November 08, 2019
A mum suffering from postnatal depression came up with a unique way of taking time out for herself, by building herself a “mum cave” under the stairs.
Why Every Mother Deserves A ‘Mum Cave’
Jessica Pool, 25, who has three children, noticed that everyone in her home had their own space, except for her. She renovated the area beneath the stairs – for just £17 – and transformed it into a phone-free ‘mum zone’. It has a reading nook, candles and mood lighting. 
“Sometimes us mums need somewhere we can escape to and still be near the children to look after them,” the mum, from Oxfordshire, said. “I felt like I needed somewhere I could take myself without inflicting my mood on the children and then I can come out and be mummy again.”
I couldn’t be more with Jessica. A year ago, I too created my very own “mum cave” – and it’s been my saviour. Related... Stacey Solomon Has 'Gut-Wrenching' Mum Guilt And I Know Exactly Where She's Coming From The “cave” was previously our small spare room, meaning there’s now an unfortunate lack of space for anyone wanting to come and stay (but let’s gloss over that). 
In it, there’s an old desk I salvaged from an estate agent who was clearing out, some antique mirrors I found in a charity shop and an Ikea lamp. It’s also got a clothes rail in it, full of hand-me-downs, because I’m a sucker for a pre-loved dress. 
I painted the walls myself, which is why the edges are quite uneven, and I got a second-hand rug to cover up the splotches of dark-blue paint that got on the carpet. It’s entirely mine – the kids aren’t allowed to play in there and there are only my books on the shelf.
This space has literally transformed my home life. It’s been a life-line. It’s given me the headspace I sorely needed to feel that finally, I have “a room of one’s own”, as Virginia Woolf put it. Related... If We Stopped Sugarcoating The Truth About Parenting, Maybe We'd All Feel Less Alone It’s the first time I’ve felt like I’ve had a physical space of my own since I started cohabiting – and I hadn’t realised how much I would miss it. When I’m in that room, I feel like I can breathe properly. 
Working as a freelance writer can be hard, particularly when it comes to carving out space around the kids. Most of the time the house is chaotic and full of toys, and that doesn’t get me into the right mindset for working.
I also find the routines associated with parenting difficult and occasionally (whisper it) mundane – but somewhere that is solely mine to escape to helps me press the ‘reset’ button. 
I’m fortunate to have had the space to claim an entire room, I know that. But as Jessica has shown us, mums can – and deserve to – make space for themselves wherever they can find it. The cupboard under the stairs, a corner of a living room. A particular chair at the dining table.The cupboard under the stairs, a corner of a living room. A particular chair at the dining table.And it doesn’t even need to be a physical space, either. There are a wealth of mindfulness apps designed to help us clear our heads in our day-to-day lives, even if just for 10 minutes. There are testimonials to mindful running – something we can all do if we make time for it at weekends or after the kids have gone to bed. 
We could – and should, on occasion – ask people to leave us alone to retreat into our mum cave, whether mentally of physically, even if it means sticking the children in front of CBeebies for an extra moment of quiet. We can light a candle, make ourselves our favourite hot drink, or eat something delicious that’s just for us – rather than picking at leftover, soggy fish fingers. Anything that brings us five precious minutes of peace. 
The real challenge? Believing we deserve that space in the first place. Related... 'Just Wait': Two Words No Parent Should Have To Hear Or Say Why Won’t My Kids Let Me Pee In Peace? How We Survived Our First Year As Parents Without Breaking Up
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