As some of you know, I've been single for a little while now. In itself, that's not a bad thing. Leaving long term relationships is devastatingly hard in the short term, but usually ends up being the best thing for both people involved. Human contact is a peculiar thing, though, and whilst one can be perfectly content with their solo status, we still often crave the intimacy of partnership in one way or another.
Last week I was asked 'How do you find the time to date?' Erm... maybe the same way as everyone else? Then, more explicitly 'Aren't you looking after your children?' 'Aren't you too busy with work?' 'How can you possibly fit that in as well?'
Apparently, that's the choice. Mother, or human. When a woman has a family, they must come first. Also, though, she needs to work, and so she's also got to be strong and career-minded. BUT NOT TOO MUCH - what about your children? Don't forget she should keep the house well-run, clean and tidy... as well as the car. These things all come before she is permitted to allow herself to remember that she is a woman, or a human being.
Every day spills over with obligations, responsibilities, musts and shoulds. Every day, someone needs looking after, something needs to be done, either at home, at work or somewhere in between or both. Every day, my identity is reinforced by the things that I have to do for everyone else. And, every day, like everyone else, I need to enjoy my own space, my own world, and my own freedom.
I have so many roles to juggle, it's so easy to lose sight of myself sometimes. I know I'm not alone in this. The constantly flowing river of responsibility pushes us ever onwards, often sweeping away weeks, months, years, where we can entirely lose sight of our personal goals. This isn't a single person's problem; it happens to everyone to a certain extent.
We're encouraged to martyr ourselves, every tiny scrap of personal happiness, in order to keep our other worlds ticking along. Yet, it should really go without saying, we are not women or mothers, women or businesswomen, men or dads... we exist as people in addition to our proscribed boxed-in roles; human souls that require nurturing. Often, the only person capable of providing us with the time and care that we really need is right there in front of the mirror.
Recognising the time that you need to take out of your day to be yourself - an imperfect adult - is crucial to your wellbeing. You have the time, you make the time. Whether it's for exercise, reading, tv time or dating - some of your time will always need to be your time.