Monday, September 13, 2010

Time for Me. Guilt Free.

After missing two weeks in a row due to being seriously behind at life, I am back with this week's Blog Cruise question.  

How do you find free time? Is it okay to take time for yourself? If so, how?

As the first and last question seems to be the same, I will begin in the middle. I'm sure this will be where the controversy lies, with some advocating being content with your home and family and some encouraging you that "Me Time" is vital.  I'm not quite sure why they need to be mutually exclusive and I do think it varies by personality and "seasons" in your life.  

There are some seasons where time for yourself is difficult to find and someone coming along and telling you that you better get some "Me Time" does nothing but make you resentful because it is IMPOSSIBLE.  I have been in that season and I had to learn to be content with alone time consisting of grocery shopping or longer than needed trips to the bathroom.  After the kids were in bed.  Before that, even the bathroom was not off limits.  Oh, life with's been awhile but I remember!

I am now in a season of life where it is much easier to take some time for myself.  And I do, without feeling guilty.  After thirty-nine years of living with myself, I have learned how I work.  Well, mostly.  At least I recognize that I am introvert. During a recent conversation with my very extroverted friend, she shared how she needs to be with other people in order to recharge.  I looked at her askance.  Really?  That's beyond my scope of understanding.  While I love to hang with friends and enjoy their company, and I love to sing and laugh and chat with my kids, this does not recharge me.  In fact, it drains that ole' battery of mine until I need some quiet time alone to "power up".  This time makes me a better mom, wife, friend, and all around person.  Selfish?  Perhaps it is, I admit that's probably my biggest weakness.  But at this point, it seems to work well for our family.

So how do you find time for yourself when your kids are home all day?  When my older kids were younger, we would put them to bed early and have "date night" with take-out food and a rented movie (sometimes "Me Time" needs to be "We Time", could be a whole 'nother post).  Sometimes I call a reading day and everyone can get lost in their own book for several hours (me time while surrounded by others).  Sometimes I just hide out in my room on a Sunday afternoon. My kids are older and I usually have someone of babysitting age at home, so I have the freedom to participate in a local writer's group, my homeschool monthly meeting, and a regular Friday night get-together with friends.  Again, this is the season of life I find myself in at the moment.

Whatever situation we find ourselves, we need to learn to be content.  But I don't believe we need to feel guilty for enjoying time both with and without our families- or allowing our children to do the same.  Perhaps it's because I have a large family, perhaps it's just my own personality bent, but I encourage each of my children to be strong, independent individuals who are just as strongly connected to each other as family members- yet complete on their own. We all need a little "Me Time" now and then.

And coffee.


Firefly Mom said...

I'm like you, in that I need down time in order to recharge. When Cody was younger, I typically took Saturday mornings "off" to go and do whatever I wanted. Sometimes I went out with friends, but more likely I chose to just have time for myself. I'd go to the movies, hit the used book store, go out to lunch, whatever I wanted. Now that he's old enough to stay home alone, I don't really have to plan it is much, so I can take the time when I need it (assuming our stupidly busy schedule allows! LOL)

And speaking of "we" time, I've always been an advocate of date nights for couples. At some point the kids will be gone, and if the only thing you and your spouse have had in common for the last 18+ years is the kids, you're kinda screwed. ;) Besides, I think that it's good for the kids to be able to see their parents as a couple in a healthy relationship with each other, and not just parental figureheads.

alecat said...

I'd like to comment from the perspective of one from a large family (9 chn). My parents very rarely took 'me time', but it wasn't uncommon for Mum to wait until we were all done using the bathroom (only 1) and she'd lock herself in there for 1/2 hr.

Now, I'm a mum and homeschooling, and I find that it's those snippets of time alone that help me, and time where I can just sit and chat with my husband snuggled on the couch.

Jenn O'B said...

Ahhh... Me time. The best is having the house all to myself. I don't want to go anywhere (maybe that's because I'm out all day at work). But to have the house to myself is complete joy! I think it has something to do with control over my surroundings with no interruptions, but I'll analyze that more later. :)

Michelle said...

A really nice post of encouragement for moms who do too much. I feel the same way - guilty when I'm away from my kids. I always have to remind myself that I am taking time out so that I can be a better mom and wife to my family.

By the way, your blog is included in next week's Blog Walk.

Michelle from the TOS Crew


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