Friday, September 11, 2009

It's All About Me-Time

This month, the Yahoo Motherboard has asked us to talk about me-time.

I'm a firm believer that me-time, as selfish as it sounds, is a necessary aspect of our lives.

I have had plenty of days that have felt like all I am and all I do is for the benefit of someone else: from work to kids, it's easy to feel like most of our time is spent pleasing others. And let's face it, it's true! If I feel like that too often, that can easily lead to resentment. Resentment is almost never pretty, nor does it allow me to enjoy my kids or my accomplishments at work.

Every night, after Sylvia's bedtime at 9 until the time I go to bed (usually between 11 and midnight), I make sure to take some time for myself. There are still some nightly chores to be done: making the lunches, getting the coffee-pot ready for the next morning, etc., but I can usually fit that in during a TV show or between chapters of a book or reading blogs. If I stick on my iPod during chores, it helps.

I sneak me-time in by bathing instead of showering. It doesn't take much longer - usually 15-20 minutes - but I also read during that time, or just lay there peacefully and daydream.

I'm appropriately selfish about my me-time. I won't answer the phone if I don't want to, or check my blackberry. For nearly 2 hours a day every day, I indulge my obsessions and go to bed happy.

Sometimes, I need longer. Sometimes I need a day or so of me-time. I'll usually ask my parents to take the kids for some time to myself. I'll skip a family birthday party or schedule a date night with a friend when I'm feeling particularly angsty (is TOO a word!). And yes, sometimes I will put more on my credit card than I should in order to enjoy myself. I consider it quality of life spending.

Me-time isn't always spent thinking just about myself, though. Sometimes, while watching some TV show or reading some blog, I'll come across a solution to a problem with the girls. I'll find someone else that voices a similar concern to one I'm having, and just that validation can buoy me. Not to mention, the time to feel like I'm just me makes me a better mother, a better colleague, a better friend.

Mothers, it seems, are lauded most when they're martyrs. I'm not sure if that's really a quality we should most embrace. It was, after all, our decision to have children. It is our responsibility to provide for our children, and many times that includes work outside the home. I don't necessarily want to be patted on the back for the sacrifices I make when that's indeed what I signed up for. The image that martyrdom conjures is that of someone who doesn't stand up for themselves.

As mothers, I consider it part of our jobs to role model self-love, self-respect, and self-confidence. We need to recognize our own needs and desires so that our children can recognize their own and be self-sufficient, well-rounded adults who realize that they are better friends, better colleagues, and better people when they actually like themselves. I'm not talking about narcissism or slothfulness here, but a healthy (dare I say balanced) dose of me-time, taken daily, can provide the best medicine for the soul.

Read other yahoo motherboards posts on me-time:
The Go-To Mom
SoCal Mom
Jennifer Wagner
Workout Mommy
Thien-Kim aka Kim
Jessica of It's my life
Tippy Toes and Tantrums
Hormone-Colored Days


Kim Moldofsky said...

Lots of good food for thought, and so much easier said than done! Good for you for blocking out those two hours.

Anonymous said...

You are so right about motherhood and martyrdom, and I love the way you say - just as a matter of fact - that you NEED the ME time and that sometimes you take more.

I need to stop feeling guilty when I do that, too.

Samantha said...

I recently joined a gym with babysitting. I had so many excuses for not working out, primarily the double cost of paying to work out and paying the sitter to watch my son. I joined a gym with lots of classes, and try something new every week.

I felt so guilty the first time I went. I had barely picked him up from daycare and now I was going to leave him at the gym babysitting? But you know what I felt so good after working out, and he had more fun than he probably would have with me. We were both better, healthier, happy family members able to enjoy each other afterwards!

jenn said...

At this point in my life, "me time" is doing homework. But I could really use some none school related me time. It's just hard to find the time.

Good for you for making time.