January 17th: How can we reclaim “me” time?

I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who can get up at 5:00 a.m. and run a few miles before coming home, showering, and getting on with my day. There must be something so invigorating, so centering, about taking that time to be whole with your mind and body like that at the start of every day. Too bad for my calves that I love sleep so much that even after a good 8 hours, I’m always ready to roll over and try my best for a little more shut-eye. (I’m kidding about the calves part. I have naturally rockin’ calves, and judging by my grandmothers, always will. So maybe that’s why I lack motivation…) Add to my natural laziness an almost impulsive bent toward procrastination, three kids, three jobs, and a husband, and I’m left with zilch in the way of “me” time.

I’m not sure what that even is anymore, to be honest. This evening my husband took our son to a hockey game, so I got some extra time with my girls. I love time with my girls. I love time with my son too, but it’s just different. Toddler boys are basically like mini-men. You know they’re capable of giving more than one or two-word responses, but they seem uninterested in anything but their cars, their tools. Toddler girls are basically like gold star-elementary school students. They carry around stacks of books to read. They choose just the right strawberry socks to go with their strawberry sweaters. They sit down with you and do puzzles, and if you give them crayons and paper, can entertain themselves for hours on end. They clean up after themselves, and sometimes after each other. The other day my daughter got mad at repeatedly cleaning up after her brother–so mad that she stopped cleaning right there and marched off with a stack of books to her bed and read by herself in absolute silence. She really showed him! (On second thought, that’s less like a gold-star 3rd grader and more like my mother.)

Anyway, after I put my BFF’s down to bed, my husband texted me saying, “good, now you’ve got some time for yourself.” Argh! Now there’s a good way to p!$$ a woman off! The simple fact is that for most moms, and especially the ones who hold down income-bringing, benefits-paying jobs, “me” time is just another chance for “us” time–as in, now I fnally have time to do the laundry/pay the bills/run the errands/get the groceries/clean out the closets/anything on your to-do list. Sure, I’ve got time to myself, and I’ll sit down and read for the next hour or two, as long as you don’t mind folding five loads of laundry with me when you get home!

True, there are moments in every week when I get to do something of my own choosing. And part of taking the time is that when you do, you’ve got to take it with gratitude and joy, and not with guilt. I’m hit and miss on this myself. I said “yes” to a yoga class yesterday morning (it’s my weekly ritual). I said “no” to an offer of a movie with a friend tonight (I’d have had to get a last-minute sitter…and yes…the laundry…).

Perhaps that’s also why I’ve committed to blogging a little bit, most every day. As long as I’m writing for myself, and reading blogs that I find engaging, I’m feeding that part of me that is independent of anyone or anything else. I don’t have to go anywhere to do it, and I’m limited only by the borders of my imagination.

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