A room of one’s own…

I went away with a lovely group of girlies a couple of weekends ago and after being picked up 3 of us made our way to the log cabin we would be sharing. By the end of the second hour of the car journey we had discussed giving birth, our husbands and the differences between raising girls and boys. Women can bond forge lifelong friendships over the duration of a car journey and this one was no exception…

I was nervous, I am anyway, and I was away from the boys in a strange place with lots of ladies I’d never met. If there is a comfort zone (I hate that phrase!) then I was nowhere near mine. That first evening we cooked a meal, drank a bit and then chatted the night away and we all went to bed in our various rooms as I went to mine. Lying in that tiny bed in the dark I started to think of the last time I slept in a room on my own, choosing the time when I wanted to go to sleep, not having a specific time to be getting up (or be got up) I read a little, some trashy mag that didn’t test my brain, turned off the light, sighed a deep contented sign and then slowly drifted off to sleep.

I woke with a little light peering through the crack of the curtain. No one had called ‘MUMMEEEEE!!!’ no one was fighting and in fact, there was a lovely silence. I had a decision; do I get up or stay in bed? At first I was confused as to what to do but I did eventually get up. After a breakfast we all headed out to take a cheerleading class. This is another thing I was nervous about having never been particularly coordinated and never really had much experience of pom poms so the lack of coordination coupled with the having to use a pom pom meant that this was going to be an interesting hour. Much laughing was done, I hadn’t accidently punched anyone with the plastic pom poms and we were, at least for 5 mins, all doing the right thing at the right time. I felt I needed a tight top and short skirt and there I would be, cheerleading like something out of an American movie. We had lunch, went swimming where I screamed my way down the water slides (I am so sorry if you were there, it was me) went in the wave machine end of the pool and was pulled along in the rapids that took us all outside to the frozen January day and then back in again, laughing. I laughed a lot that weekend.

That evening we went to the spa and we giggled in steam rooms (we were told off for making too much noise!) bathed out feet in hot bubbles but best of all took our dressing gowns off and ran to get into the outside pool where we sat in the Jacuzzi watching the night sky. Back to the lodge with much talking and laughing and planning what to do the next day.

We had chosen to roller skate and I was very excited. I can roller skate; in fact I used to be very good. I would whizz up and down our hilly road in those braver, pre teenaged times. I wasn’t scared and would take the most enormous risks but never seriously hurting myself. I skated like I was 10 again, round and round faster and faster, going backwards, forwards and just loving it. I liked the selfishness that never really happens when I take the children to do an activity. I’m a good ice skater but never get the chance to actually skate as I am usually supervising 2 collapsing children so it was amazing to actually get to roller skate by myself and not have to worry about anyone else. Selfish? Yes. But I loved it.

The boys were missing me. I managed a couple of disjointed phone calls home – there was little or no signal. They were finding things a little tough without Mummy which I hadn’t thought of because they are used to spending a few days without me at their grandmother’s or godmothers’ houses. I then thought but that’s them leaving and going away but this was different. I had left their home and this was a new experience for them. When was I coming home? Why had I gone, Mummy never does that…

The last night saw us playing board games. One was better than the other (the first one I swear the rules ‘explainer’ was making them up as she went along!) and one of my new friends laughed so much she sounds a bit like Chewbacca (sorry J!) We took photos of silliness (have you ever acted out a furball? And I had come out with a new word ‘hiwawious’), one lady was on the phone saying goodnight to her Hubbie and we all shouted ‘we love you!!!!!’ a bit too drunkardly. Drunkardly? Did I not mention vodka was being drunk like water in some glasses? I stuck to wine as vodka was a bad experience way back in my teenaged years…

The final morning saw me wake in the room of my own contemplating the weekend away. It had done me good in so many ways that I was almost planning the next one. Women can be bitchy. They can be prickly but they can also be bloody great fun. I had laughed with this group of strangers like I hadn’t laughed in a long while. I had been away and had time on my own with no time deadlines in which I had to be anywhere. I slept when I wanted and woke slowly and got up when I wanted and this, for me is now the definition of luxury. Strange how things change after you have children. I got to discover a bit of the old me, she’s still there, I just need to let her come out more often than I do. She’s not afraid and I need her to remind me of how I was once brave. My boys also got to see what their home was like without their Mummy and maybe, just maybe, missing me and the ordinariness of the life I provide them might have made those hello cuddles I got when I walked through the door just that little bit more heartfelt. You don’t miss what’s under your nose everyday but you do when it’s not there.

I have learned that like Virginia Wolfe we all need a room of one’s own but not necessarily to use as a space to think and write. Our ‘room’ may be a night out with friends, it may be to get back on that horse and ride like you used to or it could be just something so simple as to walk in the park on a summer’s day knowing that someone else is picking up your children and you have space to be who you want to be. My ‘room’ is having some time out, some time ‘of one’s own’ and not to forget I am a person too. I shouldn’t just stand on the side-line watching my sons live life to the full as it isn’t their fault if I choose, or forget to, join in. I came home from my weekend away, fresher, happier and ready to face the world again and this meant not forgetting how much fun I had had roller-skating so much that when I had taken 2 of my boys to a riding lesson and I sat watching them almost envious of what they were doing something quite overcame me (my 10 year old self?) and I booked myself in for a lesson too…






About littlewhitecottage

Emma is a qualified teacher with 14 years of teaching in many different settings. From teaching adults and children at a music school to choosing to work in a demanding primary school that was failing (which meant moving from an outstanding school – her colleagues were aghast!) to running her own sewing business for the last 5 ½ years teaching all ages how to sew: Emma loves to teach.
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5 Responses to A room of one’s own…

  1. Sarah says:

    I so need to do this! I never give myself any ‘room’ for myself. It will be hard trying to schedule it in between school, nursery, pre-school classes & a military life with hubby away a lot – but this has inspired me to do it. For me. Thank you xxx

  2. pauldodo says:

    ….And not just for mums! Even though I live alone, I often feel the need to get away from my space, this space, where I live and eat and sleep. I love staying over with friends, or in a B&B in an unknown town. I feel it recharges my creativity and ways of viewing the world. A little bit of discomfort often helps to stimulate creativity, I find.

    Great blog, as ever, Emma- thought provoking!

    Paul x

  3. becka says:

    lovely as ever emma x

  4. Nicky says:

    Love your post, totally agree with everything you said. Not that I get to have a lot of time to myself, I do appreciate a few hours on my own just being me.. Looking forward to arranging a weekend away with my friends for my 40th in June. Think it refreshes everyone to have “me time” every once in a a while x

  5. Wendy Bilton says:

    Ive been helping a friend recently looking after her elderly mother. Two weeks on then two weeks off. I leave my girls, but theyre older than your boys, but still, Mum had never stayed away on her own before. Its a fairly regular thing, but now, its become my time. And, I love it. I wanted to do something for me each time I finished there, as its a very tiring mental and physical situation (dementia).
    Hubby bought me a massage for Christmas, birthday and anniversary (all near to Xmas) and I had the first one when I finished here last time.
    I went to heaven and back that evening. I dozed and completely switched off. And, I slept like a baby that night.
    SO I have decided Im going to have a massage each time I finish. My treat. To myself, and yes, Im selfish too cos I dont suggest to the girls or hubby that they should go!!!!
    Cant wait for the next one now…………..ZZZZ
    Your blogs are addictive…once I start reading them, I just dont stop.
    Thank you Emma XX

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