Now that I have finished my degree I have ALL THE TIME.
Except I don't. I have three kids, a job, a house to run, I'm selling a house in Manchester, we're decorating the bathroom, I'm doing Slimming World and organising everything for that.
I am very busy. I get that. But I feel like since my studying has been TAKEN AWAY FROM ME, I have lost my Kryptonite. I am Superman with no powers. I feel human tiredness and normal things. I've been being...NORMAL.
Well, normal-ish. I'm all at sea and I don't know what to do with myself. However, I have picked up a few things on top of everything else, as I would. Here are those things.
1. Hiding in the toilet to read
I am doing that even more than when I had to read for my degree. I have the books on the window sil and everything. I was going to read a jolly fiction but instead I have read a moving illustrated account of the the first day of the Battle of the Somme by Joe Sacco and I am currently reading this:
It's harrowing and I wouldn't recommend it unless you really are interested in this period and the lesser-known accounts.
After this I might pick up something easy like Twilight or Harry Potter to lighten the mood a bit.
2. Teaching Myself New Things
I have been learning how to braid my children's hair. I have never been able to braid and having three girls it's quite important that I have some level of skill in this area. Here are my grand designs so far:
3. Looking after myself
I have realised that the care of myself had rapidly gone from downhill to non-existent in these past few years. I've gained weight, been less active, my clothes are still old maternity clothes or black leggings. So I resolved to change this - and this is still ongoing. I started by:
a) Going into Debenhams and seeing The Clinique Woman. I basically told her that I needed her help and that I had no clue about anything. I spent the best part of an hour with her, she explained a lot of things about skin, cleansing and all that. I came away with a Moisture Surge pack and some tinted moisturiser. She tried foundation on my skin but because I am red, it just sits on top - apparently tinted moisturiser is best for me. Who knew?? So I've been using this stuff every day. I love it, and it gives me fifteen minutes of me looking after me - which is always nice and is much needed.
b) Washing and blowing my hair, simple, I know, but was a rarity....
c) *Other* hair care..... it is summer after all!
d) Gym - going back to the gym YAWN. But has to be done.
e) Losing weight and cutting out *some* of the wine. Some. Not all. That would be bonkers.
4. Enjoying my job
This is not the place for me to write about my professional life, but suffice to say I have been preoccupied with thoughts of my exams the past few weeks. I do enjoy my job and we have lots of exciting plans these next few weeks, so I have been throwing myself in to my work. I realise I am very lucky to enjoy my work-life.
5. Enjoying the kids
To be fair to me, I never neglect the kids or put anything above them. They always come first. However, I haven't enjoyed them as much as I could have the past few weeks. Now is the time for us to have fun together and really get close without distractions. It was Alice's sport's day yesterday and as we sat to eat crisps and drink water she said "Mummy I like it when it is just me and you." I'd like to try and make more time to give my girls one-on-one time. All three of them, for different reasons as they hit different milestones as they grow up.
And so, ALL THE SPARE TIME is not really all the spare time at all. I feel like I have lost something. I LOVE studying, it's a very big part of my life and has been for a long time. As my journey with the Open University ends another one will begin, in September, when I start my Masters. Until then, I am busy. I don't need to try and keep busy. But I take new things on all the time, I have an extra job over the summer that I'll be undertaking with the hospital and we have a holiday planned in a few weeks.
They say you should create a life that you don't need a holiday from. So much of my History degree has been in Berlin, so much reading, research, writing. My reward for my degree - a trip to Berlin. Maybe I have created a life that I don't need a holiday from after all.