Today was an unproductive day. Inspiration wouldn’t come, I couldn’t sleep last night so I decided to take a nap in the morning to catch up. My mum came over for lunch and we spent a few hours chatting. Before I knew it my son was home from school, the day was over and it was almost time to start dinner. While I contemplated what to cook tonight I started to feel butterflies in my stomach. With surprise I realised that I was feeling nervous about my husband coming home and finding the house looking less than ideal with the laundry piled up and the dishes not done, the floor not vacuumed and the clothes not put away. I felt guilty and inadequate, anxious that he would feel disappointed and disapproving. After all, I’m home all day, why hadn’t I made the time to do these chores?
We ordered a takeaway. Not good for our waistlines but it solved the problem of not having dinner ready. Husband washed the dishes. I started on this blog. After dinner we watched TV and then at bedtime my son suddenly reminded me that he needed to do his art homework so he and I spent about 40 minutes creating a “mood board” of heroes and villains and emailing it to his teacher, as per instructions. So son went to bed later than usual and now I’m finishing the blog. At gone midnight! Not my finest day as a mother and a housewife, or a blogger actually…..
Nobody died today and nobody went to jail and my son got home safe from school. I’m doing alright
I am not the most organised person, it’s an area needing improvement, but that’s not why I didn’t get anything done today. I didn’t get anything done today because there wasn’t time to do everything so I prioritised what was important to me; I caught up on my sleep, a basic element of self-care and I met with my mother, providing her with vital social contact. My mother is agoraphobic and depressed and doesn’t have any friends. Our weekly lunches are extremely important to her. I put my health and my family above household chores today and now I’m putting blogging before sleep. I made my choices. The dishes will always get done sooner or later, the laundry will never be finished anyway because we keep wearing clothes, dammit! The floors are vacuumed regularly and the clothes will be put away or worn straight from the pile and then they’ll end up back in the laundry basket again. And if I need to catch up on sleep I’ll take a nap tomorrow. If I don’t do it all perfectly, if things pile up a bit every now and then, in the greater scheme of things WHO CARES? I’m not perfect, but I’m getting done what really matters. I’m hitting my blogging target, I’m getting my son to school on time in the correct uniform and with his lunch packed and his PE kit. He’s getting his homework done (when I know he has homework), there’s food in the house and we have clean clothes to wear. Nobody died today and nobody went to jail and my son got home safe from school. I’m doing alright.
I set myself a challenge this month to produce a blog post every day during February (Webruary) and this is my priority. I can’t grow this blog unless I produce content, I can’t express myself unless I write, I can’t pass on my knowledge and experience unless I make the time to work on this blog. That time has to come from somewhere. It’s going to take me a while to successfully incorporate blogging full time into my schedule of chores and there will be days when I fall behind and I will feel stressed and guilty and that’s okay. When I write, I feel right; I feel whole, I feel my truest self, I feel fulfilled. I exorcise demons and answer unspoken questions, I go to a place that I cannot reach through everyday human interaction. It’s a direct path to my inner voice and my higher self. I feel better when I write.
for the best part of two decades I ignored a voice inside that ached to be heard
For many years I did not write. I applied myself to the demands of my career, working incredibly hard, often working overtime, pouring my energy into a role that after I left was split between two people because the workload was so large. No wonder I went home mentally wiped and stressed every day! When I had my son I devoted my love and energy to raising him. Being autistic he required even more attention and time from me than a neurotypical child and I never returned to work. I spent all day chasing my super active son around the house, preventing meltdowns and supervising his safety as he had no sense of danger. I was isolated from the usual groups of new mums because he couldn’t handle social situations so I grew lonely and depressed and I was always so tired, far too tired to indulge in my hobby of writing. Over the years my role became my whole identity: housewife and mother of a disabled child. I lived in a cycle of cleaning things that would get dirty again and tidying away things that would reappear five minutes later, endlessly shopping for food that would be eaten and wiping bottoms and indulging my son’s latest obsession over and over again because he needed the safety of the routine being carried out exactly the same way every day. In all, for the best part of two decades I ignored a voice inside that ached to be heard and I wondered why I always felt tense and dissatisfied with life and miserable, feeling that something was missing and not knowing what.
I cannot be who I am unless I am all that I am
Last year I began to blog about my experiences as the mother of an autistic child, The Greatest Adventure, and I found an incredible relief through that writing. I struggled to make time to write consistently, posting was intermittent, but what I created showed me that writing is still my passion. I have an interest in personal growth so towards the end of last year I decided to create another blog, dedicated to personal development and my quest for a happier, more balanced life. And here we are. Already I have new purpose and my depression has lifted. It is clear to me that I must make time to write regularly. I have no choice, I cannot be who I am unless I am all that I am. This year I am stepping up from hobby blogger to full time blogger. There will be times when I will struggle to balance my roles and that’s okay, we will survive and I will learn to let go of my idealised image of a perfect housewife. It will be good for me and I hope you will enjoy the end product.
The chores will wait, your life will not
We face so many demands for our time and our attention, it’s impossible to do it all. We prioritise, inevitably. It’s up to us to choose our priorities wisely and to our best advantage. Do you want to spend your life doing what you think you should do or do you want to do what makes you happy? Often there are others to think about, we cannot always make decisions independently or selfishly but it is undeniable that when we are not living in integrity with our values and passions we are not living our fullest lives and that will come with a price, be it stress, depression, ill health or a sense of indefinable lack. Until you are fully in balance you cannot give your best self to others. It’s not selfish to follow your dreams or make time for your passions, it’s self care. The chores will wait, your life will not. What do you want your life to consist of? What do you want to be? Who do you want to be? How do you want to feel? Go, do, and be true to you.