It's a parenting tale as old as time…
You're in the supermarket on a busy Saturday buying groceries when you run into an acquaintance. She has the kids with her and you don’t, and to make small talk, you make a remark about how visiting Woolies child-free is akin to a spa retreat. You both laugh, nod in agreement and move on with your afternoon.
I often make that joke with other mums because shopping, cleaning, showering and doing virtually anything without the kids around is much easier than with them, but it is obviously not the same as visiting a...day spa.
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While I don’t think we should stop the parenting small talk in aisle seven, we need to acknowledge the difference between completing essential chores that keep the household running, and legitimate acts of self-care.
We need to question why so many mums include activities like shopping for groceries, buying kids' birthday presents, or even just having a shower as ‘me-time’.
According to a recent article on Mother.ly that delves into this theme, 86 per cent of mothers experience burnout. Part of the reason for this, author Diana Spalding writes, is because mums feel such guilt at taking time out for themselves.
“…mums are desperate for self-care so we look for ways to get 'alone time' that don't make us feel guilty,” Diana says.
Ah, mum guilt. As pervasive as it is utterly pointless. The younger our kids are too, the harder it can feel to leave them behind for what feels like a ‘selfish’ pursuit when they are still so small and needy.