The house is quiet. For the first time ever, my kids have gone off to do a day of school on their own, leaving me at home. It's going to happen once a week for the rest of the term. This means that I have some time to myself - guilt free, no-strings-attached, not calling in any favours, not owing anybody anything, not relying on babysitters - time to myself for the first time in five years.
Why is nobody yelling at me?
And I thought I could blog about that. I could blog about how strange this is, how quiet the house is, how I feel this strange mix of elation and guilt, how this strange day makes me feel some gut-squeezing grief about the children growing up, and how this strange day makes me feel some other heart-clenching grief about how their time at home wasn't the wall-to-wall halcyon haze of happiness that I assumed it would be and how I'm never going to get a do-over on that now, how a part of me feels unmoored by this sudden gaping chasm of time, how part of me feels 'oh no, now people are going to start expecting me to achieve stuff and I don't have any excuses anymore', and how that makes me realise that I must be sort of addicted to the martyrdom of never having my own time, even though I didn't realise it, how part of me feels like great, I can finally get my novel edited, how part of me feels like great, I can finally do that netflix binge, how part of me feels like great, I guess I'd better clean up this stinking cesspit I've been calling a house, how all of me realises that I've forgotten what to do with proper down time, don't I have somewhere to go, don't I have somewhere to be, don't I have a body part to wipe, doesn't somebody need me right now? How can nobody need me? I'm here. Don't you need me? Who am I if nobody needs me?
So I thought yeah, I could blog about that.
And then I thought or I could go to Starbucks and read a book.
I can smell the coffee already.
I win today; I'm calling it. Score one for mental health; zero for stupid pointless mother-angst.
Make mine a caramel macchiato.