Here’s a test for you. Not the girls’ magazine ones telling you if you’re a dreamer or a doer. A real hands-on one, or actually more of a bum-on one. Sit still for an hour at home. Yep 60 full minutes.
Your brain will start a to-do-list within seconds (should do the washing, have to call Sue), just ignore. Then your body will feel itchy, you see a sock under the couch with months’ worth of dust attached that you NEED to get up and get. Don’t. Then your bad conscience is back: I can’t just sit here. Yes, you can – just tell it, right back: yes I can!
OK, you managed 2 minutes and 10 seconds. Well done! Celebrate your successes! Now is the time to grab what you like doing: a book, a writing pad (NOT for to-do-lists, only allowed if you will actually write stuff on it: a diary, 10 things you’re grateful for, a poem that doesn’t rhyme, draw doodles), your knitting or anything remotely recreational.
Now comes the real test: your children/husband/mum/neighbour walking in. Keep seated. Look even more concentrated at your doodles. Pretend you haven’t seen them (oooh, how can that feel SO difficult? Where does that pleasing gene actually sit?).
And now you’ll experience the most fun you’ve probably had all week (because most women officially stop having fun just after getting married/having children/you fill it in). They will ask in wonder: what ARE you doing??? Don’t take it as an insult, they just never have seen you sitting still, in your home, doing “nothing”. Ever.
And then you calmly reply“I just felt like reading a book/knitting etc”. Don’t explain, say no more. Just concentrate back on the doodles. They will think you have gone mad, and how much fun is that, surprising both them and yourself. If they scale up the pressure (“when are we having dinner/where is my..”), you calmly respond: I don’t know, I’m just having an hour for myself.
Easy? No. Maybe practise on your own first without the optional escalation. Aaaaaah, letting go of that perfectionism, the duties…aaaaah. Well done, lesson one complete!