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.
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?