of mine!

OK, I liked you post as well.

joy said...

It is a gene that I managed to overcome several years ago. I used to feel really guilty about doing my own thing, I've never been a domestic goddess, only ever doing "enough and no more", but I no longer feel guilty about it. Maybe it helps that I'm now an (almost) empty nester. Love your posts, read 'em all even if I dont always comment, keep up the good work x x x

troutbirder said...

Indeed. I think this is maybe why my spouse and I decided to sign up for yoga class recently. :)

Eve said...

This is awesome Sarah! I am doing exactly as you are this morning, and you would not believe how apropos it is that I read this post this morning. Thankyou, well said!

Jojo. xx said...

I really needed to read this today. Thankyou. :-)

Lo said...

Cheers and applause, Sarah.

You are way ahead of me in that it took me about 60 years to figure out that I did not have to do most of what I felt I had to do......if you know what I mean.

Carry on, girl.

sarah at secret housewife said...

Hello Joeh! Thanks! And it works both ways ... any friend of Lo is a friend of mine too! Amazing lady!! Glad you liked my post! x

Hi Joy! Thanks for your comment.It takes a while to realise that stuff is not "compulsory" doesn't it? I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and I'm really glad you like it! x

Hello Troutbirder! Love your name! Thanks for commenting. Yoga sounds good to me! S

Hi Eve! I hope you had a lovely relaxing time and I'm glad my post appeared at just the right moment!! x

Hello Jojo. I'm really glad that my blog post was there at the right time for you too! Hope you are ok.I came over to your Three Fat Ladies do Lunch and I'm sorry to hear of your loss.I do hope you continue to post about your lunches though. Glad I could help today x

Hello Gorgeous Lo! Yes ... I thought maybe you might have discovered the ability to ignore that little voice!! Its a revelation isn't it?? xxx

Thank you all for your comments! I have come over to visit all your blogs where possible ( even the Cranky ones, Joeh!)Thanks for visiting mine. Sarah x

Older Mum said...

So very true!!! Ultimately we are the ones who place expectations and pressures on ourselves. Lovely to hear you are ignoring that voice!

Urban Cynic said...

Good for you. As someone without any kids you've just described every day of my life!

As Ferris Beuller once said "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it".

sarah at secret housewife said...

Thanks Older Mum! By the way I am looking forward to your keynote speech! How cool is that!! x

Hi Urban Cynic! You just don't know how envious I am of your lifestyle sometimes!! And old Ferris was right, wasn't he? xxx