We are constantly told ‘x’ will make you happy, work hard and you can achieve ‘y’ or hurry up and do ‘z’, because that is what your next step is in life. WRONG. We are constantly under so much pressure to do what we think is what we want and what is important. Growing up I thought that I would own a house, marry in my early twenties and have children shortly after – that this would be realistic and that I could have a career as well, because why wouldn’t I?
Now that I am 30, life is not what I thought it would be, I rent a house, Joe and I married in my late 20s and we have no children. I do have a career, but more and more I realise that it will be harder to keep up what I am doing now and be a mum. But the pressure to have a child is big. I know my whole family are desperate for Joe and I to pop out a bundle of joy. Our friends and younger generations of our families have growing broods. Every time we see a baby, or hear of another pregnancy the pressure mounts again and we are bombarded with the dreaded question…. “When are you going to have a baby?”
It’s not that we don’t want one, we do and we will (if we can), but when we are ready. Just because we are married, doesn’t mean we have to immediately spawn children, not that there is anything wrong with doing that, but there is equally nothing wrong with making the choice to wait, or even decided not to at all.
I guess what scares us the most is that we will fail. Can we really afford a child when one of us has only recently started their own business? Would we be able to afford for me to take full maternity? Will we ever be able to afford our own home? In our attempt to have it all I reached breaking point. Joe works six days a week at his shop and the seventh isn’t really a day off as he has to do admin stuff. Once he completed his course we moved to a bigger house so that we could start planning for a family, but also so that we could have students to supplement our income. While students bring in more money, they also add more stress – nightly meals on the table- even at weekends – trying to keep feeding cost effective and easy, not to mention that your privacy and also learning the irritating habits that each student has – this all affects me. As does work, trying to keep on top of the house work at the weekends, keeping on top of bills and other things like the MOT. In the last few months, or possibly since we moved into this house, my social life has become almost non-existent and time to myself became more and more of an idea rather than a necessity.
Luckily the force is strong in my husband and he is helping me spread the load so that I don’t have a complete breakdown and fall into a pit of depression and anxiety. In an effort to keep me sane I have made it very important for me to have some time when I can focus on myself, or stop obsessing about what I’m all meant to be doing and achieving. So here I am about to share some of my favourite ways to spend me time.
I know this isn’t new, everyone’s doing it and I’m late to the party. But, who actually knew how therapeutic it would be? I received a Crayola colouring book and some Fine marker pens and pencils to celebrate their 100th Anniversary – I’ve never thought myself particularly arty or creative in that sense and thought that I would no doubt be bored out of my skull. I decided to do a bit and Snapchat as I went (yes I have now joined Snapchat – lillaloves if you want to follow me). I thought I had been colouring for like 30 minutes, but actually, I’d spent a nice calm few hours with a clear head. It was bliss.
They say food is important, chicken soup for the soul and all that. But I think the act of cooking can be a release. I’m no baker – as much as I would love to whip up cakes, or cookies, I’m just no good at it! (Unlike my sister Bella, who made the cake in the above photo) I’m more of a hearty stew sort of person. I love batch cooking meals to make life easier during the week, or teaching myself to make Mexican food and I love that I can make the Persian comfort food that I grew up eating. Feeling a bit pants? I know, I’ll make us Ghormeh Sabzi for dinner.
I’m not really an active person – I should try harder, you know take up a hobby sport or go to the gym, but at the moment fitting things like this in is hard. I do however love to walk. When I can get out of bed on time and get ready, a nice walk to work with some music in my ears and all of a sudden I have time to contemplate life. Whether it’s dreaming about what I would do with a massive lottery win or working out what we are going to eat throughout the week, by the time I get to the office, my brain is in a good place and I am energised for the day.
As with colouring, I was late to the reading party. I wasn’t a big reader until my teens, apart from my nan and mother-in-law, no one in my family reads. I love to lose myself in a good book. My guilty pleasure is YA fantasy books – I am currently in the middle of the House of Night series, which had me actually sobbing this morning! I know not the most intellectual reads, however, the simple nature of the books and the ease at which I read them, makes it so easy to lose myself in them. I do still read adult books – mainly crime, detective and fantasy but the odd girlie book drops in there too. I also re-read the Harry Potter books at least annually and ALWAYS will.
When I am stressed or overly busy, the first thing that I stop is any sort of pampering – I make less effort in my appearance and this starts a twisted spiral of self-loathing and low self-esteem. I neglect my roots, or stop shaving, taking showers instead of baths – all of which is fine if that is for you. I however love a good relaxing bath once in a while, the feeling of my freshly shaved legs on clean sheets and who doesn’t feel amazing after a visit to the hairdressers? I’m lucky that I receive and buy a lot of beauty products – which means that when I have the time I can really indulge. Although, I still need to remember to paint my nails once in a while!
What is your favourite way to relax?
Like what you see? You can follow me here: