Last week I read an interesting article about a woman who decided to employ a nanny because she needed a break from childcare. This woman had decided to drop out of her career to become a full time mother and she has now reached a point where after two children and countless play group dates, she has decided to get a bit of “me time” back in her life (between the hours of 9 and 1).
There is no arguing the fact that once you become a parent your child becomes your world to the point that for the first 6 months there is no telling where you end and the baby begins. However, as much as we are programmed to love our children unconditionally, we are also allowed to want to be ourselves for 5 minutes and no one should be berated for it.
The story itself generated hundreds of comments from the Mumsnet crowd who shouted from their baby sick covered clothes that this woman was an outrage to the female race and shouldn’t want time away from her children, much less tell a newspaper about her decision. However, on the other side of the table there are women, like myself, who love having “me time” and can see her point quite clearly about needing a break. Most women go back to work to establish their identity and have the chance to wear clothes that smell of perfume and are clean as opposed to having grubby hands prints, snot and spit wiped over trouser legs, neck lines and across the boobs. Ask any working mother what the highlight of her day is any she will tell you that it was eating a full meal without sharing or it going cold, having a conversation that doesn’t revolved around who’s child is more superior and the number one highlight is being able to pee without having little hands banging on the bathroom door or having a little voice ask if they can come and join you!
As a mother you feel conditioned to justify why you do something without your child and then have to back it up with a declaration of love and promises…”I am going to the gym for an hour so I can get my figure back but I promise I will spend every spare moment making up for it.” You don’t often hear fathers saying the same thing because from day 1 they make it quite clear that they need “me time” because of their “demanding job”/stress levels/because it is not their job to be on call 24/7.
No matter how guilty you feel (or are made to feel) the only way we can get around this sticky situation is to stand our ground. We have a break from work, we have time out from our relationships and we are allowed to have time away from our children. You never stop worrying and the phone is constantly attached to your hand, but for the sake of sanity sometimes the break is exactly what we need.