I am writing this as a little reminder to myself, because it's everything I need to hear right now and I'm guessing it's something some of you will want to hear too. I'm writing this so that maybe together we can feel renewed, inspired and committed to putting ourselves first even if it's just for a tiny moment or two. We are deserving of it.
Sometimes I feel so guilty for making time for myself as a mother whether it's to do something creatively productive or simply for me. This week, I finally had my first haircut in over a year since my youngest was born - something I was wildly excited about even though I had barely half a centimetre taken off. It wasn't about the hair, of course. It was about a tube journey, alone, to read. About an uninterrupted few hours with a good book and green tea while someone nice made me feel good about my appearance. About not having to give anyone else any attention.
Although my husband plays no part in this guilt, although he absolutely waves me out the door on these rare occasions that I go out alone to do something entirely for myself, I still find myself asking him if he's sure it's okay for me to go. It's not because he can't look after the children himself. It's not because I need his permission in any antiquated way. It's so that I can quieten the unreasonable and unrealistic voice in my head that tells me that I should be with my kids all the time, that I'm selfish for not being there for their every single waking moment. So that's why I ask my husband if it's okay if I go do something. And I need him to say yes, so that I don't have to feel as guilty as I do about simply taking some time for me.
So imagine the guilt that's involved when you have a creative sideline, simply a pursuit or a passion or a fire inside you, that you just want to explore. It seems so indulgent to take time out and prioritise this sort of creative pursuit when you've also got little ones to take care of. Take writing this long read, for instance. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I've been housebound looking after a poorly ones with chicken pox. But I still wanted to write this. Is that wrong of me? I did write some of it with him and his little brother wroung - while they were napping or when they'd both perked up enough to play together. And yet a small part of me still feels guilty for spending my time on this while they've been unwell (my desk is in the family room, so it's not as if I've left them).
I've realised though, that if you take guilt out of it, it's really all just about time. With enough time, I can do both - be with the children and do the things you want to do for yourself.