I don't get 'paid' for the work that I do. I don't have to answer to anyone and be accountable for my time. I don't 'clock on' and 'clock off' and the work that I do is done according to my time frames. I don't have tasks that I can complete so that I can start another one. I don't have set break times. I don't have the freedom to come and go when I choose. I don't have any training courses to attend that can help me do my job better. I can't get a promotion in my job. I don't get any special awards or recognition for the work that I do. I am not in a team that can motivate me and support me in the work that I do. I don't have a manager in my job. Why? Because because my job title is 'Full Time Mum' (FTM). One thing that I do need and seek in my job (and sometimes, if I'm lucky, I do get it), is time out!
I've written about this from various angles a couple of times now so I'll try not to repeat myself too much. My focus today is not on what it means to be a FTM or what my job entails (I'm sure you've all heard that before), but rather how important it is to get that time alone, that 'me time', as the old cliche goes. One very important lesson that I have learnt over the years, particularly since having Julia, is how important it is to get that time for yourself, that time to do what YOU want to do, that time to 'get your head back together'. Now that may not necessarily involve a big drinking session with the girls (although sometimes that helps LOL), may not necessarily involve a big spending spree and some major 'retail therapy' (although sometimes that helps too LOL). It may just mean finding a quiet spot in the garden, or curling up with a good book, or calling someone to say hello, listening to your favourite music, going out to see a good movie, or even what I like to call 'going on strike' when you make up your mind that your work can just wait!
For me, one of my favourite 'time out' things to do is walk........surprise, surprise! The other day, Little Miss was being her usual self, being the shadow that she constantly is. I was getting more and more frustrated as time went on because all I could see was all of the work that I needed to do, that I knew I should do, but just couldn't find the motivation to do. I waited for David to get home and then I bolted out the door........just me, my sneakers and the foot path. I knew that I just had to get away, just had to be by myself for a while to clear my mind and enjoy my own company for a change. I walked and walked until I felt calm and at ease again, soaked up the sunshine, looked at the nature around me, watched the birds fly past and forgot about it all for a while.
It is so easy to become totally absorbed in caring for everyone else. It is so easy to constantly be worried about everyone else's welfare that you forget about yours! I am sure that a lot of people reading this will be guilty of this charge.......I know I certainly am. It is natural for a FTM to be on the go, all the time, forever caring for the kids, the whole family and forgetting to take that time for herself. One thing I will say again because I can never say this too often, is how totally amazed I am at the 'different world' FTMs live in. I am grateful that I have experienced what it is like to work everyday in the rat race, after being employed for over 20 years in a variety of jobs, and also now being at home with kids. These 'worlds' couldn't be more opposite if you tried and I always laugh to myself when I reminisce at how I thought that being at home all day, everyday, with kids was no big deal. Even for those who work and also have a family to worry about, everyone needs to look after themselves too.
So this blog today is dedicated to self preservation, dedicated to encouraging you to find that special something that gives you that time out. Writing and painting for me are also ways that I 'tune out'. It is a way I can go into my own little world for a while and get that 'break'. It is so critical that we all, not just FTMs, find the time to give ourselves a bit of attention too, to do things that make us feel good, that allows us to 'get a grip' again. Sometimes it's OK to be a little bit selfish you know and do something for yourself. I find that when I need to, I just force myself to seek that 'time out' and do whatever it takes to get that break so that I have some 'brain space' left to carry on. The best part about it is that 'time out' can be anything you want it to be and once you have found what is good for you, taking this special and valuable time for yourself will always give you that boost that you need :) xxx