A New View From My Kitchen Table

Recently the view from my kitchen table has grown a little dark. I know there are many of us, at home caring for kids, cats and dog while the other half is out in the Big Bad World of Recession trying to earn enough to keep the boat (to borrow from Christy Moore) afloat. The fact that I am a writer doesn’t really help. Alone at my kitchen table in the morning, scribbling away, words and thoughts that no one wants to buy. My world gets smaller and ‘issues’ get larger. It’s too easy to become trapped in a lonely bubble of, not quite despair but certainly of despondency.

I have snapped at the children a little more than I should have, particularly when they mention stuff like new runners or money for some excursion or other. I don’t want to add to his burdens and so don’t talk about my feelings much with him. And so we begin to function on a surface level of false optimism.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am an optimist by nature and believe in the power of positive thinking but it is not always healthy to be dishonest about how you are feeling. In order to heal lower emotions (such as worry) we must first accept and validate the feeling, before releasing it.

But I digress. Back to my gloomy and lonely kitchen table and my shrinking world. After weeks of carrying this aura of worry and unexpressed concern I begin to feel as if my emotions have all become displaced. They are all now just below the surface of my being instead of deep inner recesses where they normally reside.

I have days when I know that if someone says the wrong thing to me I will dissolve into a million pieces. Alternatively if something strikes me as funny, I can become an uncontrollable laughing wreck; frightening to witness and usually ending in tears anyway.

Then last week himself got a great deal on an overnight in a hotel and as it was his birthday anyway we decide to take the opportunity of a break away. This sounds simple, but when you are in the dark place at the kitchen table it can feel frivolous and wrong. But it was his birthday….

I won’t bore you with the details but we had a lovely, quiet and relaxing time. We had time to chat and to laugh. We had a lovely meal, a lie in, huge breakfast and as today is his birthday he chose to stop, on the way back, at a little airport near the hotel where we passed another pleasant hour having coffee while watching tiny aircraft come and go. And we talked some more.

I am telling you this because I think that in the current economic climate it is too easy to forget how vital it is to look after our own mental health. As parents, we put ourselves at the bottom of the priority list. This is not good. Taking time out, not only renews your spirit and energy but it also grants us the gift of perspective. Perspective I had lost from spending too long, pondering life from my kitchen table.

And there was a bonus kicker too…. We both remembered why we fell in love in the first place and why we are married. We won’t leave taking time out for ourselves so long next time!

Photo of Peacock in full display at Finnstown House Hotel, Lucan.
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20 Comments

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  1. A break is as good as rest, as they say. Sounds like it worked its magic for you. A nice relaxing weekend away when you are feeling confined and in the daily rut is the best antidote.

  2. Very relevant to today's world for sure. It's easy to lose sight of what's important and that you have to take care of your mental state to be able to deal with the stresses of life. Taking time out, going for a walk, looking at the good things around you, on a regular basis, can make a big difference over time. Happy to hear that you had a good time on your break.

  3. Very lovely post. So much of it resonates with me right now. With my mother-in-laws shocking illness we are just about holding it together with the emotions as you say so close to the surface. We celebrated our twelfth wedding anniversary on Sunday but we are, at the moment, so many other things before we are romantic partners but its even more important in difficult circumstances as you say to find each other.

  4. Brilliant, delighted you found each other again. Ah communication lines, easily overlooked in the rush and stress of the day-to-day. Inasmuch as we find our kids unfathomable we must seem doubly impenetrable to them. See you soon, Annette

  5. As usual – well put, well written – and thanks for laying the onus on me for sitting at the 'little airport near the hotel'- wasn't actually my suggestion…Ha Ha Ha.
    Nice way to spend a birthday treat though eh !!
    – and what a lovely pic of the Peacock – wonder who took that ??? – royalty free images eh !
    Paul

  6. What a beautiful post! I can so identify. Every now and then my husband and i will do something besides “running errands” (ho hum), and it is so wonderful! We're headed up to a library show this month and are really looking forward to just a little getaway, even if it is work related 🙂

  7. Hi Barbara, I read an interview with the guy who wrote 'Desperate Housewives'. He said he called it that following a conversation with his mother, late in life. He always thought that she was a real natural 'baking cakes, stay-at-home'mom but turned out the emotion she felt most of the time was 'Desperate'. We all face the routine of it every day, we do it for all the right reasons but sometimes we need to escape to find balance.
    Lovely honest post, you are not alone !!!

