Well today I am feeling overloaded and just a little bit stressed out, perhaps to the point of wanting to punch my sofa cushions like a furious boxer but I’ll convince myself it’s necessary housework instead and try to remain ladylike. I love going to the gym, it’s given me back my energy, focus and drive to succeed that had been gradually waining and up until now I’d felt back on top again and pumped up and excited. I’ve never had something for myself before, I’ve always done everything for others and this has been my retreat and hobby and I love it.
I look at the calendar on the fridge much like the counter on the cross trainer at the gym; despite my being broken and out of energy and sweating away as I work out in the evening during the week, those digital flashing numbers counting down on the machines somehow give me a goal and the buzz to carry on for the last few minutes knowing my victorious finish is imminent and I can stop, rest and catch my breath and look back at what I’ve just done and feel happy with my efforts and good about myself for upping my stamina and abilities each day.
But the only difference is my calendar on the fridge doesn’t stop, and I can never rest as the weekend and days of respite that I hold out for each week like the digital numbers on the gym machines unforgivingly don’t count me down; instead we’re overloaded with things to do each weekend so much so that my weekends have become more hectic than my weekdays and I’m already at maximum overload as it is. It’s hard enough rushing around every evening to get to the gym and back after a crazy day with the children as it is, Millie rarely makes her bedtime of 7pm despite having to get up earlier than before in the morning now that she is at big school and I’m burning the candle at both ends seven days straight and having no rest at all. Even throughout the night I don’t get a single solid sleep because I’m at the beck and call of a teething restless, hungry and soiled baby all hours.
I don’t mean a rest from the gym, because the gym is honestly the only thing besides my children keeping me going right now. It’s my essential stress relief, my me time and the only peace and down time that I get, even if it does tire me out for the short while that I get to exercise, I feel great for the rest of the night because of it. But my schedule is insane and something has to give because I’m ready to fly to the moon or scream the house down, whichever comes first. And I’m sure every woman out there despite how many children they have or how long their working day may be craves those little moments of down time to relax too. So why can’t I have them? I don’t expect to be away from my children, I don’t expect others to put themselves out for me, I just expect to be alone with Luca and the children to do whatever we please as well as everything we have to do for the short amount of time that we have together.
And I really oddly feel the need to illustrate this in a table right now so that I can clear the frustration from my mind, slap it down onto a page on the screen and then shout and swear at it for at least forty minutes for pissing me off so badly! So please excuse me whilst I divulge in my moment of insanity right now.
Now give or take half an hour around when I cook the dinner, how long I spend in traffic, if we’re running late for the gym and some days when we don’t go, when Luca gets home from work and when we eat, or how long we spend food shopping and running about doing errands etc. this is my average week. Obviously I don’t go to the gym everyday, but if I did these would roughly be the times, on average I’ve gone five days out of seven so far. And if I manage to stay awake late enough at night I may get the odd extra half hour of ‘free time’ as I rock Gabriele to sleep in the evening, do the dishes, sterilise the bottles, take a shower, feed and wind Gabriele between waking, oh and try and get some sleep if I’ve not already passed out on the sofa the moment I get to stop and sit down – which I have to admit I do almost every night when Luca and I sit down to watch a film and I’m snoring before the credits have even finished let alone the opening scene despite drinking redbull in a vain attempt to try and stay awake.
So our free time together is still hard pushed at the weekend, and when we are out shopping and running errands and visiting friends and family it gives me even less time to do the housework, cooking, cleaning, washing, gardening, organising, washing and looking after the children, despite it still having to be done just as necessarily as any other day of the week.
And to compare Luca’s routine with my own assuming he were to work 9am-5pm on his days at work despite his hours being flexible and time off taken here and there, and not always doing chores around the home etc. it’s quite clear to see the overall look of the chart is spent sleeping or as free time with only a few minutes in the morning spent minding Gabriele whilst I do the breakfast, pack lunch and get Millie ready for school, and a few hours on baby-standby in the evening whilst Gabriele naps off and on and I take a shower or finish the housework. In comparison to my weekly routine Luca has it very easy! I appreciate he has his own things to do and doesn’t just sit around all day playing computer games, but at the same time it’s hardly as stressful, tiring or time consuming as my own.
