Sunday, June 27, 2010

Finding the write balance with 'Me' time

There was a time when the idea of 24 hours on my own would fill me with the kind of excited expectation not felt since the approach of Christmas Day when I was seven. As a work at home mum, I’ve never found it easy to extricate myself from my children. You get used to working around them, living around them, breathing around them.

My Mum and my sisters would tell me that I needed some ‘Me’ time, and they were right. There just never seemed to be a good time for it. Plus I have a secret penchant for ‘We’ time. (It’s just ‘me and two whinging children for long periods of time’ time that I really dislike.)

When the boys were young – and I mean the Breastfeeding/Screaming/Nappies end of young as opposed to just middling young like they are now – my joy of being away from them was tempered by anxiety of how they were doing without me. They were fine. Every time.

Then came the aforementioned days of euphoric, excited expectation at the idea of Getting Away. I would whisk myself off to meetings about work, drinks with friends, a movie… Lovely.

Now Getting Away involves three hours on a train in each direction. It usually entails squeezing in several client meetings at opposite ends of town, followed by hurried drinks with friends that usually end in a crippling hangover (serious lack of match practice). Still fun, but by the time one gets off the train at the end of the train line at the end of the trip one is swearing one will never leave town again.

But I think I’m finally getting the balance right. On Saturday morning I headed off to the Big Smoke to attend a course on writing about history at the NSW Writers’ Centre. I love these courses. Not just for the course content, which is always excellent, but for the other course attendees. There is a book in every writing workshop I attend.

I spent Saturday afternoon in the company of four different sets of friends. One, my oldest and dearest. Two, a couple that The Builder and I agree are two of our favourite people. Three, my brother TICH and his beloved (and her parents, an unexpected bonus). Four, my sister-in-writing-arms A, with whom I stayed. It was a relaxed and wonderful day of shooting the breeze and doing not much with people I love. Such days are hard to come by when you’re flying in and out of town for visits.

On Sunday, I went to my course, watered the seed of an idea that I’m cultivating in the back of my brain, bought some handmade chocolates and came home, via Elizabeth George’s latest book, which filled my three-hour train trip admirably.

As far as ‘Me’ time went, it ticked all the boxes. And even then I can honestly say that my favourite moment was getting off the train on Sunday night to an excited welcome from my boys. As Frank Sinatra sang ‘It’s oh so nice to just wander, But it’s so much nicer, yes it’s so much nicer, to wander back.”


  1. I am not in the same situation, but the me time that has evaded me for so long is finally becoming mine. No boobs, no nappies, no lovely husband finally feels OK to cope alone.....which sets me free......

    I am envious of your train journeys, to be honest. They are a time of calm and allowable daydream for me.....

  2. Sounds fabulous!! And I was so impressed by your resolve to stay off Twitter all weekend. Now I know how it was achieved ;)

  3. I love this! And I can confirm that, though I seemingly spend large amounts of time wishing myself away, there is the inevitable burst of warmth as I see the looks in the blue eyes of my boys when I return. I like that I can love the return as much as I look forward to the time away.
    Beautiful post...

  4. Isn't it blissful when the aspects of your life teeter into balance?

  5. Al that sounds pefect - what a wonderful weekend for you. It's quite heavenly as your children get a little older and you can enjoy the "me" time a little more. Whilst it is nice to be away and recharge, coming home is divine. So nice to feel the love that only a mum can feel. I still remember that excitement of two little boys welcoming their mummy home. xx

  6. Me time is so precious these days here. A quick whiz around town on my own for a couple of hours is sometimes all it takes to get my head straight again. I've had the occasional weekend away, but not for quite sometime, and of course my little family are always popping into my head. When I do go away I enjoy every minute of it - from wandering around the airport on my own, drinking coffee, reading my magazine or book, actually just sitting still for a while is bliss.

  7. That sounds like a perfect weekend to me - fellow writers, lovely company, stimulating conversation, chocolate, and a solitary train ride home.

    I'm going to a blogging conference next weekend and I'm sure it will be the same.

    Still, it's always nice to see their little faces when you get back.

  8. It's important to have the opportunity to miss your children once and a's just find the right balance which is the key.

  9. It's a clear case for "absence makes the heart grow fonder". You never love your children more than when they are away from you. You also become fonder for yourself when you get the chance to have a little alone time. And who would miss the utter joy of returning home?

  10. Sounds like a balanced and enjoyable weekend! I have yet to find that balance for myself, but I get closer every day.

  11. Hi! I'm following you on GFC and tried to on Twitter - was told that page doesn't exist. Hope you are enjoying a train ride right now. I don't have the same issue you do, as I don't have kids or a honey - but I do guard my "me" time closely. I love peace and quiet, a good book and the phone turned off.

    Your title caught my attention. I have fibromyalgia and often call it "Fibro" & yes, often it's like being in a "pink fog".

    I love your writing BTW. It's great and I look forward to reading more.

    When you have a chance I'd love to have you follow me at:

    Tina "The Book Lady"

  12. Hi everyone, thanks for the comments - my moment of joy at seeing the boys has been slightly undone today by sick Mr3 at home from preschool meaning big work juggle. So much for balance!

  13. Sounds blissful.

    Hope Mr 3 is better quick smart. I know everytime I think we are cruising along, life laughs in our face and decides to feck with us.

    But so glad you had some you time. x

  14. Oh yes, it's nice to get away from the kidlets, but it's even nicer to come back to them!

  15. Ahhhhh, that all sounds so....perfect! :)

  16. As a single mom of 2, working full-time & in school full-time, I don't really get "me" time. There is no every-other-weekend free time (the dad doesn't get them), but I love my girls & love being with them.

    Following now from Blog Flow!

  17. That's happy for you!thanks for sharing! im looking forward to reading more.

  18. That's happy for you!thanks for sharing! im looking forward to reading more.


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