"That Mama Me Time"
Oh, me time. Those foreign two words to every new mom. Me time, like actual alone time, with yourself? Who in their right mind has time for that? And if you do have time for that, then what aren't you doing? These are the questions I always had as a new mom. When I had my first son I was 22 and a full time student. My husband worked full time and went to school as well, so being overwhelmed became a normal state of life. The thought of ever taking time for myself, well, was never a thought. The thought of even putting myself together made me tired. It was time I could be studying, or folding laundry, or dare I say eating a meal sitting down. So, me time was non-existent. Until I had my second son a year later. I then hit a point where I no longer felt like myself. I felt like a shadow of my former self, just going through the motions of being a mom. Catering to their every need, making sure that they were bathed and clothed, who cares if I looked like I just crawled out from under a rock. I was a mom now.
And that is when I called bullshit. After I graduated college with now two kids pictured with my cap and gown, I had an epiphany for lack of a better word. There was no outer body experience here, it was just the first logical thought I had had in a long time. I thought, it is me that is making this "me time" seem so complicated. Why does it have to be some big production? I wasn't looking for a week at the spa, I was looking for some normal self maintenance. Things like getting my hair trimmed, maybe a pedicure so my husband didn't look at my feet like he was spooning Fred Flintstone. A shopping trip that involved trying things on because my post pregnancy hips don't lie. Normal things that I wouldn't have given a second thought to before I had kids. But it was me that was not communicating that to anyone. Any time my husband would offer to watch the kids so I could leave the house I had an excuse ready to go. But, but, but, the dishes and the pile of clothes in the dryer that I just keep re-fluffing as if to make myself feel like I am getting things done. I was my own time sucking worst enemy. So I stopped. I communicated the want, and need to take time for myself. To do the simply things. Grab a coffee with a girlfriend, which is turn presses that reset button before I walk back into the chaos. Get my hair done, peruse the aisles of Target without having to throw down my best WWE moves with two boys who dart straight for the toy section. All simple things, but things that every mom needs without having to feel guilty about doing something for herself. This took me years to figure out. And now, four kids in, and I still sometimes need a reminder that taking the time to get ready, do my makeup and wear what I want to wear regardless if it is the normal stay at home mom uniform, does not make me any less of a mom. If anything it makes me a better mom (better mom as in, maybe I had more patience with the tantrum negotiations that day).
Me time doesn't have to be complicated, and it looks differently for everyone. It is all about what makes you feel like you. That may be the glorious sweat session in the morning that you have to sacrifice sleep for. Or say forget the toy pick up after the kids go to bed, I am going to sit here with my glass of wine and watch mindless reality TV shows. It could be that time that you take to curl your hair, put on makeup that isn't just tinted moisturizer, and wear those new jeans that you tried on in a fitting room. Girls night, date night, book club. Whatever your me time looks like, it is your time because you chose to take it! Your toddler didn't graciously give it to you in the form of a nap. You know what I'm saying?
I know you do.