And when it gets to the weekend it’s only natural that he would have the enthusiasm and optimism to book us to go here there and everywhere because he hasn’t been through the mill to the extent that I have all week. I’m not saying that Luca doesn’t work hard or help out with the children, I’m just pointing out how we both spend our time in an average week and should the possibility of reincarnation be offered to me on my deathbed I would like to politely demand that I come back as a man please!
If other people with children get to read books, have a hobby/gym pass, go to a pampering salon for hair, nails and facials, and spend evenings and weekends with friends and family and sleep in their bed all night then why can’t I just have my 10% of that? Is it so much to ask? I gladly involve the children in everything that I do – aside from the gym for height/age restrictions – and make a point to never knowingly leave them out or want to put on others to babysit. Yet when it comes down to it I’m still trying to get blood from a stone to have down time with Luca and the children when we’re all conscious and within the same four walls acknowledging each other.
Far from Luca and I doing the gym together to have some time out together each day, it’s put more on our plate having to race around every evening from work to drop the kids, rush to the gym, collect the kids again, get home and get them to bed after their bedtime and attempt to make dinner and finish the housework. Luca and I still don’t eat together at all, as when he comes home from work to his parents I arrive to drop the kids off having already eaten so that we can go to the gym together and he’s so hungry he has to grab food from the cupboard and eat it on the run and it’s costing me a fortune in petrol by trebling my weekly mileage yet being no further forward. And what kind of a life is that for us? If anything it’s made our relationship worse rather than solving our problems of not having enough time together because we’re rushing around from pillar to post more than ever before.
I’m just frustrated and stressed out, I know how we can solve this but I can’t be left alone to do it and it’s the most annoying and soul destroying feeling in the world. Luca can come home from work and we can eat together, I can put the kids to bed on time and cross the road to go to the gym alone which will take me all of five minutes to walk and be back within the hour knowing everything is in order and Luca is at home with them. We can have our family time alone on Sunday’s like we concluded before and do the shopping or sit in our pyjamas and eat biscuits it honestly doesn’t bother me. I just need to have time for us and stop being pulled in a million directions at once and trying to do the impossible to please everyone else aside from ourselves. I need to stop burning the candle at both ends, stop fitting our life around everyone else’s and start putting us first.
And I said just as much in a somewhat shortened soliloquy to Luca down the phone when he called me from work a moment ago. It’s nothing new from the monster debate and shouting match that we had a few weeks ago when we both resembled two knackered out and distanced Stretch Armstrong’s. We recognised the problems we faced, we saw a way to cure them and then what did we do? Ignore it all and add to our already stressful demands! What the fudge-cake!? I hate conflict with Luca, I’d much rather us be laughing and joking around together without a care in the world, and we can be like that if we just iron out these creases first and set the standard for the rest of our lives together should we make it that long.
God, I wish I could plug Luca into my brain just for a second sometimes and let him see my world. I love him to bits but he doesn’t have the same urgency or responsibilities as I do and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone to mentally and physically drain themselves dry everyday and never come out on top or break even. I’m not angry, I’m not depressed I’m fed up and stressed out. I see the problems, I have the answers, I’m ready to solve it all but everything and everyone is trying to stop me. It’s times like these I’m glad I’m not a great drinker.
And I’m really beginning to wonder just how many women out there sit biting their tongue and folding their hands to stop themselves from going mental and screaming “I DESERVE MORE THAN THIS!” at their partners, to be in control of their own lives and set their own rules and routines. It’s not about the work I do, it’s not the hobby I choose to partake in or the fact that I have children, housework, bills or finances to balance, life does not annoy or evade me; It’s that I have to fall in line behind everything and everyone else and live off of the scraps of time and space that nobody else wants or has any use for. And it’s no kind of a life for a family, we have to have our home time and life primarily before we pepper it all with the avoidance of time together and rushing around.
And in the words of Robert Burns I find my solace:
‘Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty’s in every blow!
Let us do, or die!’