  8. Thanks everyone for your comments.
    Ann – you are right. A change of scenery is great.
    Maya – welcome to the Kitchen Table. And you got it completely. Minding our emotional and mental state is vital and so easy to overlook.
    Alison – sorry to hear that life is difficult for you right now! And try not to put you and him onto the sidelines of your life for too long!
    Annette : welcome to my kitchen table too and thanks for your wisdom. I really dont want to think too much about what the kids make of me!
    Sherwood – what are you on about. Moi? wanting to go to watch planes? But wasn't that Dakota so elegant?
    Hi Karen : glad you and him are also going to get a break away. It doesnt matter that it is work related.. just being the two of you together is what matters.
    Brigid – thanks for commenting, as usual and yes it is good to know I am not really alone at the kitchen table.

  9. wonderful, it cheered me up, I'm busy , tired and cranky so it made me stop and smile ! Well done

  10. Great post – very important to remember to take time out for ourselves!

    Glad you had such a good time!

  11. Beautiful post Barbara. It's as though you've read my mind. As mothers, we do indeed always put ourselves bottom of the long list and often forget who we are. I too took a night away with my husband recently and it was the best thing we ever did. It made us realise how little quality time we spend together and we've vowed to change that in the future. Glad you enjoyed your time away from your kitchen table. Maria x

  12. I have a really dark kitchen table at the moment but your blog made me smile a little. Thanks for that.

  13. Thanks hisdocon glad I cheered you – must see you soon.
    Clive – good to hear you again and your blog is always full of fun time out/away.
    Maria – as we went to Lucan – you werent in Dun Laoghaire by any chance? lol
    Rosalind – welcome to my kitchen table. Sorry yours is a bit dark at the moment. Hang on in there!

  14. Giving yourself space to not only breathe, but to rediscover each other is vital.
    Sounds like you had a great break.

    Al

    Publish or Perish

  15. Lovely post Barbara. The four walls of the house can make small troubles seem large can't they? And all the niggles of family and working life get in the way of any meaningful conversation.
    Getting out puts things back on the right scale.
    Rachel xxx
    (Nice peacock photo, 'Mr. Barbara' !!)

  16. Well said Barbara! You're right, we all need to take a breather and take a little time to ourselves. Particularly in this gloomy climate. I must try and take a leaf out of your book:)

  17. I am stunned at the number of comments – thanks everyone.
    Hi Al. A man at my kitchen table is a rare and wonderful thing. Thanks for commenting. And pop in again – coffee always on and if you are lucky there might be homemade scones too!!!

    Rachel – you trail blazed on this one! Thanks for your comment – will pass your compliments on to Mr Barbara (www.sherwood.ie)

    Olive – yep and yep and yep again… thanks for the comment

  18. Lovely post. We've all had of these dark times, especially writers. Revealing your insecurities and concerns is difficult to ourselves and to others, but it's a way to get past it.

    Since I only work part-time, and we've struggled with money for most of our marriage, spending money on something that seems frivolous is really hard. I'm glad you were able to do spend, and the time away brought you and your husband closer together.

  19. I'm a bit late to this but to add my tuppence: you're always incredibly positive but it's hard to keep that up in the face of national depression. Sometimes (as your other commentators say) it's OK to just let it all out. I've had times this year when the only solution was a Good Cry and you know you feel better for it. Here's hoping you find your balance again soon:)

  20. This really is a good post, and totally highlights what so many of us are thinking and feeling. I absolutely agree about taking time out here and there, even if it is just a small thing like stepping out to smell the flowers. I hope you get more chance to do this, you and your hubby, and everything gets brighter for all soon. 🙂

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