Living in Stolen Half Hours
I live in stolen half hours these days.
It goes something like this: wake at 6 (I’m trying to teach the little dude to sleep in, but by all accounts that doesn’t really start until the teenage years), feed, play with the little guy while I dress and have breakfast, then he starts to grizzle and it’s time to put him down. Once he’s asleep… GO!
I’ve got 30-50 minutes to do whatever I’ve got to do. Often I rush around unstacking the dishwasher, hanging a load of washing or just having a shower. Yep. Glamour central. Then he wakes, but needs more sleep, so I sit in his room with my arm between the bars of the cot rocking him, holding my kindle in the other hand. So I sit, I read, I rock, for anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes.
Then he’s up, I feed him, and the cycle starts again.
I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while, but thought I needed to wait until I had the solution. But I may never have a solution, so maybe a problem shared is a problem halved. And maybe some of you are experiencing the same thing and just need to know you’re not alone.
Thankfully, he’s a pretty good sleeper at night, so I have enough energy to get out and about most days. That means some of the rocking is the pram moving while I walk, or he plays in the gym crèche while I pump some iron*, or I lunch with friends and jiggle him. Or whatever. But most of my time to play is in short bursts, full of boring domesticity which I never liked before I had a kidlet, and nothing’s changed on that front.
A couple of Wednesdays ago, I had a bad day. I didn’t get enough sleep the night before, not by a long way, and little C decided to scream for a while at 230am which was a very unwelcome surprise (normally, he wakes, I feed him and he goes straight down, and trust me, just getting up to do that is challenge enough). So at 6am when he woke for the day, all I could think was…urgh…
I cried while I made my breakfast (I think out of sheer exhaustion), I cancelled my trip to the gym, I didn’t go to mothers group, I cancelled a physio appointment and I completely forgot about a counselling appointment and didn’t realise I’d missed it until she messaged when I was half an hour late. I rang my mum and asked for her help, and slept for 2 solid hours in the afternoon while she looked after her favourite grandson.
But the one thing I did do that day was have a beautiful, loving friend come to visit. And she came up with some wisdom for how to live these days. She said;
How can you bring some beauty back into these stolen half hours, and make the day about nurturing yourself instead of feeling trapped and anxious.
We workshopped it, and I’m going to try to be creative in my stolen half hours. I love to write (obviously, here we are), I love photography, but haven’t been doing much lately. I have hundreds of photos I want to sort through and print out, to make into albums of the years gone by. And I want to generally flex my creative muscle. Maybe I can take the pressure off myself to make my art ‘good enough’ if I know it’s all about soul-nourishment.
*follow #projectmilf on instagram to see what I’m getting up to – @theeverydayadventure
Do you feel like you live in stolen time as well? I’d love to hear from you.
How do you fill your short time slots with beauty for yourself?
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