Monday, August 17, 2009

Time to myself

As a working mom, I've struggled to find time to myself. I've often explained motherhood as my second full time job.

After my twins were born, everything began to have an increased priority in my life. That priority usually had four things on it: the twins, my husband, my job and me.

If something didn't fall on that list, it probably didn't get done. And often, my own health and well-being would come after some of those other priorities.

As the kids grew older and more independent, it's been easier to expand that list of priorities. To be other focused. My husband and I made it a priority (from the start) to do things like go out together (without the kids), even if it meant using a babysitter. (As an aside, I've been shocked how controversial this can be, so many people I know refuse to leave their children with someone not related to them. So far, we've been fortunate).

And we also have joined a gym, where there is a place for kids while we work out. It's not ideal, but it's helped me keep my sanity. I've finally found places (like my book club) and been able to focus more on friendships.

One of the great things that's been happening recently is that my husband has taken the kids down to visit his grandfather once a week. That means, when I get home from work, I don't have to do much of anything. It's true, most of the time I still do responsible stuff like yard work and laundry. Or working out. But I don't have to worry about whether or not someone eats their veggies. Or that someone has their shoes before we go to the gym.

I love my kids and I love spending time with them. But spending time (even a small amount of time) on things that I enjoy - spending time without them has been very helpful. I realize how much more I appreciate them.

Absence does make the heart grow fonder, in this instance. I love being a mom, but I love being so many things other than just a mom. I feel so fortunate to be able to have time to myself and time to breathe.

To be even more sappy/idealistic, if I had one wish for every parent, it would be this. That each parent would be able to have time to themselves to explore their own interests, in addition to being a responsible parent. Although I think that was partially the point of Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own"...


carrie said...

here, here! after a summer of mostly being a full-time mom, i spent long days at work on monday and tuesday. though this meant i only had a few hours with E before her bedtime, there was something lovely and refreshing about being so excited to come home to her. i think it's hard to maintain that emotional excitement/giddiness when you're spending most of the hours of your day with your kid/s. also, this summer i had a hard time getting work done during E's naps (my few solitary hours during the day) because i really wanted to knit or read novels or prep dinner instead. it was hard to not feel guilty about this, but i knew that i'd quickly become a resentful and cranky person if i didn't take some time to do these things before those nighttime hours when i'm often too tired to read more than a few pages or knit more than a few rows... long story short, i totally agree!

Unknown said...

Well written. I know that I am a better mum when I go to work. I also know that I know that I need to make time to be the me that isn't 'just a mum'. I need to make time to be a wife, a friend and someone who is sane. It is much harder than it sounds but I am sure it is worth it, if only I could find more hours in the day.

Aerin said...

Thanks Carrie. And I've found it's much easier to have time to oneself as kids get older. It makes sense, they become more independent and are not so likely to get into something completely dangerous (as a 18 month old - 3 year old can be).

relish - the hours in the day part is the hard part. I hear you.