Life with Coco and Gigi... and Jack-Jack too!

Life as a Mom, A Homesteader, A Blogger and A Wife.

Time for Mom

I have obviously been doing a little soul searching lately. Trying to find the balance between Mom, wife, housekeeper, professor, chef, aunt, daughter and so many other things can become nothing short of overwhelming. Some days it feels like in the process of trying to do everything seamlessly you end up doing everything halfway. I tend to think the thing that never seems to make it to the short lists of "hats to wear" in a given day is SELF. When do we Moms even consider ourselves on that list? Ask any woman about the roles she fulfills in the day. I would venture a guess that not one of them would say ME.

So this has me thinking... shouldn't we as Moms as women take time for ourselves every day. More time than the rushed shower or quick trip to Target when the kids are with hubby. I am talking about something we want to do, for no reason other than we feel like it. Time to read or watch tv or talk on the phone.

Can we do this and get away with it? Can the perfect mom guilt complex be set aside for 15 minutes so I can read a chapter of the book I have been *meaning* to get to? I am going to spend some time trying to think about who I am and what I need to do to feel like me again. I am going to try.


Michelle 7:44 AM  

You hit the nail on the head for me when you wrote, "Can the perfect mom guilt complex be set aside for 15 minutes so I can read a chapter of the book..."

That's exactly my problem! I feel guilty when I try to do something for myself!! I feel like there's always something more important that should be getting done (laundry, dishes, art projects, etc.) and a little piece of me feels like people (Chris, mainly) will think I'm lazy if I make time for me during the day. It's awful and I know it's awful but I can't seem to change it.

Also, where do you draw the line? Don't we deserve more than 15 minutes a day? I go to book club once a month and that forces me to read 1 book a month and I'm very grateful for that. But I don't read until the kids are in bed and after I've done everything else that needs to get done. So, I read for a good 5 minutes before my eyes are closing. Often times I find myself skimming the book b/c of all the reasons I mentioned above (relating to mom guilt). Awful I tell you.

I'm pretty good about making time to exercise and I don't feel guilty when I do I guess that's progress? I kinda just want time to do those simple things that you mentioned - reading a book and talking on the phone (w/o distractions) without feeling guilty. Honestly, I've kinda resigned myself to the thought that I'll get that time again in the future but I also fear that I'm losing the ability to know how to do those simple things...

Kristen 11:23 AM  

Mich - That is exactly my fear. By the time the kids are growing and out of the house more will I have forgotten what it's like to be alone with just me. I am guessing I could figure it out but do I need to lose it in the first place...

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

This is a great conversation and a totally generational question. Even one generation ago women rarely asked themselves this question. My mom chuckles at me when I talk about "me time." She raised 3 kids (and a husband) and never considered time to herself as an option. Only when we were teens did she start doing things outside the home without us. The times are changing...and I love that!

Michelle 1:16 PM  

Anon - So true! I get the same reaction from my Mom and Grandmother.

I think it would be interesting to look at the population that's dependent on anti-depressents...or alcoholics...etc. I honestly believe there's a relation here. Not every woman who gives 100% of herself to her family and doesn't take time for herself is depressed but I think there are plenty out there vs. the women who stay involved with themselves. It would be an interesting study anyway...

Also, I think part of my obsession with this is that I've watched so many of the women from our mothers' generation loose sight of who they are and I've watched them stumble to try to figure out how to fill their time. It's a fear of mine to end up like that :-(

Kristen 1:57 PM  

That is such a good point. Our models were women who did it all and didn't complain about it. I think it might be where some of that guilt comes from. If my mother could do it then why can't I.

It is flawed logic but we live with what we know and have seen. I just hope I can break the cycle enough for my daughters.

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

Sometimes I think that it's not that they did it all, but that they didn't worry about what they weren't doing. There was alot less social pressure when we were kids for moms to be a certain way, give certain foods to their kids, enroll them in certain activities, etc. It never occurred to my mom to enroll us in dance class or to keep up regularly entertained or even have us wear bike helmets (no law, no helmet!). The special art projects and baking and stuff that my mom used to do with us made her "mother of year" in the eyes of her fellow moms but nowadays are considered "essential" elements to your child's growth. Like, if you haven't baked cookies or painted with your 2 year old then you're depriving them of some important experience.

Also, she used the TV as a babysitter alot and didn't at all feel bad about it, something I won't do because now we know that too much TV alters the way young brains are formed.

Either way, I work all the time to "let things go" and realize that the love I have for myself and with my daughter is the most powerful gift I can give her.

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

I hear where you are coming from, but I'm afraid I have a completely different idea.

