Thursday, May 9, 2013

So...Things I'm Learning Through Motherhood::07

07::The Balance of "Me Time"

When I was mother to one child, I still was able to do most of what I did before motherhood.
I continued coaching lacrosse.
I got together with friends whenever I wanted.
I went shopping whenever I needed or wanted.
I stayed up late, took naps, scrapbooked, went on long walks and runs, got my hair done - whatever I wanted.  I just toted First Daughter around with me and we did everything together.

I never felt overwhelmed and never needed or wanted a break.
I hated being a part from First Daughter and preferred to have her with me wherever I went and whatever I did.

When I became mother to two children, things changed.
Everything I thought I was good at as a mother was shaken.
My time was spread thin between multiple nap times, meals, nursing, double diaper changes, double baths, and what seems like quadruple the amount of laundry.
We had moved into a house which required more time and effort to manage and maintain.
Husband worked farther away and the nature of his work kept him away longer, sometimes for days at a time.

I felt overwhelmed most of the time and like I never could get a break.
I hated that I started resenting my children for needing me so much and resenting Husband for not helping enough.

I felt like I was doing everything, and for the most part I was.
I was the one getting up at night.  6 or 7 times a night was normal for about 7 months.
I was cooking all the meals, giving all the baths, doing all the laundry and chores, budgeting our finances, disciplining the children...and it felt like the list went on and on.
I felt unprepared and unhappy with the way my life was going.
My life seemed unrecognizable to me.
I went through some sort of an identity crisis and was really struggling to find my place as a mother.
I wanted to give everything to my family and my children, but didn't like feeling depleted and like there was nothing left.

And so I started trying to find myself again.
I started to fill my life with things that made me feel like me again.

I decided to start teaching violin.
I knew lacrosse would be challenging to fit in, so I turned to running and fell back in love with exercising and pushing my body.
I revisited my long-lost love for writing and poetry and took time to do that.
I found my creative outlet in meal planning/cooking, sewing, and crafting.
I developed meaningful friendships and took time to visit and go out with friends (having girlfriends was new to me then).

I had to get over the hurdle of feeling selfish taking time away from my responsibilities at home (sometimes I still struggle with this), but I did it and over time figured out how much I needed, how much was too much, and what things were worth making a priority.

I learned first hand how precious, important, and vital "me time" is.
It is important to keep my cup full enough to be able to give to my children and my family.
Taking time for me makes time better for them.
This isn't any earth shattering new concept, but it's something I definitely have learned to be true.
And I do believe that there is such thing as too much "me time."
Being off-balanced in either direction does not feel good.

My definition of "me time" and the amount that I need has changed since being a mother of two.
There was a shift in me - sometime before Third Daughter was born - when being "the mom" became my identity and I no longer searched and craved an identity other than that.  I found more joy and satisfaction filling my time being a mother than I did spending time doing other things. 

And as children three and four came, there seemed to be even more to do and less time to do it.

"Me time" is still as important as ever.
Balance is so necessary in maintaining sanity as a mother.
And sanity is crucial.

But with less discretionary time I have learned to be selective about how I fill my cup.
It is harder to find time for myself and often feels like my family is sacrificing in order for me to get what I need.  That being the case, I have learned how important it is to choose the right ways to spend my "me time" and how to appreciate any small pocket of time I can get.  It is important to find things that truly fill me up, inspire me, and get me excited about life again.  Those are the types of things that make me a better person and a better mother and help me feel like me.

Sometimes it's as simple as a car ride by myself listening to a meaningful song.
Sometimes it's reading back through old journal entries or blog posts that make me happy.
Sometimes it's a great conversation with a friend over the phone or in person.
Sometimes it's a long run or an hour lifting at the gym.
Sometimes it's an opportunity to play music with great musicians.
Sometimes it's making a yummy treat and sharing with a neighbor.
Sometimes it's a date night with Husband or a night out with the girls.
Sometimes it's a quiet night at home doing nothing.

Everybody has their own things that fill their cup.
It is important to find out what those things are and take opportunities to do them when presented.
It is important to find the right balance - not too self-sacrificing that I start resenting my family, and not too selfish that I lose focus on what really matters. 
And it is important to not compare my needs to someone else's needs.
How my needs compare does not define what kind of mother or woman I am.

I have learned that "me time" is precious and so very necessary.
I am learning what this balance is for me and the more I learn, the better life feels.

About two years ago I started writing about what I've been learning through motherhood.
Here are some of my thoughts::
01::Everybody Has Limits
02::I Am the Mother
03::Be Who You Want Them To Be
04::Sleep Works Wonders
05::Writing Helps
06::Take Your Own Advice

I'm no expert - here's my disclaimer may also like::
::So...Things I'm Learning Through Motherhood::04 sleep works wonders.
::So...Things I'm Learning Through Motherhood::02 i am the mother.
::So...Things I'm Learning Through Motherhood::05 writing helps.

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I can identify so much with this post! Thanks so much for sharing, I love it!