“The trouble with women today,” said my doctor, looking at me pointedly over the top of her glasses, “is that they think they can do everything.”
I looked away guiltily.
“But something has to go and it is always the time they should be spending looking after themselves. At your time of life…”
There it was again, that little phrase, five little words that mean ‘now you are past your best’. I had been hearing it a lot lately, but getting back to what doc was saying...
“I could prescribe something to help you to cope but…”
Yes, I know, I have read all the self help manuals; I know that I should give up wine, eat less cake and exercise more ….
“I think what you really need is a little ‘me’ time.”
It was as easy as that then. Just an hour to myself occasionally and my stress levels would return to normal or at least to ‘manageable’, rather than being permanently pitched at ‘screaming harpie’ level.
So that was why, when faced with an unaccustomed ‘free’ morning, I closed the door on the mess in the living room, ignored the huge pile of ironing and ran myself a hot bubble bath.
No sooner had I sunk into the scented depths with book, mug of tea and chocolate cake at the ready (yes, I KNOW, I should eat less cake!), when the phone rang.
Ignore it, I thought. If it’s urgent they’ll call back. Then my mobile started. Leave it, I told myself, but that nagging voice in head had started up. What if was an emergency; if one of the kids was in trouble or my mum had fallen again? I couldn’t relax until I knew that everyone was OK.
I dripped into the bedroom to retrieve my phone. I had two messages by then, both from Lillie. The first read ‘No money left - any chance you could pick me up?’ The second, presumably because I hadn’t responded quickly enough to the first, just said ‘???’.
I text her back saying I was busy but would come later. I got back in the bath and picked up my book. I had barely read two sentences when I received another text. This time I was ready, having brought my mobile into the bathroom. It was from Beth: ‘Forgotten my goggles, could you bring them?’ ‘In the bath’, I replied.
I took a couple of sips of tepid tea. There was a knock at the front door. Ignore it! This is your time, I reminded myself. Someone shouted through the letterbox: “Can you let me in,” hubbie’s voice, “I’ve forgotten my key, “Oh, and could you run a bath for Josh, footie finished early.”
What was I to do? The bath water was cold by now anyway. At least I still had the cake to look forward to.
I threw on a towelling robe, opened the door for father and son and ran another bath for Josh.
Having dispatched hubbie to drop off goggles and pick up Lillie (Bless him, he does have his uses), I went to retrieve my cake only to discover Josh wolfing down the last few crumbs.
“That was great mum, thanks,” he said.
I shouldn’t eat it anyway, I thought. Now what should I tackle first, the tidying or that ironing?