Good morning! I'd like to see a show of hands. How many of of you S.H.E.s took your Free Day last week? Come now! Be honest! How many took your Free Day last month? How many can't remember when they took a Free Day?
I thought so--and it doesn't surprise me in the least! The concept of a Free Day (and I mean a FREE Day) is the downfall of many a would-be S.H.E.™, second only to the Basic Week Plan in provoking the classic S.H.E.™ response: "I can't do that because I'm ___________________ (recite your own excuses here and fill in the blank).
Shockingly, many of us don't even know what a Free Day is--or what it should be! We see that unaccounted-for block of time, and visions of projects dance in our minds. "I know it says Free Day, but if I just catch up on all those letters I said I'd type for the Women's Guild, then I could really take my Free Day next week!"
Excuses aside, modern life does, alas, provide us with substantial barriers to a Free Day. Try explaining to a crying baby or demanding preschooler that "today is Mother's day off, darling--I'll be with you tomorrow".
Nor has this writer noticed, in her neck of the woods, any actual gung-ho chore-doing, apron-wearing (not to mention drop-dead gorgeous) television sitcom "fathers"--you know, the guys you see on television who rear housefuls of little girls without aid or comfort from anything resembling an adult woman--or such irrelevancies as a job.
At the bottom of it all, though, we have seen the enemy--and he is us! It is our own thinking, our own habits, and our own poor self-image which prevents us from getting the rest, relaxation, and renewal which we need.
Everyone--but especially household managers, wives and mothers--needs time to tend their internal fires. Yet we have the hardest time admitting to that need, and feel guilty if we take that time.
The Free Day is not a day to schlep kids on field trips, catch up on ironing, repaint the kitchen, or finish that spreadsheet. The Free Day, an integral part of the S.H.E.™ system, is devoted to the three "R's": rest, relaxation and renewal.
The specific proportions of the three "R's" must be left up to the individual. While a S.H.E.™ with a sedentary job may opt to hike or swim on her Free Day, a mother who spends her days behind the wheel of "Mom's taxi," ferrying multiple kiddies to multiple kiddy activities, may choose to remain within the four corners of her boudoir for her Free time.
The ultimate goal is renewal. To be reinvigorated, to be recharged, to be reinspired--all this takes time. Free time. The CEO, aspiring writer that she is, finds comfort and challenge in the words of Gertrude Stein: "It's hard work being a genius. You have to sit around so much doing nothing."
Your Free Day. Take it! Do what you must the other six days, but do like the God of Genesis on the seventh day: He rested!
And on the morning of that day, ask yourself this strange and unfamiliar question: "What do I want to do right now? What do I want to do?"
The answers may surprise you!