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Monday Moment: there’s never a good time for this

Emma Grey

As this pre-scheduled article goes live, I’m at the coast, enjoying my final day of a long weekend away with my three closest, oldest friends.

This is something we did for our 40th birthdays two years ago, and the experience was so therapeutic that we promised then to do it every couple of years, for as long as we all shall live.

Each of us has left behind a trail of piled-up work, kids needing help with assignments, swimming lessons, party drop-offs and pick-ups, sick parents and household mess. There’s a part of us that feels indulgent and guilty for just walking out and leaving everyone to it.

But there’s a much bigger part of us that knows we need this. Deserve it, no less. And we’re better people, partners and parents because of this time out.

A couple of weekends ago, I had a huge meltdown. The crying wouldn’t stop for most of Saturday. It wasn’t really about something specific—just a perfect storm of ‘everything’. You know that feeling?

I think my family looked at me and had a timely reminder that “mum’s a person too”. That my energy is finite. That I need a break.

This is how I feel in a family where my husband and I share the load, differently but equally. It’s how I feel not because the people around me are selfish, but because there are so many people around me, of varying generations and ages, each with important and distinct needs.

The question often crops up: how do I juggle the teens, the pre-schooler, different businesses, writing, older parents etc and still get things done, without more frequent meltdowns.

Well, our house is currently (and often) a mess. I have nights out every so often. I go to the gym a couple of times a week and running group every weekend. I watch Netflix and read novels. I drive around in the car with all the kids, singing pop songs when they should be in bed. I say ‘no’ and ask for help. I’m never a ‘martyr’ about me time. I don’t make excuses about why I can’t fit in the fun stuff, and something always suffers for it, but those things tend to matter less…

One of us here at the coast is making a big sacrifice to do this. A big sacrifice. But it was sacrifice that or don’t do this.

There’s never a perfect time. The ducks will never line up. Circumstances won’t conspire brilliantly without some fall-out.

We can’t let that stop us though, or we’d never do anything.

Life is not serene. Driving away for our weekend there were duck feathers flying in the rear-view mirror, but that’s okay. The ducks will still be there when we get back. Still not in a line. Still quacking. We’ll just be better equipped to contend with them.

Image of walking along the beach at sunset from shutterstock.com

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Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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