Every woman I know is always lamenting a lack of time. We all seem to be rising early to do tasks or exercise before work and staying up a bit later (folding clothes by the silvery light of the dryer) just to unlock a few moments for ourselves, perhaps at the end of the week.
But then, that moment never actually materializes.
It’s taken me an embarrassingly long time to realize that no matter what I do or how much I plan, that time for myself will never present itself because I make sure to sabotage it every time by doing one more thing, pushing myself to wipe baseboards when I could be relaxing, thinking how happy people would be to have some really quality prosciutto to wind around those fat, ripe pears or researching different, easier ways to clean the shower on youtube.
It’s as though the Bank of Things-I-Want-To-Do is constantly in overdraft and I just throw a few coins at it now and then (hey, look at me, I’m reading a book outside at lunchtime and drinking chocolate milk!) just to keep it in the black.
Is it because I feel undeserving? Is it because I am still too worried about making sure everyone else has what they need/want? (Probably). Is it because I fear that I will not even know what to do because I have been spinning so long? (NO! I have a long list of interests yet to be tapped!) Is it because I really believe that this week I can actually pull it off …
As soon as my boys are home again for dinner, I observe myself reverting to full-on Jewish mother mode, waiting on them, making sure there is enough food, worrying if it’s as good as last time, worrying that this is a super-aging tendency which I feel sure that it is. I can’t seem to help it and whilst I do love being someone’s mum and dare I say it, A Good Homemaker, I also know I have to start “taking time” for myself since after all, this whole life deal is not a dress rehearsal, as they say.
It’s strange and highly interesting to recall how my own mother and many others like her who did not work outside the home during the sixties had such a simple, uncomplicated life.
She never even knew how to drive and felt, I do believe, that it was slightly vulgar to learn.
There was no guilt about dinner and children’s likes or dislikes of certain foods were never a source of much interest or consideration; as a result, there was no planning, no recipe books, no Food channel and no celebrity chefs (unless you count Boyardee).
Indeed, snow-white buns filled with ‘cheese’ slices and crispy bacon were considered a perfectly wholesome dinner, all snuggling companionably in an electric fry-pan. These were called “Cheese Dreams” (possibly by the nice people at Kraft) and were considered a full-meal. (Notice the distinct lack of fiber and any other nutrients!) This repast was on the table in 20 minutes flat after a hectic afternoon of, you know, smoking, watching TV and ultimately, preparing a Tom Collins (from a packet) for themselves and The Dad when he came home.
And hell, he loved those Cheese Dreams too!
(Also? No one was being ferried or rushing off to soccer/gymnastics/hockey/swimming/music lessons or dance).
Life was so different (and I didn’t say better) but it did seem a lot calmer.