To wash or to watch … ?

Picture the scene; its weekend, the sun is shining, my husband and I are in the garden with our two children, the toddler is running around and our baby is sitting on a blanket. I have a lovely opportunity to sit on the blanket with her, to enjoy the sunshine, to relax in the fresh air and make the most of a bit of peace. So what do I do? Hang the washing out. It’s like a race, a sense of urgency rushes over me the minute I spot a bit of blue sky and I absolutely cannot rest until I know I am making the most of the weather. And once the clothes are on the line I then rush around to get the next lot in the machine in the hope that they, too, will be done and hung out before the sun disappears. It doesn’t seem to matter to me that nothing has been washed in two days because of the terrible weather and limited indoor drying space, it doesn’t seem to register with me that one more day probably wouldn’t hurt. No, the sun is shining, we are all outside, and my first thought is of housework. I need to make a change. Of course these jobs are important, of course they need doing and of course I want to be organised enough for my family. It is my job, I enjoy looking after them and they deserve no less than a well-kept house and clean clothes, but as important as it is, none of it matters more than quality time spent with them and none of it should have me racing away instead of sitting outside and enjoying my loved ones. Something inside is trying to tell me that time sitting is time wasted, especially when it already seems as if there aren’t enough hours in the day. I am going to ignore that little voice. I am going to turn it around and program myself to believe that it is actually ok to sit and do ‘nothing’, because ‘nothing’ in this case is sharing in moments that will all too soon be gone. ‘Nothing’ today means laughing with my little girls as they explore new surroundings, new experiences, as they get used to the sun shining on their little faces. ‘Nothing’ means picking flowers, looking at aeroplanes, eating fresh fruit and feeling the grass tickle our feet. From now on, if an opportunity such as this one presents itself, which probably happens most days (minus the sunshine), I am going to put down the washing basket, turn off the taps, stop folding and sweeping and let my living room become awash with toys, and I am going to enjoy my children. As a family of four I am going to allow us to be just that, ‘a family of four’, especially on days when my husband isn’t at work. Don’t get me wrong, we do things together all the time and each of us plays with our children, even if it’s while the other one gets stuff done, but instead of racing towards the next job that doesn’t ‘need’ doing apart from in my head, I am going to race towards them. Housework can and will wait, my children growing up will not!

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