Song Lyric of the Day:
Baby you need time for yourself / I’ll give it to you / All the rest seems to logically follow
I’ve read parenting blogs for several years now, even before I became a mom. As such, I have read a lot of posts where parents (usually fellow moms) complain that they can’t find or get any me time. Which I think is total crap. As parents we spend a lot — hell, the majority — of our time with or on our kids to raise them right, spend quality time with them, help with their homework, make sure they are fed and clothed, that they get to bed on time. That’s a lot what being a parent is about, and something for which I, and lot of others, willingly signed up. That parenting takes time should be no surprise because we are raising small human beings. But we still need to find even five minutes a day to spend on ourselves. Our sanity requires it.
I work outside the home, and as Coraline has gotten older and more self-reliant, my typical day has changed quite a bit. I usually take my me time during the workday. I always have a book in my car, so come lunchtime, most days I hop in, drive to a restaurant, and enjoy a silent solo hour of reading while I eat. It’s wonderful me time. An added bonus is that the servers at my usual haunts know me, so I get great quiet service. On the days I either grab lunch with friends or simply can’t get away, I still make sure I take my book and find a quiet corner somewhere in our office building and take a short reading break. Failing that, I wait until Coraline is tucked in for the night then kick back with Buster and watch a little bit of TV after checking in/hanging out with the spouse.
I think parents also need to let go of unrealistic expectations for what qualifies as me/kid-free time. It doesn’t need to be a spa day or an overnight hotel stay away from the family. Hell, when Rich takes Coraline so I can go to the supermarket/Target/PetSmart by myself, it’s like a vacation. A vacation I make the most of because it’s time for and by myself. Even if it is technically running errands.
I’m lucky that Rich is (1) around and (2) a hands-on father. That makes it a bit easier to grab quality solo time on both our parts, because we can leave Coraline with the other parent, and we work at coordinating that so we can each get away now and then. Sometimes we even manage to get away together. Coraline is remarkably self-sufficient now, so we just leave a big bowl of water out and baggies of fruit snacks around the house for her while we’re out.*
I would love to know how — and even if — single parents and stay-at-home parents find/make me time for themselves. Because I really do think it’s important for our — and our kids’ — well-being that moms and dads get that little bit of time to decompress or just do whatever the hell they want for a little while. Even if it’s something as simple as not watching kids’ TV. Because surely I’m not the only parent who gets sick of watching certain kids’ shows or family movies on repeat, right? Right?!?
I can say with certainty that if I were a stay-at-home mom, I’d be running for the hills as soon as Rich got home from work. For at least five minutes, anyway.
*I am of course kidding. Don’t call CPS. She is watched by family members during those times. Who provide her with a big bowl of water and baggies of fruit snacks.