Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Mid-life crisis or a touch of Shirley Valentine?

Brit Mums: parent bloggers united

After seeing the poster of SJP's new movie I Don't Know How She Does It, I posted a discussion called How do you do it? on Brit Mums's forum, looking for tongue-in-cheek and genuine time-saving tips.

My contribution was: "I work from home, do charity work and look after a four year old. I tend to be minimalist with housework and personal grooming. For instance, why shaving my legs when I’m not wearing a skirt or I can wear cover-up thights? Why wearing full makeup if not any? It only makes me look older. Housewise: clean laundry and dishes get precedence on dusting (I have a few old pieces of furniture – it’s amazing how dust improves patina)."

Here are the frank, funny and very useful time-saving tips I got:
Troubles Mum: "Housework in our house is seen as optional. As long as the basics are done and we don’t get food poisoning, then all good. And I haven't ironed a full garment for about five years at least. No-one has ever really noticed."

Jo: " Get a breadmaker (with a timer), a dishwasher, and a coffee maker (with timer) – that way you can have your breakfast ready for you when you wake up, and clean plates and cups to eat/drink from – oh and the house smells good too :-) Now if only we had a washing machine with a timer that hung itself out on the line too…"

Ellen Arnison: "Not sure if it’s totally relevant, but here’s how I got out of the house to work yesterday morning:" Read this and be glad if you have just one child, are working from home or are a full-time parent!
Me as Shirley Valentine

As I was collating my fellow bloggers' time-saving tips, my inbox was buzzing with emails from life coaches offering me to ditch my boring, surely unchallenging everyday life and live the dream. I suppose it's partly my fault for subscribing to inspirational newsletters, but they did hit a chord.

In the past weeks, I have been mulling on my professional and family life and wondered why I feel trapped. I work from home, I have a flexible work life, lovely daughter and partner, plus I'm out of renting and enjoying my new home. Where did this negativity come from?

I can blame Eat, Pray, Love and even escapism classic Shirley Valentine for putting ideas into my weary head, but perhaps it's also he realisation that I'm too old/busy/tired for certain things, like going to clubs (I still love dancing though), travelling around the world or simply having a night out without childcare complications.

One of the seductive life coaches' emails revealed that there are heaps of women in my shoes, even younger and with better career prospects (so obviously, they must be stuck in a well-paid job they loathe). So I ask myself: Am I going through an early middle-life crisis or is it a touch of Shirley Valentine?
Go on, be Shirley... download and paste your face in the blank spot!

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