Reflections on a little ‘time for myself’

Well, today is the kids’ first full day at school. And after a brutally early start (they had to be at the school gate at 08:30), I have to say that I am filled with excitement and trepidation. I’m excited for them both, starting new schools in a new country; and I worry about them settling in, making friends and adapting to the new language. I’m excited to have a little ‘time for myself’ after six months of intensive parenting, but also nervous about what I could and should do with that time.

Is there any such thing as ‘free time’?

Between school drop-off and pick up, I have around five hours ‘to myself.’ What I have looked forward to most about the kids’ return to school is having some time to dedicate solely to writing, and interacting with the lovely people I have met on my blogging journey so far. Up to now, I’ve had to get up at silly-o’clock (think 5am or sometimes earlier) to have the peace and quiet I needed in which to write. Now I have five quiet hours in the middle of the day. But this time can’t be just for writing, can it? What about all the other things I need to do, such as:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Housework
  • Paperwork
  • Taking care of myself

Why did I put that last point last? Because I often make the mistake of placing it there. Which is not where it should be. Today, I put this one first, with a short run and yoga session before attempting any housework, or even any writing. And I felt I was being hugely decadent and self-indulgent. So there’s something I need to work on: less guilt at taking care of myself. Because unless you take care of yourself, you can’t very well take care of the people who depend on you.

My writing goals for the remainder of the year

I’ve several writing projects on the go, and I can’t wait to get stuck into these in earnest. First of all, I want to write blog posts on a tighter schedule, and schedule these ahead so I’m never short of a post when I need it. Secondly, I want to perfect the manuscript of my first poetry collection for publication some time…early next year? Let’s see how that goes. Then there is that ‘big and baggy monster’ my first novel, which needs a lot of work. I recently read a piece by John Irving in which he describes his novel writing process, starting at the end and working back to the start. Perhaps I should try this with my novel, as I very much like the final line. I am looking forward to revisiting the world I first created two years ago now, at any rate.

So with the toilet screaming to be cleaned and laundry to be laundered, I succumb to the temptation to:

‘Lie down
in the word-hoard, burrow   
the coil and gleam
of [my] furrowed brain.’

Thank you, Seamus Heaney.

Did I every mention that I hated housework? Yes, I think I did…

13 thoughts on “Reflections on a little ‘time for myself’

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  1. What an awesome post, in too many ways to name. I loved every bit of it and can strongly relate. Also I adore John Irving and am so grateful you shared a link to his blog, which I’d never seen before. So helpful, thank you. Hugs for being such an awesome honest and sharing blogger, Ingrid.

    1. You are so welcome Lia 😊 I love John Irving too; need to read something of his I haven’t already read…there are still a few. Which one is your favourite?

      1. I must admit I typed that comment rather hastily haha… I was partially mixing up authors, thinking of the novel Enchantment (please don’t hate me John Irving haha ;)) now that I look it up, I remember that was by Orson Scott Card (it was nearly 20 years ago that I read it and my memory isn’t the best lol). But I did read A Widow for One Year, also a very long time ago, as well as an interview or blurb or article somewhere in which Irving defended himself against indignant letter-writing widows who said he shouldn’t be writing “what he doesn’t know” or something to that effect. But Irving wrote Widow so marvellously well (massive understatement), the book defends itself… and I also admired his badass process-attitude, which I could certainly borrow a cupful of as a fledgling writer myself. :)) So yes I can still stand by “I love John Irving,” at least, from what relatively little I know of him, and in spite of how stupid I feel for not knowing more. ;))

      2. Was a gift from friends… so can’t take credit for the choice either. I’m lucky to have friends that are clever. ;))

  2. Good luck on your writing projects and with that housework. I work from home since the pandemic days now, so its all a blur of office and housework on the side. Thanks for visiting dVerse and hope to see you in the poetry trail.

  3. I really like your beautiful blog. A pleasure to come stroll on your pages. A great discovery and a very interesting blog. I will come back to visit you. Do not hesitate to visit my universe. See you soon. 🙂

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