Today, I did nothing. I didn’t put a load of washing on, I didn’t make a single bed. I didn’t even change out of my PJs. I’ve done sweet f*ck all. And I highly recommend trying it for yourself.
Just to be clear, this isn’t a normal day for us.
A normal day
A normal day involves a lot more chores. It involves a lot more shouting. A lot more “shit, we’re going to be late again.”
A normal day involves timelines and schedules. Must leave the house by 8.07am, must put baby down for a nap by 11am, must be at school by 2.50pm.
A normal day involves repeated requests to the kids to do the things they are supposed to be doing. Put on your uniforms. Stop playing Playstation. Pack your bags. Brush your teeth. Do your homework. Get ready for soccer training. Have a shower. Do your reading. Turn off the lights.
A normal day involves repeated requests on myself too. Work eight hours. Prep three meals. Walk 10,000 steps. Wash the bedsheets. Take your vitamins. Meditate daily. Make time for yourself. Plan date nights. Limit sweets. Don’t swear. Get a decent night’s sleep. Be grateful, be patient, be present.
A normal day involves a dinner conversation with the kids, a bit of a family play, stories and cuddles at bedtime. But it’s often so rushed that it’s hard to even know if we’re enjoying it, or just doing it because it is part of a normal day.
An abnormal, nothing day
But not today. The older kids and my husband are both away for the day. Being a weekend, there is no work, no school, no sports practice. There are no schedules, no plans, no visitors, no reason to put makeup on, make the beds or vacuum the floors.
So I didn’t. Instead, I did nothing.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I cooked and cleaned up from three meals plus snacks. I changed the baby’s nappy several times and I watched her play, laugh, smile and attempt to communicate with me through her hilarious baby gibberish.
We took the dog for a stroll around the block. Still in our pajamas, but, whatever, still counts. We had a bath in the middle of the day for no reason at all. We dumped out every single toy basket, we read 17 books and we took two naps. Yep. Two.
In between all that chaos, I laid on the floor and let my baby crawl on top of me while I ate nachos and watched a full teen rom-com flick. From start to finish. And I only paused it like three times.
Best of all, at the end of the day, I didn’t feel guilty about doing nothing. I actually felt proud of myself. In today’s crazy world, NOT doing anything is a rare feat. Especially not doing anything and not feeling guilty about it.
Doing nothing meant everything to her
It was a great day for me. And for my little sidekick too. She didn’t cry once. Seriously, not even a little whinge which is very rare for her. When she felt hungry, she fed. When she felt tired, she went to sleep. And when she needed a cuddle, she got one.
She happily played with me by her side all day, so excited to have one-on-one attention, to not be competing with a computer or a pile of washing.
Watching her play with her toys, looking back to check I was still there, I realised something pretty darned important. By doing nothing, I was giving her everything she wants – me, my undivided attention, my presence. Something she, sadly, rarely gets, but something she obviously very much needs.
The beauty of doing nothing
Sure, the housework is still waiting for me, work and school are back on Monday and the older kids will be running through the door any second, most likely grubby and hungry, but my day of doing nothing today somehow prepared me to do ALL the things tomorrow. Or, more accurately, tonight.
And perhaps this is something all of us need every now and again. A nothing day to recharge, to reconnect and to realise just how much doing nothing means for our sanity and to our kids.