On prioritizing “me time”

This last week I got the (very rare) opportunity to head to a coffee shop all by myself in the middle of the day and take some time for myself. It was only about an hour, but it was glorious. I had my laptop and my books, a giant cookie and  a vanilla steamed milk- what more could I ask for?

 

A couple years ago, before we moved into our current house, I was walking with an ex-neighbor through our neighborhood- she had a little boy who was about a year older than Big Sister, who was at the time about a year old. This neighbor- someone who I absolutely valued the opinion of and looked up to as a more experienced mom- made a comment about how what she really needed in life was some time away from her son. I’ve always remembered that comment and I mull it over often.

At the time, I remember thinking that it made a bunch of sense, but that I really didn’t feel that way. I loved spending time with my daughter. She helped me to be braver and more adventurous than I was without her (I never would have made neighbor friends before having kids made it a necessity!). She gave me a sense of purpose- she was a really hard baby, and so every day was a battle that we fought together. I had quit a career I’d been working towards for years just so I could get pregnant with her, and lost a job I enjoyed after she was born, so I felt so invested in her.

But the longer I am a mother, the more I agree with this neighbor- I really need time of my own in order to feel whole. I think part of it is having two kids and therefore no naptime to recharge on my own, and the fact that the days are just more jam-packed with two kids. Big Sister is a kid now, learning things on her own and Little Sister has never been as difficult as Big Sister was as a baby, so I don’t have that intense struggle every day. It’s still a struggle, and in many ways it’s a much more difficult struggle, but somehow it’s a more isolating struggle, or a less rewarding struggle. No, I don’t get it either. Little Sister is wonderful and amazing and she laughs and makes the whole room light up, but we don’t have to fight for the good moods for her every moment of every day, like we did with Big Sister. She gives us the giggles and the smiles and the laughs as a gift.

Anyway, whatever the reason- I find that I need dedicated time during the day for myself, in a way that I have never needed it (or that I’ve always been able to get without trying too hard?) before.

I’m extremely fortunate to be able to stay home with my kids and I feel fortunate every single day. I just like to reflect on changing priorities and how I can best take care of my family by taking care of myself. How do you take care of yourself? How do you balance you time versus family time, and have those priorities shifted?