What Keeps Me Sane

What Keeps Me Sane

Life is hectic in the Izzillo household, as I’m sure it is in any household where there are two active children under four and both Mummy and Daddy work full time. My parents and mother-in-law live abroad so we don’t have quick and easy access to reliable (and free!) baby sitters. I don’t remember the last time my husband and I went on a date, and life can sometimes feel like a never- ending treadmill of kids-work-kids-sleep. It’s no surprise that I realised one day that I’d lost sight of what made me me, and had lost myself in trying to take care of everyone else.

So I stopped, took stock, and made a decision to take some time for me. Here are some of the things that make me happy and sane.


Once a week, I spend a whole evening at pottery class – moulding, shaping, pinching, turning, coiling, and glazing bits of clay into (in my mind) works of art. Well, I’m not quitting my day job, and my creations are basic at best, but oh how I love it! The satisfaction of making – of creating – something from scratch! Taking a lump of clay and watching it take shape into another form in my hands – an ice-cream bowl, a spoon rest, a make-up brush holder, a beer tankard – the possibilities are endless!

It’s incredibly relaxing: try worrying about the kids or work, or making a to-do list in your mind when you’re trying to get the shape of the mug handle exactly right. It just can’t happen. Pottery clears my mind and calms my soul like nothing else can. It grounds me and puts me back in touch with me.

Pamper time:

I’m a girly girl and have tonnes of make up and skin care products. When I got busy, I stopped using some of them, especially my face masks, and my skin suffered. I now make time for me – putting on a face mask twice a week, giving myself a manicure, taking the time to give myself a face massage – and I look and feel better for it. It doesn’t take much time – just 15 to 20 minutes at the end of the day, and is a real boost to my personal well being.

Child-free days:

Every two to three months, I leave the kids at home with their Daddy, and spend the day eating and shopping, either on my own or with a close friend. I pretend that I don’t have children and completely indulge myself. I don’t phone home to check on them, and I don’t worry about how long I’ve been out for. It recharges my batteries and gives me the patience to be a better parent. (Ok, I’ll admit it, I do often end up shopping for the boys and buying them treats! But it’s still my child-free me-time :-)

My Kindle:

I love books and their ability to transport us to a different time and place, and to learn and experience new things. After having two children I struggled to find the time to buy books, much less read them. With my Kindle, I can read anytime anywhere, even while brushing my teeth at night. I also love that I can switch between devices – my Kindle, iPad and iPhone – and pick up exactly where I left off. Best of all, it only takes a few seconds between buying a book online and being able to read it. I’ve read more new books since I got my Kindle than in the last few years combined.

A sneaky cigarette:

I debated whether to put this one in. I can already feel the waves of disapproval from those of you who don’t smoke. The truth is, every now and then, if I’ve had a really stressful day at work, or sometimes just because I feel like it, I have a sneaky cigarette – it doesn’t happen often at all, but when I do have one, I really enjoy it. Anyway, I figured I now have Fulphyl to counteract the damage so I’ll be okay!

What about you? What do you do for you?