They’re not guilty pleasures, they’re things I like to do.
As a mum, six years in the grip of mum guilt, the phrase “guilty pleasure” really hacks me off. Having a glass of wine is described as “guilty”, having a bar of chocolate is described as “guilty”, going to read a book for 15 minutes on your own is sometimes described as a “guilty pleasure”.
Let’s get one thing straight. The three things I’ve just mentioned should never be described with the adjective guilty. None of them are a crime, so why should we use the term? I am hereby reclaiming the word “pleasure” as something I like to do. I don’t get the opportunity to do a lot of them very often as children do have a habit of screaming for your attention as soon as it’s not on them.
Here are some of the things I like doing given the opportunity. I am not ashamed of them and never want to feel guilty indulging in them, in moderation.
1. Eating chocolate
It’s nearly Easter and I’ll be honest and say I’ve already eaten a couple (lots) of Cadbury eggs and Malteaser bunnies. They taste good, they make me happy and I’m well aware that if I eat loads and don’t exercise I will put on weight.
Since I was about 6 months pregnant with Bebe, I’ve really enjoyed knitting. I’m not super great at it, preferring to make people blankets as they don’t require any major knowledge of patterns. However, in the last two weeks I have embarked on a project to knit a cuddly bunny and now have the ears left to go. There’s something very satisfying about following the pattern and seeing it take shape. “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.” Interestingly, I got some very funny looks when I took the knitting to the soft play recently. There’s nothing wrong with a woman in her thirties knitting.
3. Adult colouring
Well I say adult, I might have done a page in Bebe’s My Little Pony colouring magazine. It’s another one of those things that is very calming. I can get lost in a world of colouring, focusing just on staying in the lines and not worrying about anything else. There’s not been a lot that I want to watch on TV recently so colouring fills the time and keeps me calm.
4. Wearing leggings
I make no apologies for this. Sometimes a girl just wants to wear leggings, they are soft and comfy. I’m not just going to wear leggings and a t-shirt out and about – the world isn’t ready for that yet. But I can’t see anything wrong with leggings under along tunic top or a short dress. They hide a multitude of cellulite and varicose veins.
5. Going for a walk
There are times when this mummy just wants to be on her own in the fresh air. I don’t necessarily want to go for a run (mainly because I can’t jog for more than 3 minutes without going bright red and sweaty) but I do like to stretch my legs and enjoy the feeling of being outside. We live near the sea, so I get to watch the waves as I walk.
This seems to be another one that many think is only for people in their fifties or older (my mum’s garden looks amazing). I grew up with two parents who spent a great deal of time in the garden; they grew fruit, vegetables and flowers. Now I have my own garden I want more than just a patch of grass for the girls’ trampoline. So far this year I have planted: peas, baby corn, purple sprouting broccoli, carrots and potatoes. I don’t have masses of space for my growing, just two raised beds and some potato sacks. Again, it makes me happy to be outside and to see things that I have planted come to life. Sometimes I garden with the girls and sometimes I’m just out there on my own, having a bit of peace and quiet.
All these things are for me a pleasure but I certainly don’t ever feel guilty for doing them.