While balance is of course a worthy thing to strive for, I do think these years, especially with young kids, are NOT about us. We have have time again, when our kids go to college. Yes, 15 to 20 years from now. I PROMISE when that day comes most moms will lament the passing of time. They will cry for these days, the ones we are living right now and often complaining about. Suddenly, we will be in our golden years, and many will not be happy with that.

Same with marriages.Ebb and flow, close and far apart. It's dynamic. The key is to enjoy the now.

Getting some time to shop t Target while a husband is home with kids? I know MANY people who don't even have that. Involved family and parents? Maybe a quarter of my friends can boast that.

My point is, balance IS indeed good. Taking time for yourself is good. Trying to de-stress is good. But you won't get much of that these days. You had that, until the day you decide to have kids. And once we get this gift of children, G-d's greatest blessing, the focus shifts to our kids. Yes, I know 99 percent of moms would disagree with me. Bt, like I said, these are the women who will complain now, and then complain when the nest is empty. The happiest moms I now are the ones who embrace the chaos and love and live int he moment.

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

BTW anon bec. I don't want to endure flames for my opinion by others. And forgive my spelling errors. I was typing fast.

And I know what I said sounds harsh. This IS our lives now, and this IS who were are. Different than our teen years, or our 20s, etc. Each year is different. Each years our kids' needs will change. And it's all good. But I truly believe that, yes, even 15 minutes a day to ourselves, sometimes, is difficult to arrange. But this is the life we chose.

Michelle 4:15 PM  

It's strange that I completely agree with both anonymous comments. And both comments made me feel better about the situation.

To the 2nd anonymous' point, I did choose this life and I very much so live in the moment. I do everything I can think of to remember these precious years with my children (journals, photos, blog, framed artwork, etc.). I thoroughly enjoy my time with my children (which is why I feel so guilty when I take time for myself). I know with every fiber of my being that I'm going to be terribly sad when these years are gone. However, there are many days when I feel completely lost and overwhelmed and those are the days that I *really* need to focus on "me time." To the first anonymous' point - I think setting a good example to your children and taking care of yourself in the midst of all this chaos is a powerful gift you can give your children.

Also, I don't think 2nd Anonymous was harsh at all and I think most Moms would agree with you! Thanks for taking the time to share.

Anonymous 5:05 PM  

I'm "first anon" and let me just say that all points on this subject are totally important and valid. I too agree that we own the life we choose and can choose the life we own. Two equally important sides of the same coin. Happiness, joy, and humor can be found everywhere, even in life's most unpleasant tasks, like cleaning puke off the floor. However, I personally believe in honing the ability to make one's self happy--for intrinsic purposes and also as a life lesson to teach your kids--even in the midst of child rearing. I also want to teach my daughter the value of earning a living and taking care of herself, as well as making a home and raising children. I want her to feel comfortable doing both of those things. I believe one of the key's to my family's success is that my husband and I both know that I could financially support our family if necessary. It empowers us both. Heck, some of the most successful families we know have a stay at home daddy.

Anyways, total tangents...but great discussions!!
~Anon C

Anonymous 7:14 PM  

Here's the thing, though, "me time" and "alone time" is important whether you are married, with no kids, or even single, as many single people tend to work and have busy social lives. Striving for balance and happiness is a life goal, not just a mother's goal.

Finding ourselves again, checking in on ourselves and seeing if we are happy, that is something we need to do all the time. I just think we all (myself included) tend to wrap that up into "motherhood", which leads to guilt, confusion and sometimes regret.

Perfect mom? There IS no such thing. No perfect wife. No prefect friend. Perfect nothing. Taking an hour or so (if you have the help or money for help) helps most women, and that time away from kids helps us be better moms. Just like a little spousal space makes us better spouses.

I'm rambling, I know. But I just feel passionate about this. So many of us will look back and KILL for another ordinary day with our little kids. It is very hard to remember to live in the moment. But we must.

Kristen 9:51 PM  

Wow.. all the anons had me confused. :D I think you ladies have brought up so many excellent points. I feel like this is the manifestation of the debate that exists inside my head.

I too chose this life for myself. I worked hard to get and stay pregnant and I always knew I would stay home with my kids. That being said I never knew that putting so much of my career on hold would have the effect it did.

I think that there has to be a balance. There has to be somewhere between spending an excess amount of time worrying about me *and* completely putting myself aside. I am not sure where the medium is but I am on the hunt.

Great discussion you guys! Definitely got my wheels turning.



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Over 8 years we have struggled through 3 IUI's, 6 rounds of IVF, several RE's, hundreds of appointments and the loss of three little angels. Now we find ourselves the proud parents of two perfect little girls and a wonderful little boy!!

Both of our girls struggle with some disabilities but that won't keep us down. Each day has it's own brand of insanity but we love it. Most days I am more monkey wrangler than mother but I do the best I can. Todays goal - getting to tomorrow.

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