Recently I’ve been experimenting with the 5:2 diet. Although it hasn’t really got past 6:1 with me, because fast days seem to result in a two day hangover of headache and fatigue. On the fast day itself, though, I’ve felt terrific: clear headed and full of energy, instead of thick headed and full of food.
So on Saturday night I did something pretty rock and roll. It was out there, I know, but…I decided to stay up late for no reason. I got home from babysitting for a friend at around midnight and had to make a cheesecake before I went to bed. This makes me sound like one of those mummy bloggers with shiny hair and well organised storage who put up artfully composed photos of home made jam. I am not one of those people. In case you need evidence, here’s a shot of my front room right now:
But the cake had to get made, so I cracked open a beer and got on with it. The house was quiet, my thoughts were my own, the beer was good. I was enjoying myself.
So when the cake was done at 1am, I thought ‘why not sit down with another beer and do some stuff?’ Reasons not to do this included the fact that it was my turn to get up with Loki the queen of 5am starts, and the busy day with friends that the cake was for. But I just couldn’t resist the chance to be alone in my own head for a bit longer.
So I accepted the fact that I would not sleep much and probably feel like shit all Sunday, and I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours reading blogs, writing emails etc. Went to bed at 3am, madam was up at 4.30am.
NOW, to the point. Once the initial hibernation feeling had worn off, about 3 lightning speed cups of tea into the day, I felt alright. Better than alright – I felt good. It was fun to hang out with a chatty, bumbling companion, physically I felt no pain and there was a pleasant floating feeling in my head. It was a bit like being on E, except that it didn’t cost me £5 and there was much less likelihood of interrupting a conversation with someone in order to vom on their shoes.
Not only that, this feeling stayed all day. We went to our friends’ house and had a fabulous time, loads of food, conversation, laughing and minimal need to parent. The kids immersed themselves in an imaginary guinea pig world for about four hours while we sat in the kitchen and spraffed. AND THEN we all went to another friend’s house for a child’s birthday party and while a gang of feral preschoolers ran between our feet we hung out in a kitchen, drank out of plastic cups and kind of sort of partied. It was some perfect Sunday fun.
There have been a lot of times since having kids that I have been so desperately, painfully tired that I felt everything was impossible. Sustained sleep deprivation is of course used as a form of torture and anyone who’s dealt with a small face in the night could tell you why, if they weren’t so bloody knackered that they couldn’t form a sentence. What seems to have made the difference this time was that I chose to stay up that late rather than having it inflicted upon me, and I used that time to satisfy myself (steady now). I’ve always been a night owl, creatively speaking, and it looks like that hasn’t changed. Staying up till 3am isn’t really a sustainable solution to the pram in the hall conundrum though. I got in bed at 9pm last night and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
It is also undoubtedly true that I wouldn’t have felt so great on Sunday if we had spent the day vacuuming the car or going to Ikea. Maintaining your own social life when you have kids is important. So thanks Hannah and Rich, Leo and Kat, Estelle and Pete, lovely awesome friends. You make driving round the North Circular worthwhile!