If you ever worked in marketing or hospitality, you may have had the unenviable job of trying to make every day special. You may have noticed that restaurants, hotels, massage parlours, pubs all have a love-hate relationship with these special days. They offer special menus, hoping it’s more enticing than their competitors’ and as hard as they try, it all feels very contrived and mechanical. People like me, we avoid “special” days like the plague knowing that the unimaginative people of the world are crowding the venues taking up their “special” menus.

Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day… How are these considered special days when everyone and his dog is out showing that they remember this special occasion with a whole lot of help from marketing?

It’s for the lazy of heart.

This isn’t my point though.

What I’m trying to say is that there’s a pressure on places of business to find something special about each and every day so that people will want to celebrate by going out with their friends and hopefully taking up their “special” (higher profit margin than usual) menus.

Did you know that indeed every day is special? As far back as 4,000 years ago, Sumerians identified and named seven days of the week after observing a cycle of seven distinct days. Inspired by nature and the sky, they based the names of the days for the celestial bodies and the gods they associated with them.

To this day, we can find references to the stars and planets and the gods they represent in how the days of the week are named.

Monday is Moon-day,

Tuesday or Mardi in Romance languages is Mars-day (Mars being the god of war),

Wednesday or Mercredi is Mercury-Day (Mercury is the god of tradesmen and thieves),

Thursday is Thor’s Day (God of thunder and refers to Jupiter in Romance languages),

Friday I’m in love, and it’s no coincidence, as it’s the day of Frigg for the Teutonic and Venus for the Latins, both goddesses of love,

Saturday or Saturn’s Day is a named after the god of debauchery and

Sunday belongs to the sun.

Growing up in Turkey, it always confused me that Sunday is called Pazar, which actually translates to “market” but very rarely are markets held on Sundays. So I may never know the source of this contradiction but Fridays always held a special meaning. Well, as a school kid, that was the day before the weekend. How could I help but love the day dedicated to the goddess of love?

But Friday has a deeper, more spiritual meaning. In Turkish, the word Cuma, pronounced “Joomah” comes from Arabic and translates to the word “gathering”. In Muslim countries, it’s a day for men to take the afternoon off, meet in a Mosque and pray. Women aren’t a part of this tradition.

I always thought this was intensely unfair. But then I realised that as women we don’t have to be dictated what day of the week we choose to take for ourselves.

Time Alone is Sacred

Women are rarely left alone you see. We either have the responsibilities of our children (remembering to feed, clothe and take them to school, pick them up, even arrange their social lives in some cases!) and the household or if we work outside of the home, the tendency is to care about everyone’s problems. If you’re like me you’re probably super-sensitive to everyone’s problems and take them on as your own.

You see, I can’t help it. I’m parsley. Maybe you’re fellow parsley.

We tend to pick up on others’ emotions, worries, problems and of course all this burden (invisible but heavy baggage) becomes too much to bear. Our backs may start hurting because the more we tense up the higher up we raise our shoulders. I don’t know, I’m just grasping at some possible explanations for my back problems but am certain it isn’t only physical exertion. There’s most definitely a psychological component. But before I get too carried away in this tangent, the bottom line is that we need time to ourselves.

Men have their Friday prayers. Where’re our prayers?

It’s a good thing that feminine energy or Yin, is creative. We can create our own Cuma in our busy weeks and it does not have to be Friday. Just whatever fits with you and your family’s flow.

I recommend finding a spot in your diary, an hour on a day you’re not busy, and schedule “ME TIME”. You must schedule it or it will never happen. Protect that hour like a mother tiger, it is the time for nourishing your inner child. Just as you wouldn’t let your children go hungry, don’t let your inner child starve for your attention.

My ME TIME just happens to be Friday mornings. I get up early with the intention to write and I turn up here and write for an hour on all the ideas I’d been collecting throughout the week.

Then I drop Lucy off at daycare, grab my coffee and then go do Yin Yoga for an hour . I am what you would call “Yogasinda, niyazinda” type of Muslim, which is to paraphrase “namazinda, niyazinda” meaning one who prays (or does yoga) and then leaves all to Allah or the universe.

And there’s Strength in Numbers

As much as alone-time is valuable, so is time with likeminded ladies who may be going through the same issues as yourself. Where to find their company?

Not in a mosque.

At least, that avenue hasn’t worked for me as I didn’t observe the mosque as being a place for women and children. I recently joined a gym to get back in shape and to reduce my back tension (possibly from worrying about everyone else’s business but mine!) through yoga.

I invite physical fitness as having greater physical capacity and flexibility will make my life easier. I am looking forward to being able to walk up hills without stopping to catch my breath, bending down and stretching to pick up remote controls and various household items that get thrown under couches and beds. Also as a writer who believes in “sound body, sound mind”, I may have some creative incentives to enjoy in the process, who knows?

The best thing about this particular gym?

There’s a creche and because of this, it attracts lots of mums in Lane Cove. What a great chance to do something for me, without children climbing on me and in the company of other women going through the same struggles.

There’s even a meditation class! I cannot wait to try it out and enjoy my 50 minutes of ME TIME.

Over to you…

Have you scheduled a time for yourself and were you able to protect it? Why or why not?

If you’re a fellow Turk living in Lane Cove, get in touch with some ideas on building a bridge between our community and our own cultural identity (and Muslim traditions despite not having consciously chosen our religion) via e-mail, eda@WritePublishGrow.com