The good old days?

I had a week off last week (all bar Monday) and it was lovely.

I normally only take time off when the children are off school but I had some days left to take before the end of the year, so I have booked some random days.

In typical list-lover style I had a tick sheet of things I wanted to achieve and had pretty much planned each day out accordingly. There was nothing inspiring on my list – just lots of annoying tasks that have been piling up and never seem to get done in the normal course of a working week. Despite “the list” I was almost giddy with the excitement of being able to do what I wanted. No customers to respond to, no reports to submit, no spreadsheets to update. Just me and my list.

I love having time off with the children and K but I hadn’t realised how much I would relish some time to myself. Nothing on my list was particularly unpleasant so I happily got stuck in on Tuesday morning and by lunchtime I had ticked off quite a few. The rest were almost all done by school-pickup time. Result. Wednesday was a  day of ferrying around – T to the orthodontists (braces not ready to come off yet but getting close), me to my flu jab, collecting a parcel, etc etc. All quite easy and hassles free. I began to wonder why I am usually so wound up trying to get this sort of stuff done. And then I remembered the work thing. (How quickly I had forgotten all about that annoying interrupter of life!). I normally always have in the back of my mind that I will have a mountain of stuff to deal with when I get back from chauffeuring duties that any little hiccup can send me into a panic. It was so nice to just park up, stroll along to the clinic, drop him back at school with no sense of “oh hell”.

I started to realise that this was how I always felt before I started working again. I could go to school meetings, doctors appointments, dentists with no sense of dread. I didn’t have to rush anywhere and I didn’t have to compromise on what I could or couldn’t be available for. I could keep on top of the housework and other chores, as that was all I really had to do. I could read books and watch TV. I could bake. I could pop to the shops.I could go for coffee. Sounds bliss.

But, we were struggling financially. So the pops to the shops were invariably very frugal and carefully planned. The coffees with friends were not as enjoyable as they are now as I would have worried about the expense. I can still read books and watch TV – just in the evenings rather than the daytime. Housework isn’t the be all and end all of home-life. If it’s hygienic then its clean as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t have to be spotless and tidy. (Unless I’m in a “god this place is a tip” kind of mood and then it does.) My girl bakes – a lot – and it’s so much nicer eating something someone else has made. I don’t have to go to every single meeting at school any more. And I am not just mum. I am also Jane-that-is-great-at-her-job.

So, yes, I have thoroughly enjoyed my days off and I will make sure that I have more “just me and my list” days next year rather than only taking my annual leave “en famille”. But do I want go back to the “good old days”. Not just yet. So long as I can still see friends and have days off with my mum (Friday special days) then that’s all right with me. I just need to remember this the next time I can’t find a parking space at the orthodontists.

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