Recently, I have been pondering how it is that one of the worst things I can say to myself on a Friday night is, "Wow! We don't have any plans for the weekend! That means I can take it easy." Because what tends to happen is I go into manic mode and fill every moment of the next two days with domestic and organisational activity, refusing to sit down and rest, dammit.
After discussing this with my therapist, I decided to stay open and curious going into the weekend, to see what the tipping points might be. Specifically, I wondered why certain tasks might take on a false sense of urgency... and what I might be avoiding.
I also wanted to try my best to view whatever arose through a compassionate lens. I've noticed that I tend to feel sadness, then shame, then a whole lotta nasty and critical stuff about my apparent inability to just sit and enjoy my family on the weekend.
Saturday was the usual flurry of laundry and watering house plants and running errands. It's OK, I reasoned, there's always Sunday.
So, my littlies and I were up early on Sunday morning and, in amongst getting breakfast made, I responded to this tweet from my sweet friend Noël Rozny in Chicago:
Typo aside, you will note that my reportage of Sunday's happenings included banana, bacon and buttermilk pancakes in front of the open fire. Which sounded idyllic, if I say so myself.
What actually happened that day was this:
I got the ingredients out to make the aforementioned pancakes to discover we had run out of eggs. I googled an egg-free recipe and proceeded to cook them up, feeling a bit like a champion. Until my daughter announced that she didn't like them. And she also observed that the bacon was "not quite the way Papou cooks it". And much later, I realised I'd fried up the ham I'd bought for her sandwiches instead of the bacon I'd bought specifically to accompany the buttermilk pancakes avec banana.
Once I'd tidied up from breakfast, I took one look at the butter chicken recipe I'd planned to make in the slow cooker for dinner and burst into tears. The sheer number of ingredients was enough to have me agree [however reluctantly... though more than somewhat relieved] to my husband's kind offer to cook it for me.
And in between all of that, the baby woke, fed, played and required settling to sleep. Three times. The fire didn't get lit until 4pm. It is Tuesday and I still have not read the weekend newspapers (an activity I consider the benchmark of a weekend's restfulness).
In the odd quiet moment on Sunday afternoon, I picked up my iPad and dipped in and out of my twitter and instagram feeds, and blog reader. When I stumbled on this brave piece by Liz Lamoreux, I knew I had to tell my truth.
I didn't mean to lie to Noël, or anyone else. If anything, I suspect I wrote what I did because that's what I wanted my weekend to look like.
Which, I reckon is how I came to feel so sad and self-critical by the end of it all.