What is “Me Time” Anyway?

Last night . . .

Me:
Tomorrow, after I wake up, I am going to take a nap.  When I wake up from that, I am going to spend the day hiding in our bedroom, writing and napping.

McH:
That sounds like a plan.

This morning:

McH:
So, what’s the plan for the day?  What do we want to accomplish?

Me:
I’ve already woken up and then gone back to sleep.  I’m just getting something to eat before I go back to our bedroom to write and nap.

McH:
Oh.

He obviously didn’t take me seriously last night, but my plan for today really is to hide in my bedroom, in my bed, surrounded by fluffy “hotel” pillows I ordered from Woot a few weeks back, and write and nap.  I need a day “off.”  Actually?  I need to start taking days “off” on a regular basis.  He does, too, quite frankly, but that is his deal to figure out for now.

I just swapped laundry around and helped Midge with some homework.  There really is  never a day “off.”

Recently I saw an online article, 4 Easy Ways to Avoid Burnout:  Why Self Care is Anything But Selfish, and thought, “Eeek!  That starts with a number rather than the number word?!?  Okay, it is more a title than a headline, and you studied journalism over 20 years ago, so maybe the rules are different.  Breathe . . . .”  Then I thought, “I wonder if those ways to supposedly avoid burnout can help reverse it?” So I read the article.

I read the article and a few things jumped out at me.  The author asked,

What gives your life a sense of fun, accomplishment, relaxation, connectedness, color, expression, or adventure? What do you do that makes you more you?

Answer:  I have NO. IDEA.  I haven’t gotten to be me for so long that I have no idea who the heck I am, what would be fun for me, or if I even want to have fun.  I parent.  I homeschool.  I keep everyone alive and at leas semi-well-mannered , semi-well-behaved, and semi-dressed (I only shoot for semi-well-dressed if we’re going somewhere special).  I fight physically and emotionally to quell trauma induced rages in one of my sons (luckily we are now experiencing several months between these episodes).  I try to magnifying my church callings (and frequently get kicked in the teeth for it, metaphorically).  I cook (and then watch the various disgusted faces made by various members of my family, at least one of whom is waaaaayyyyy too old to still be behaving that way).  I clean, though not enough, so I beat myself up about that.  I grocery shop at flippin’ 6am in the morning.  I clean up puppy excrement and spend an inordinate amount of time protecting our furniture from puppy teeth.  I try to serve others.  I try to not do too much at once or stress too much about any of it, because that can trigger migraines.  I online shop just because it’s something I can do (Oh-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin’ down the street), then I have the occasional moods where I must purge the house of all the stuff, but I never manage to get enough stuff out, and there is always too much stuff.

I think just re-reading the above paragraph is going to trigger a migraine.  Not really, but I can literally feel my blood pressure rising.

Then I read this:

I know it’s hard. I’m in the middle of raising five kids, and there are weeks when I am “on” for 12 hours or more every single day. But find dreams that are workable within the boundaries of your life and enlist your loved ones in pursuing them.

I dream of getting a solid eight hours of sleep at night, but, short of hiring a night nanny for the geriatric dogs, that’s not happening.

Seriously, I laughed a slightly bitter, slightly maniacal laugh when I read that.  I would love to have mere weeks where I am “on” for 12 hours or more every single day.  I would also love to have loved ones who lived close by and/or cared enough to help me pursue my dreams.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!  If I still had any dreams, of course.  (Lie.  I have a bit of a dream).  I’m not trying to diminish the author’s experience, and I’m not trying to whine (though I’m doing a bang up job of it).  I’m just saying that I’ve been “on” for 20 years now, even if sometimes that “on” just looks like me surfing the internet while the kids do their school work, because the minute I get up to accomplish anything other than being the Eye in the Skye that keeps them on task, all hell will break loose.  In those 20 years, I’ve gone to two, maybe three, two-day homeschool conferences, one two-day conference on Common Core, and my parents took the kids for a night “just because” twice that I can recall.  Other than that?  “On.”

I love my kids.  I chose to homeschool, and I re-choose that every day.  I had to convince my husband that homeschooling was not going to make our kids terribly weird and awkward, and that it would be a good thing overall.  I wouldn’t change any of that for anything.  I don’t wish I had fewer kids (well, maybe sometimes, but then I wonder which ones I wish I didn’t have and, while there occasionally feels like an obvious choice or two, the reality is that I wouldn’t NOT have any of them for anything).  I don’t wish I’d been sending them to public school all these years.  I guess what I’m saying is that, when I read another mom felt like being “on” for 12 hours or more every day for weeks was a lot, it made me stop and think.  It was a bit of a lightbulb moment.  It made me realize that expecting myself, and having others expect me to be “on” every day for 20 years, migraine or not, is . . . more than a lot.

Midge just told me she heated up leftover pizza and butternut squash soup and asked how much I wanted.  God bless her.  I got out of bed and served myself.  I shouldn’t be eating pizza.  Oh well.

So today, while McH takes the boys and the puppy out to walk around Tractor Supply and Home Depot (because those stores welcome dogs, and it’s a good socialization exercise), while they are all out getting haircuts and using Christmas money to shop for Magic Cards, and even when they are back, I am taking a day “off” in my room.  I am going to write, because celebrating moms and sharing their wisdom is my dream right now, and I have a couple of those blog posts started, and I want to finish them.  And? I am going to nap if the mood hits me.  Just because.  Today, I am “off” (except for the laundry, which needs swapped again).

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