Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Me Time

Chocolate On My Cranium has started a great writing prompt called, Wordful Wednesday and this week the theme is Love for Self. Here is how I'm trying to better love myself.
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Nap time. Quiet time. ME TIME!!!

I live for "me time," that time of day when everyone is supposed to leave me alone and let me do something that I want to do. Me, selfish me. I don't always get this time, now that my kids are older and I'm juggling every one's schedules, but I still live for it.

About 3 years ago I had quiet time down pat. I had my kids perfectly trained, and for years had been getting a guaranteed 2-3 hours of quiet time every day. I would feed them lunch, clean them up, let them play while I cleaned the table and kitchen, and then off to bed I would send them to sleep or read to their heart's content. Then I would run to the TV, turn it on to my favorite program, which was whatever happened to be bearable to watch, and then I would run to the kitchen to make myself a yummy and rather large lunch. Grabbing my plate, a napkin, a tall glass of water, and usually the ketchup bottle, I would balance my way to the couch and there set up permanent residency until my precious 2-3 hours were over. Ahhhh, sweet Me Time, just letting my brain melt, stuffing my face, and not doing a darn thing.

You'd think with all this free time I would be happy, content, and energized everyday. But I wasn't. I still felt like there was never enough time to do things that I wanted to do. I still often felt trapped by motherhood. I still had a long list of things I would someday like to do but knew I never would. *sigh* If I couldn't get any of this done with my relatively long quiet time how was it that so many other mothers around me were accomplishing so much? Most mothers I talked to were envious of my long quiet/me time and wished they could get the same. But they were the ones going to the gym, playing musical instruments at concerts, starting in home businesses, and making lovely scrapbooks while my photos moldered in a box somewhere.

Then it hit me. It hit me smack dab in the gut. I had been calling quiet time "Me" time. But what was I using that time for? TV and food. Therefore I was defining "me," myself, with TV and food. Judge Judy, America's Test Kitchen, and old Matlock reruns with copious bowls of nachos and Yukon gold potato oven fries were what I was defining myself with. No wonder I never felt satisfied, no wonder I wasn't happy, no wonder that I constantly found myself lacking. But if I didn't want to define myself by TV and food, what would I define myself by? I was going to have to think about this for awhile.

I made a list of things I wanted to define me and these were at the top of my list: service, love, education, creative. Starting there I started using more and more of my "Me" time to redefine "me." I started writing letters to loved ones, making meals for people in need, reading classic literature, practicing my creative writing and art again. Suddenly I was feeling much more like me than "just a mom." It was wonderful. Emphasis on was. Sadly, in this past year I have fallen back into that pit of defining myself with TV and food. Why? Why would I do something that bears no fruit and makes me feel sluggish and fat? Because the devil on my shoulder likes to whisper in my ear, "You deserve it, you need some down time to just relax. You don't have time to do something creative. Cooking for someone else will just make a mess and they probably don't need it anyway. Besides, as soon as you start something the baby will wake up and ruin it. You deserve to just relax and do nothing for a second or two." But what the devil forgets to tell me is, "You will feel lazy and sluggish. You will be discontent and grumpy. You will gain weight, loose brain cells, and soon you will be mine!"

So, once again, I'm working on flicking that little devil off my shoulder. I'm trying to reclaim my right to choose what will define me. I'm trying to put the ME back in "me time." It's a lot more work, but I think I'm worth it. Don't you?

15 comments:

Momza said...

Me time= sanity= Happy Woman= Happy Family!

U go girl!

Aimee said...

That little devil is sooo hard to shake off sometimes. But I do feel so good when I actually accomplish something. I like your idea of cooking for others. I think that would always be a welcome surprise.

Maple said...

Well said. I too have to take a time out at times and make sure MY time is spent on things that nourish my soul. Also loved your Nutso post! Thanks for your comments at my spot.

Sherilyn -The Dominee Huisvrouw said...

And thank YOU for writing THIS post b/c I needed to hear IT! :) I always think it's not worth starting anything during naps b/c the kids will wake up & I'll be interrupted....

Esther said...

so true, that tv (or computer :P)is a tricky deal. It's amazing how relaxing and refreshing you can feel by simply giving of yourself willingly. You expressed that well.

Michal said...

you ARE worth it! it is so tempting to just while away "me time,"--i tend to do it on the computer. now granted, there are things to do/read/write on the internet that are uplifting and enriching, but that little devil likes me to waste time coveting by online window shopping and checking my email compulsively. i love the idea of using me time to serve someone else. it's counter intuitive, and yet i'm sure that it would bring a better sense of self and satisfaction.
yukon gold fries? i'm on my way over.

Beth said...

I also struggle with what will define me... food, or some of the other things you mentioned. Thanks for sharing your struggle!

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

I used the same excuse about not starting something because I worried that the kids would interrupt. Then I realized that if I never did anything it would never get done. 15 minutes here and there do add up and that makes a huge difference.

Thanks for participating today!

kjha said...

I think my little devil says the same things, although once in a while it is o.k. isn't it? (Oh, I hope so!)

The Lazy Organizer said...

This is excellent. I'm going to have to quote you in my seminars.

Richelle said...

Very good points. I never really thought about my "me time" actually defining who I really am. It makes sense.
I do have to have some "me time" everyday, usually to take a nap! But I really do have to take the time to sew or scrapbook or something I enjoy most days too to feel balanced.

Cynthia said...

Those are really good thoughts! Sometimes I slip into a mode of feeling overwhelmed with what I should do, so I just it and do nothing productive at all. I have to shake myself out of it, which isn't always easy!

An Ordinary Mom said...

Most excellent post ... now to permanently shake the little bugger off my shoulder ... although at times I still enjoy curling up with a good book and just relaxing while the house stays clean and quiet :) !!

And on a side note, I think when you have an infant in the home, life is much harder to handle. So don't be afraid to give yourself a little slack ... not to watch TV and eat ... but maybe to rest or take a nap here or there. You have to make sure your own cup is full before you can always give to others!

CC said...

You go! that is awesome to redefine yourself like that!!

Scribbit said...

I still remember that feeling I had when I brought child #2 home from teh hospital and it dawned on me that it was going to be next to impossible to get both of them sleeping at the same time. Losing that precious nap time was a horrible thought. I lived for it.