|sit back, relax, have a cup of joe|
Today at MOPS the topic was separation anxiety. At the start of her presentation, our speaker asked how many of us regularly make time for ourselves. I raised my hand. I was one of few.
I am neither a zen junkie nor do I lead an ultra-cushy life. In the beginning, when Ikaika was small, I struggled with this. I felt guilty taking time for myself and therefore, I not only didn't get any personal time I also began to deeply resent Mr A for his personal time. (How dare he go golfing! I never get out of this house!) It seems like anything short of nun-in-a-slum selflessness is viewed as selfishness when you're a mom.
Besides guilt, the other obstacle was my belief that "time for myself" needed to be some large, orchestrated event. Now I know the truth. Relaxing and taking time for myself is as easy as letting the TV watch my kids while I take a bath. Or read a book. Or blog - like I'm doing now. In fact, I was surprised more women didn't raise their hand because some of my me-time is at various parties they host!
Just to clarify - I let my dishes pile up all day and sift through mountains of unfolded laundry when I dress my kids in the morning (usually in mismatched garb). I feel fleeting moments of sadness for that book that isn't finished or that fulfilling career I haven't found yet. I might be able to relax, but I certainly pay for it in other ways. No one can do it all.
I realized today that its all about perspective. For example, my husband and I play cards almost every night after dinner. I was all sad because we used to play in organized card games 3-4 nights a week and now we just play a few games by ourselves. And we probably only do it because we don't have TV. But that is quality time, me-time, us-time. It requires almost no planning and only takes a half hour. Its something we can do even when I work late on weekdays. Most importantly, I like doing it and it makes me happy.
Taking a relaxing moment for yourself as a mom isn't as impossible or mysterious as it seems. You just have to 1) be willing to take it (not ask for it - take it!) and 2) appreciate it for what it is.