I've been thinking a lot lately about "me time" and how its changed so much in the past three years. I won't lie and say that I am so self assured, so together and so selfless that I no longer require "me time." The truth is, I would give almost anything to have an hour a week- hell, an hour a month, where I wasn't on the clock. I love my children, and I wouldn't trade my reality for someone elses fantasy even if it were dished out on a silver platter with a sprig of parsley on the side. All I need is some time to reflect. To feel. To go inside my own head, or not. To shower uninterrupted, or even soak in bubbles maybe. To read a book and glean more than one sentence in between screams of someone jumping on someone elses head. To wash my face in the morning and get dressed before my day, as oppossed to a rinse and throwing on something on my way out the door, kids in tow and late as usual.
Perhaps my choices are to blame for my inability to "do it all." Maybe if I had been more mainstream in my parenting. My oldest child was not nearly as demanding or time consuming. She was formula fed and sleep "trained" at 8 months old. By one year she was in a toddler bed and going to sleep on her own. Sure she came out, and I put her right back. I did just what all the books say to do. I cut off my emotions to do the "right" thing for her. When it was all said and done, I walked away with blocks of time that were all for me, uninterrupted showers, bubbles, time to be with myself, and guilt that followed me for years. Would I trade my soul and instincts again, just for that sought after "me time?" No. I wouldn't. The price is just too high.
So how do I get through these years sanely, knowing my parenting choices are whats standing between me and "me time?" When most of your friends and family think you're off your rocker to begin with for even doing half the things you do. Breastfeeding for not only a month, but three years and counting! Tandem nursing her sister and not forcing either to wean. Slinging them instead of putting them down. Attempting my best at Gentle Discipline instead of a swat on the rear for everything. Co-sleeping and encouraging family togetherness instead of actvities with strangers 7 days a week. Add the prospect of Unschooling into the mix, and there you have it! From the outside world I look completly insane. How do I keep those voices at bay? Am I supposed to want "me time" or was that supposed to be tossed out the window as soon as I took the narrow path of attachment parenting? How can you voice your frusteration for being on call 24/7 to friends who made the choice before their children were even born that "Children will NOT keep me down!" You can't. There is just no way to voice it without your choices coming back to slap you in the face. For once I'd just like acknowledgment that what I'm doing is hard. Not sarcastic comments like, "Well thats what yooooou wanted, so you've got to deal with it now." I learned a long time ago that I couldn't vent my breastfeeding frusterations to anyone because they simply didn't understand. "Time to wean!" they'd tell me. Eventually I just shut my mouth. Unless I was willing to submit to mainstream ideas, and throw in the towel- they didn't want to hear me vent or complain. And whining certainly was off limits.
Let's not forget the extreem guilt there is involved with even wanting to have "me time." I self sabotoage any time I might have by doing something that doesn't qualify as for me. Oh! The baby is asleep and the little one is playing quietly! I could read a book, or get dressed, or maybe watch the sun set. Instead I aimlessly wander to the laundry pile and start sorting. Or sweep the floor again. Or maybe one of those things on the list of "have to do's," like fill out a baby book (or two) that have been forgotten as life went by. Return a phone call I dread, but know I should. Something. ANYTHING! As long as its not "me time." To be honest I'm not sure I know what to do with it. It can't be too involved in case the baby wakes up. It can't be too messy in case the little one become uninterested in what she's doing. It can't be too loud. It can't be so engaging that I'll be upset if I'm interrupted. It makes perfect sense why I head to the laundry pile.
I love being a mother, and I'm happy with my choices in life that lead me here. Sometimes though I'd like time to be me. To take off the hat of responsibility and relax. That hat gets awefully heavy at times.
(Ivy and Daddy at her 3rd birthday party, and Piper starting to crawl)