“I like to put Vaseline on my hands and put on conditioning gloves while watching infomercials.”
“Before I was married, I used to study my pores in a mirror for an hour each night. You can’t do that stuff in front of men.”
No not just odd behaviour, but secret behaviour. The things we do when no one else is home. It was coined by the Sex and the City ladies, specifically Carrie who called it Secret Single Behaviour or SSB.
When you’re around people all day your secret behaviour becomes a much longed for thing. And when you’re a mum to young children, me-time becomes such a rarity that your SSB is simply a thing of the past. It’s a stage of life when you just want five minutes without someone asking you “why?” or to just go to the toilet by yourself, without little hands appearing under the door. You’re giving of your time, your energy, your emotions all day long and it often feels relentless. You can’t remember a time when you felt like yourself and didn’t have yoghurt in your hair, let alone felt rested.
No one can do that without recharging- you will end up self-combusting. I know for me, that means becoming really bad tempered with my husband and daughter and it’s not fair to them, they don’t deserve to be on the end of my bad mood. We all need some alone time just doing those weird idiosyncratic things that make you feel like you again.
And that’s when I got thinking about secret mum behaviour. Yes the things we mums do when we are home alone- yes it does happen! This is not just about having some down time. This is about cutting off from everything and everyone else and reconnecting with a part of you that feels lost. I know you’re thinking “when am I ever going to do that?” but it shouldn’t be a case of when, it should be how do I make that happen?
The best way is to send the rest of the family out together. If you’re a single mum, try and arrange to have the grandparents or friends have your kids for a couple of hours. Let them have some time together without you. I promise you, they will survive!
And then spend all afternoon in your PJs eating just the brown M&M’s; binge on a box set; paint your toenails in the kitchen, sing into your hair brush to How Deep is Your Love …. indulge in your secret mum behaviour doing whatever it is you need to do.
And when the family return, your child’s questions will seem a little less annoying and you’ll feel a bit better equipped to handle it all.
So what’s my SMB? Well let’s just say I’m off now to eat dry crackers, listen to old 80’s tunes and inhale the smell of Vix.