You may wonder how it is, that with one of these…
and two of these …
not to mention the drama entailed with having this one…
how I can possibly manage, insist upon, having some down time.
Well, the truth is, for the first – oh…..three years of having kids (coincidentally, I had the three biggies in 3 years) I don’t think I managed to use the bathroom alone. Once.
To say I got a leeetle bit strung out would be a gross understatement. I felt like an understatement – and a gross one at that.
I walked into motherhood sure that the greatest fulfillment I could have would be found in my childrens’ company. Then I realized they don’t talk for quite a while. And they can be kind of stinky (behavior and actual smell). Then they start talking and all you say is “no!” so all they say is “NO!” Its a vicious cycle.
At some point, in a sleep deprived haze, I realized that I wasn’t such a nice mom most days. My voice had one volume setting: YELLING! I would brace myself each morning to spend the whole day chasing my two toddlers while nursing my newborn and attempting to pretend we were having fun. I actually didn’t attempt much, just survived till bedtime.
My sense of personal hygiene had reached a level where while tooth brushing was non-negotiable, hair brushing was for special occasions. And t-shirts were my entire wardrobe. The spring of 2006, I owned every color of Old Navy crew neck tee – and WORE THEM OUT WITH SO MUCH WASHING AND CONTINUOUS WEARING.
It was a personal low.
Things had to change. I joined a gym, nothing fancy – we spent our money carefully, but they had childcare. And my non-pre-school attending kids thought it was the coolest place on earth, and the baby just went with the flow. And there were showers there. No kids running in to say hi, or flush the toilet while I showered, or let the dog out of the house while I….sorry, I was reminiscing.
So there was this beautiful gym, where I could drop the kiddos off and where I could run and then shower.
I also started a part-time, work from home job. Nothing scammy or involving medical billing, just something that enable me to use words other than, “potty, diaper, snack, sippey cup.”
It was a watershed moment (thank you 6th grade history for the descriptive word that I am hugely mis-using).
Watershed – for me anyway.
That spring, my life changed because I realized I am a better mother (and wife) when I also have the opportunity to be just me. Even if it is just for 20 minutes on a treadmill, or answering a quick work email or reading on the porch after dinner and passing the kids off to my (awesome) husband for bedtime insanity.
Me time doesn’t have to mean spending money on a dinner out (though I love doing that too) or a shopping expedition, or a weekend away (hmmm….there’s an idea), I am just talking about taking a little bit of time to recharge and remember that the roles that you fill are not WHO you are but what you do. Bad grammar. Shoot me.
I will always be my husband’s wife and my children’s mother; I am also just me, an individual. A part of of the whole; but a seperate part none-the-less.
Taking a few minutes to just be me, like the time I’m taking in writing this post, equips me to face tomorrow. To embrace tomorrow, with a genuine smile on my face, and a real appreciation for the blessing my family, runny noses, dirty diapers, bickering and slimy kisses not withstanding, truly is in my life.
Do you manage to get me time? What are your favorite ways? What holds you back?
Looking for ideas? I thought this post from Lifehack had some great ones.