How to elevate your picnic game, according to the Vintage Tea Trips team
How to elevate your picnic game, according to the Vintage Tea Trips team

Shayna Sappington

You can now book your appointment to shop at Penneys
You can now book your appointment to shop at Penneys

Jennifer McShane

There’s nothing quite as believable as the story you tell yourself, about yourself
There’s nothing quite as believable as the story you tell yourself, about yourself

Niamh Ennis

The weekend shopping fix: picnic essentials, soft bras and more
The weekend shopping fix: picnic essentials, soft bras and more

Holly O'Neill

Nail stickers are the key to nailing your nail art
Nail stickers are the key to nailing your nail art

Holly O'Neill

Embroidery artist Domino Whisker shares 5 of her favourite creatives to follow
Embroidery artist Domino Whisker shares 5 of her favourite creatives to follow

Megan Burns

Wallpaper inspiration for every room in the house
Wallpaper inspiration for every room in the house

Megan Burns

Image / Self

Once you are a parent, it becomes impossible to ever get proper, fully replenishing rest


by Lia Hynes
22nd Sep 2020
blank

Liadan Hynes comes to the conclusion that once you have children, resting just looks different. 


“You’re never really getting fully rested,” my friend says. “More just clawing yourself back to a level where you feel you can keep going”.

We’re talking about having young kids, and how the having of them creates the impossibility of ever getting proper, fully replenishing rest. You are never fully reset.

The work week

I don’t think this is necessarily a ‘single parent’ thing. I think it’s just a parenting thing. Most of my friends with children are doing a variation of the same theme: work/ children/ keep home running/ have a semblance of social life/ work again once the child is in bed.

Related: As a parent, I’m learning to take things one day at a time

“It’s the new working day,” a woman said to me recently. Morning until pick up time; at computer barely breaking for food, then do not come NEAR me from the hours of two-to-seven, because I’m in the middle of homework/dinner/bath, then back onto the laptop once they’re in bed, she said, outlining her day.

In all of this, there are few moments between the life stuff, and the work stuff, to just do nothing. To rest.

Weekends

Weekends are not that different. I know there are people who manage to knock out weekends that seem to encompass everything from bringing several children to activities, to food shopping, me-time, friend-time, gym time, relaxing roasts and movies time, to possibly even getting some work done.

Related: When you’re a single parent, meditation isn’t always possible

This sort of all-roundedness is beyond me. At weekends, I want to spend large swathes of time with Herself. I also want to go out with friends. And have people over, cook a big meal. But also do nothing, a country hike, and take Herself swimming. It rarely feels like all (or most) of this actually happens.

The biggest shock of having a baby, for me, was Saturday mornings. Trained for it, my body would start trying to wind down; off the Monday-to-Friday up-and-out and ready-to-go merry go round. Except you were not off the merry-go-round. Saturday mornings you still had to just push through. No rest. Because babies do not differentiate between Monday morning and Saturday morning.

With children

This, to a large extent, does not change. Weekends with kids are not about resting. Even when you are co-parenting, those hours where the other parent has them can almost induce panic; to Prosecco brunch, or gym it, or lie on the couch dozing?

Related: Things Fall Apart: It’s important to find humour, even in the dark times

As for holidays? Anyone who has holidayed with young children can join me in a hollow, mirthless laugh right now, at the notion that there is anything restful about going away with small children. Fun? Yes, but restful? You are away from all your usual supports, and they are out of whatever routine they have at home. The sooner you accept that holidays with kids are not where you go for rest, and get on board with the fact that coming home will feel more restful, the better a chance you will have of actually enjoying it.

So I have come to the conclusion that actually, at this stage of life, resting just looks different. The focus goes on things that are restorative, rather than lounging around doing nothing. For me, that is time with friends.

A break

My friends provide a break. A time out, a space between the doing of work, and the looking after of a small child. Because work can seep into all corners, and small children are wonderful – but exhausting. ‘The best thing you can do for someone with small children is to take those children away from them’, is one of my mother’s rules to live by. She doesn’t mean indefinitely, obviously, but for a period of time, so they can rest.

This week was book club week. Beforehand, I felt I might actually pass out with the tiredness; that end-of-the-week Friday exhaustion.

And then the six women arrived at my house, and bustled about putting together the food we had all purchased, so much we are still eating it three days later, and opened bottles, and took off shoes, and for the next few hours did that thing women do, that form of communication that is a combination of shout/scream/laughing.

It was a break, a moment out, a total re-energiser. And even though I know the exhaustion is hovering somewhere back there, for a few days afterwards, it disappeared.

Photo: Sean Roy via Unsplash


Read more: Becoming a mother is tough – it’s okay to be overwhelmed by it all

Read more: Eight of the best child-friendly cafes in Dublin

Read more: The best parenting secrets from around the globe

Also Read

people pleaser
RELATIONSHIPS
I’m a people pleaser, is that really a bad thing?

Surely, it implies that I am essentially a good person trying to do good things for others? Not quite, explains change coach Niamh Ennis.

By Niamh Ennis

blank
REAL-LIFE STORIES
How lockdown saved me

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
REAL-LIFE STORIES
The ‘social bubble’ concept is making me feel more alone

Michelle Heffernan lives alone without any family in her 5km...

By IMAGE

After years of taking the oral contraceptive pill, if Amy hadn’t sought treatment, she would have died.
premium HEALTH & WELLNESS
‘The risk of clots has been very real for women for many years. Why didn’t they take the pill off the market?’

The chance of developing CVST, a type of blood clot, from the AstraZeneca vaccine is between 4 and 10 in every 1 million people – you have more chance of being hit by lightning. The risk of a blood clot when taking the oral contraceptive pill is 5-12 in 10,000. Why are women's lives being treated as less valuable?

By Dearbhla Crosse

blank
RELATIONSHIPS
Raise your hand if you’re a millennial and obsessed with your niblings

Niblings are the nieces and nephews we just can’t get...

By Geraldine Carton

covid commune sligo
REAL-LIFE STORIES
Coronavirus Commune: meet the families who found a way to thrive through the crisis

As a result of the pandemic, IMAGE contributing photographer Isabelle...

By Lizzie Gore-Grimes

blank
PARENTHOOD
New Zealand grants automatic paid leave for couples after miscarriage

By Jennifer McShane