All the unexpected “me time”

I ducked out yesterday to get some Chinese cash for the World Rope Skipping Championships … and struggled back to the office with an ALDI Balance Trainer.

As you do.

Yep, I’ve become one of those people.

I told myself it would to help with the recovery of the youngest’s ankle. But I’m not sure you could describe it as essential to the process. The physio had suggested just rolling up a towel a few times to give her an unstable surface to balance on.

But it was on sale for only $29!

There were no instructions inside the huge box, so I haven’t the slightest idea what to do with it or the weird strappy handle thingies.

In other suburban dream-like news it appears I’ve given up on cooking from scratch. Forget all those lovely cookbooks stacked in my kitchen, this week’s selection of dinners include a meatlovers pizza from the ready meals section of the supermarket and some meat section specials: a Peking Duck breast to be tossed with some noodles; a Greek-style boneless chicken; and honey and mint kebabs.

I simply didn’t have any creativity in me when I raced to the shops on Sunday morning to stock the fridge for a week of school holidays scoffing.

It wasn’t always like this – I used to be a food blogger at Kidspot. One of my specialties was three ways to repurpose leftovers. Oh, the things I did with mashed potato! I even made bread with it once.

Every week I’d flick through my cookbooks and write a shopping list that specified the meal to be cooked each night. I’ve been doing that since I was about 22. Woe betide anyone who snacked on an ingredient on Monday that was needed for dinner on Wednesday night.

I didn’t like anyone cooking at my place and would simmer with silent fury on the occasional nights that I reluctantly instructed my ex to make something and he deviated even slightly from the plan.

Since escaping my culinary dictatorship he’s become a gourmet home chef who’s finally getting to explore his pent up culinary creativity each night.

I was slightly ashamed to cook one of my quickie dinners for him when he came over last Thursday.

These days I don’t even take a list to the supermarket. I just wing it. It usually works out OK.

I wouldn’t mind doing a bit of experimenting in the kitchen again. But currently it feels too hard, as I get home from work at 6.30pm and need to get something on the table ASAP because the youngest is STARVING after skipping training.

Last night, I whacked the Greek chook in the oven with some homemade wedges and veggies to roast, then dashed to skipping pick-up. The youngest jumped in the car and asked what was for dinner. I said roast chicken and wedges and she wailed “Wedges! Again?!”

What child doesn’t want to eat wedges every bloody night of the week? I thought the problem mothers faced was trying to stop them wanting wedges every night of the week.

Fickle creature.

The kids were back with me last night after four nights with their dad. Not that I saw much of them. Straight after dinner, the eldest went to bed to watch The Shining on their phone and the youngest went off to ice her ankle while watching something on her phone.

It’s taken me by surprise how quiet the nights become when the kids hit their teens.

You spend so many years hoping for a bit of peace in the evening, then you don’t quite know what to do with it when it comes.

There’s so much talk about the witching hours of parenthood, that intense period between 5pm and little kids’ bedtime. And then the exhalation of relief when they’re finally tucked up in bed.

The crazy evening hours require dinner to be made and baths to be poured and bedtime books to be read and help with homework to be done.

You yearn for the moment when you can finally put your feet up with your partner and have some adult conversation.

But I’ve found myself a little lonely at night as a single parent.

I poke around on the internet, pack the dishwasher and yell at the dogs to stop barking at the possums in the backyard as I wait for my bedtime.

The “me time” isn’t quite what it was cracked up to be.

Song of the day: The Communards “Don’t leave me this way”










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