Choose wisely, my friends, or that time you are counting towards yourself is not going to count for anything.
But before I tell you how I can’t even get time to myself right, I’m going to state something else: taking time for yourself IS selfish. It absolutely is. I mean, it’s in the description. Whether you call it that or not is your choice, but if you don’t consider it selfish you are doing yourself and other mothers a disservice. Because the thing is, it’s OK to be selfish.
PUT YOURSELF FIRST (every now and then)
Do you hear that moms? BE SELFISH. Do it now.
By taking a stand and making a choice to do something for yourself instead of for others, you are claiming time for yourself instead of giving it away. You are choosing time for yourself. You are being selfish. And YOU must do that — nobody is going to it for you (or there would be another name for it). We have to be OK with being “selfish” instead of trying to call it something else.
Here is why it’s OK: we don’t do it all the time. Now if ALL the decisions we made in our lives had us putting ourselves first, that’s not going to work. But if we tell our children and our spouses, “Yes, I am choosing me over you for the next two hours” we just have to remember to add “we will all be happier because of that choice.”
You see, I have an issue with mothers having to act like they aren’t important and by sidestepping the word selfish I feel like we aren’t owning our choice of time for ourselves. Our society already trivializes anything outside of childrearing and cooking and cleaning that we do. Let’s not buy into that.
WHAT TO DO WITH THAT TIME
This is the kicker: Do you know which activities recharge you? Not what is supposed to recharge you because it works for someone else, but what really works for you.
It’s not the same for everyone and this is where I was failing. For example, we always make sure I get to go to my neighborhood Bunco every month and I think everyone (in my house) thinks that counts for “me time”, but guess what? It does not recharge, relax, or renew me in any way, shape, or form. Sure it’s nice to see my friends that I don’t always get to see, but it drains me. It’s a lot of people and a lot of talking. I am depleted at the end of the night, not recharged.
What recharges me is the opposite of socializing: Having a couple hours to myself — really just myself — to read, write, or shop with no obligations whatsoever. I need that time inside my head. I am a textbook introvert so this is what works for me. (Yes, I can make myself be an extrovert, but that is post for another time.)
Writing about this issue made me examine the way I was spending my time away from my family, and with that I’ve come to see I need to be more deliberate in the way I choose my activities. There is not any extra time in our days — it is always a trade off. By identifying what does and doesn’t work for me, I hope to make the most of that time. (So forgive me if I don’t make it to Bunco next month.)
I’d like to know: what has your biggest challenge been in creating that special space for yourself in your life? Were you doing it wrong, like I was? Do you share my difficulty of giving yourself permission to be selfish?
Your input on this topic has been invaluable — the comments you’ve left here on my site and on my Facebook page have really kept the conversation going. Thank you! 😉