Today is a day with no plan. They don’t come around very often. Invariably there is something that shapes the time between the school bells. Some work, some studying, coffee with a friend, cleaning the house. But not today.
So. What shall I do with all this unscheduled liberty? It’s raining and blowing a gale and so, being a fair weather kind of girl, that excludes anything that involves me being outside. I have lots of ideas. Top of the list is some research for a new story that is slowly taking shape in my head. Then I have a book that I’m trying, without success, to get into. I have a couple of knitting projects which could use some attention and I have some fabric waiting to be sewn into a bag.
Then we move into the slightly less appealing options. I could bake. I could catch up on my Sky + viewing whilst tackling the ironing pile. Hot on their heels are the things that I should do. Sort out the pantry. Clean the windows inside. Mop the downstairs. Tidy the children’s wardrobes.
You see how quickly my day can deteriorate from an exciting window of opportunity to just another list of chores? And it’s always the same. I have some time that I could spend doing something fun and frivolous but what I end up doing is feeling bad and cleaning something.
I think the problem lies in it being a whole day. I wake in the morning fully intending to treat myself to a totally self indulgent experience. You’ve earned it, I tell myself. And what’s to stop you taking a day out to do something just for you? But there are those that might say that that’s what I do for part of most days and they would be right. And so the niggle starts at the back of my head.
I do the school run, come back home and just before I begin doing whatever it is I’m going to do with my time, I just have a quick tidy up. In doing that I notice that the floor could do with a hoover and as the washer is empty I might as well just run a couple of loads through. An urgent call from my eldest for something that she desperately needs but has forgotten sends me flying up to school and suddenly it’s half past ten.
The couple of loads of washing won’t dry themselves and then I realise how much bigger the ironing pile will be when they come out of the tumbler. Then I remember that I have some veg in the fridge that would make a great soup for lunch but only if I chop it and cook it.
And there you have it. The day that had nothing in it is suddenly full of stuff and I haven’t yet done any of my lovely self-indulgent things.
There are two things that I always forget on days like today. Firstly, there’s never nothing to do in a house with four children and secondly if I think I can be happy pleasing myself all day I am deluded. Unless I actually leave the premises, I cannot cope with whole days off. I need my ‘me’ time in nice containable chunks of not more than two hours at a time and then I can feel like I’ve earned them. So if I run round all morning doing housewifely tasks, I can feel that I have justified my rather peculiar existence and sneak in a cosy hour on the sofa with a book.
And there you have it. I’ve talked myself out of my day off and into just another day like all the others. And wasn’t it easy?