The pressure of child-free time

My epic three-month Christmas work project came to an end on Friday and I’ve scheduled in a week off before I hurl myself into the next one. The twins will still do their pre-school hours, so I have two school days and two half days to myself. In my house. With no kids around. I’m trying to work out when I last had so much time at home on my own with no work to do but I honestly can’t remember. There’s been the odd few hours here and there but it really has been slim pickings in 2013.

I’ve been looking forward to this time for ages, but now it’s finally here, I suddenly feel completely flat. I know a lot of this is down to exhaustion, but it’s almost like I can see the time I’m so desperate to enjoy slipping through my fingers. Keen to make the most of every minute, I started a list a couple of weeks ago of things I’d like to do but maybe that’s the problem – maybe it’s the pressure of feeling like I have to “make the most of every minute”.

I often find that the more time by myself I get, the more I’m left greedily craving more and more and more. It’s as if the floodgates open and the to do list that’s been building up for the last four years floods my thoughts to make each individual task seem inconsequential and insignificant. Just a few hours to myself leaves me bitterly wishing for extra time to try to claw back the feeling that I’m in control again – back to being the super-organised person I was pre-twins.

Why can’t I pick just two tasks for the week, take my time doing them, and just be happy with that? Instead I timetable my days, allocating a slot for as many things as I think it’s possible to pack in. When all I really need, after an intensely stressful few months, is probably to have a few duvet days on the sofa.

Dear brain, if you could switch gears just for this week that would be brilliant. Ta.

8 comments to The pressure of child-free time

  • I think that even if you managed to get everything done it wouldn’t be the same as you pre twins. Because having children changes you and your foot dynamic and some things just aren’t as important any more. If you were that organised the chances are you would miss out on some amazing times with your family.

    I really hope you can find a way to make this time off work for you. Even if it’s dividing it up into two parts – relaxing and doing what you want (and filling your pebble jar) and trying to get some stuff done that is bothering you x

    • Heather

      I actually disagree – I think if I was more organised we might have better times as a family!

      I did very little this week. Not sure it’s made me feel any better really.

  • I know the feeling all too well. I’m EXACTLY the same. Lists are the bane of my life, as is my craving for order. I would dearly love a few days to myself just to “get ahead” and sort out my pile of paperwork / chests of old clothes / messy kitchen cupboards etc etc and actually read a book or get cracking on the knitting project I began almost a year ago. But I know that if I actually got that time I’d probably lose it on other tasks and still end up not feeling relaxed!

    • Heather

      A few days goes in the blink of an eye. My list has been barely touched. I’ve had quiet time but I don’t feel less stressed. I think my brain is simply wired wrongly.

  • I so know what you mean – I had an unexpected child free weekend and ended up exhausted having tried to do a million things from the list rather than to spend time actually enjoying doing nothing

    Embrace the quiet, focus on reading, crochet and sitting doing nothing before the chaos returns

    Do it for the rest of us!

    • Heather

      I have been pretty quiet (I’ve actually not been 100% well) which is good for recharging the batteries but doesn’t get rid of the horrible nagging anxiety that I should have done more with my free time.

  • I too am very familiar with this feeling. I feel like a spend a lot of time I’m with the children lusting after the time that I’ll be on my own… then eternally frustrated that I don’t managed to accomplish my entire to-do list in an hour!

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