As a parent of teens and a tween, it can feel like there is no time for yourself. Days seem to revolve around your offspring. Ferrying them back and forth. Preparing for the next event on the calendar. Ticking off yet another list of requirements, while still fitting in enough hours to work and keep the house ticking over. Emptying your purse of real money, that you’ve only just remembered to get via cash back from a not so local shop, to pay for their spending money. At the end of the week, you sit down and congratulate yourself for a job mostly well done, with the full, undeniable knowledge that you will be back preparing and ferrying again on Monday morning.
I don’t know about you but I am in constant motion. As one disappeared off to camp for a week, my attention turned to getting the next child ready for her week away. This is not a complaint. I love that they have these opportunities.
So in between cricket matches and collecting the Teen after her exams, I’ve made a conscious effort to eek out time for me. To recharge the batteries and focus once more. Ground myself.
Here are my four things for me, from this week. Planned and one unplanned.
Walk in the woods
I knew this week was going to be particularly busy. We all needed a chance to catch our breaths and spend time out in the wild. Sunday, we loaded up the three children and the pup into the car and headed out to our favourite woods on the Mendips. No revision books. The children chased after butterflies, explored paths, climbed trees and fell out of trees. The pup stuck by their side the whole time.
It always works. It’s a mood changer. Within a minute of being among the trees, you could almost make out the stresses and strains of their young lives floating away. Mine too. How does nature do it?
Probably not so surprising. I grabbed a bit of time to myself to finish the latest dress. I’ve had fun with this one. Adding a few fun additions. I may have got a little bit creative on this one. I’m now ready to cut out my next project which is going to push me out of my comfort zone a tad.
Health and fitness
Start of this year, I was determined to get fit. It would be nice to improve my shape, but to be honest my aim was to improve my stamina and health. So I cut back the crisps (my nemesis) and started running. Not far, but I tied it in to the school run, so it does happen. I’m now able to run the whole kilometre home. The above photo is the last leg of my run. It’s hard to see, but there is a path. Used only by two of us and the local wildlife, but it is a path. As I run this bit, butterflies and damselflies billow up on either side of me. Bullfinches sing above my head. It is truly idyllic.
This week, I’ve been taking a different route. Along the lane and I really haven’t got into it. Since I started running I’ve surprised myself by how much I enjoy putting one foot in front of the other. Apparently my PE teacher at school was right. I can run. Today, I went back to my route through the woods and everything clicked back into place. I ran all the way. (OK, one stop to look at a beetle, but can you blame me.)
The weight is coming off. I’ve added in more exercise and hope to work in a longer distance to my daily route. At this rate, I may need to alter a few of my recent dresses, that I’ve made.
And then there are those times that are, by their very nature, unplanned. When the unexpectedly forces you to do nothing. Leaving you unprepared to fill your time. It is a gift, even if it doesn’t feel like one at the time. Nothing to do but twiddle your thumbs and watch the world.
First up, I forgot my book/knitting/sewing that I usually take when I’m waiting for one of our weekly after school activity to end. An hour of doing nothing. Only my phone to entertain me (thank you Instagram), while the battery lasted and a now very tidy purse.
A different day, the car broke down, leaving me 3 hours stuck on the road, while cars and lorries tried to pass me. Instagram again provided entertainment, but my purse was still tidy, so no joy there. It could have been worse. I could have ground to a halt in far worse places.
As I preserved my phone battery, all I could do was watch the world go by, while I waited to be rescued. Observing the various human reactions to something blocking their usual route. It reminded me of the experiment where you put down a stone or twig in the way of a well established ant path and watch to see what happens. In this case, I was the stone and no ants were involved. I’m going to duck out of sharing my findings, but I do have a fresh appreciation of ants and hope they never decide to do away with the human race. I fear we don’t stand a chance.
End of the week again. Next week will see the last of the exams for eldest Teen, a trip abroad for middle Teen and lots of events for youngest. And me? Well, one way or the other, I’ll be running around. I don’t mind. I really don’t.