Imagine that there is a room in the house which when you enter time freezes outside, the children are left motionless not growing hungrier or experimenting by swinging off the lampshade, dinner is not going to get any later when you spend time in there and your better half will not feel neglected by you choosing to spend time alone as time has stopped for him.
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Sounds like bliss? You bet.
The idea of being able to spend guilt-free time away from my family, housework and professional work is so tempting. Josie, at Sleep is for the Weak gave this as an option for her writing workshop (and she had been inspired by Slugs on the Refrigerator) and I (poor harassed mummy that I am) fell on this option.
Even now as I type (while hubby watches his favourite show after a dinner and pudding I feel guilty that I am doing my thing).
Do you have a self when you become a Mum? Even when I do my own thing my mind wanders back to the house and kids; are they eating, are they driving the babysitter to suicide, did I put the washing out, will it rain on my laundry? So the big pre-requisite for my room of one’s own is the time freezing qualities described earlier.
It would be a lounge-diner sized room, large enough for plenty of space but not ballroom sized huge and lonely. I think that it would have to be dual-aspected so that one side has a massive window open to the cliffs and sea below. I love to see the patterns sea makes when it hits the rocks, the twirling, spraying force has always fascinated me (probably because the seaside is a special treat for someone from a land-locked county). I like the North sea – its cold and grey but it has brute force and a bleak beauty.
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The other window should look out over the North Yorkshire Moors. I love the heather and crags of the moors, again this is probably a reaction to living in an area with gently rolling hills and the fens nearby. I would love to look out over the moors and see them changing with the seasons and time of day. Grouse flying on one side in purple heather and the sea, always moving, always changing on the other side, I feel breathless just thinking of how exhilarating the view would be even before you open the windows to smell and taste the air.
With views like those it would be greedy to ask for more than the basic furniture, but as this is MY fantasy room I can be greedy. I want a real fireplace (which someone else conviniently cleans and lays for me) so that on cold nights I can see the fire flickering and dancing (I seriously had no idea how hypnotic and soothing I find organic movement and change until I started this!).
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I’ve always dreamed of a chaise longue, cream coloured with dark wooden legs that I can lounge on and read; so the chaise longue and massive bookcase are in as well. An old fashioned wicker style rocking chair with handmade blankets nearby would also be in my room, somewhere to retreat and rock myself back to sanity. A nice sofa to rest on a well would be great (with matching arm chairs) so that I have plenty of choice of what kind of chair to sit on and what view to have.
I’d like to have a wii, balance board and EA Active (or whatever the latest, most effective personal training programme is) so that I can burn off my frustration if I don’t just want to sit, looking out the window and breathing. As this means I have to have a TV it might as well be a decent one, HD with a virgin + box (I’d love to do that freeze and reqind live TV trick) and some good DVD’s (The Young Ones, Gone with the Wind, Shawwshank Redemption, Family Guy etc…), I hope I wouldn’t watch it much but if it’s there it might as well be good.
A bag of wool and knitting needles should also be provided so that I can be creative and practical if I feel the urge to do so. A small dining table by the sea facing window so that I can sit upright to eat if I feel hungry (I hate slobbing on a sofa with a meal) and tea making facilities (English Breakfast tea, kettle and skimmed milk please).
I don’t think I would want to have curtains, it’s my fantasy room so I don’t need the insulation (it would be toasty with my fire and no drafts coming in through my windows) and even at night I’d love to watch the lights of boats in the sea.
I want this room, the quiet and ability to sit still and watch the sea and moors, so desperately. I can remember lovely nights spent in a caravan on the Norfolk coast, looking out at the lights moving across the sea, the feeling of peace and quiet as I (with no responsibilities on a pre-children holiday) watched other people working hard on the sea.
But, even with the guilt free unlimited use of the room would I want to spend long there? Can I seperate the ‘me’ part of myself from the Mum part? At present the joy of writing my blog, hopping onto EA Active or knitting is partly the struggle to get it. If we get something handed to us on a platter do we truly appreciate it as much as if we work for it?
I would love the chance to stop and just breath but scarcity makes things more attractive, if I had unlimited access to me time surely I would get bored of it quickly (pleasure without responsibility or the sharp counterpart of pain is no real pleasure as the ‘noble savage’ in Brave New World discovered)
Being a Mum means constantly having to put someone elses needs above your own and I would hate to sacrifice that part of my life. Ultimately as much as I would love my room I would hate to not feel like a Mum, even for ten short minutes in the room, and therefore I must sadly let my fantasy room go. A short walk to the shops and back in the evening instead will have to do as my ‘me’ time for now but it’s a price worth paying.