One of the hardest things for me to do is to ask for something for myself because after I ask, I feel selfish. In the era I grew up, women were taught to be “quiet about” the things that they could do better than a man. We were put in our places, told that we had a place along side a man, but certainly never in front of one. Biblically we were taught that a woman’s place is in supporting her husband. The community of men aspired to get that message out to every single woman. So, when it came time for me to want a little alone time (something every human on the planet SHOULD have) I felt selfish.
Today, I sit here knowing that after 3 harsh months of school, activities, behavior modification for the kids, husband schedules, date nights, friends, family, and my adult children I feel horrible that this is the first day I got to sleep in. What’s going through my mind? The numerous things I SHOULD be doing not the numerous things I COULD be doing. Instead of taking the day off for me, or carving out some much needed writing time, in my head is a laundry list of items that still need checked off. “Ortho appointment for the eldest.” Check. “Dry cleaning for my husband.” Check. “Pick up kids at three separate times.” Check. “Plan dinner so husband isn’t mad.” Check. “Take dog for grooming.” Check… and the list goes on and on. So much so that I honestly do not have two consecutive hours of my own. There’s no time between travel and duty.
Nights offer no downtime because the kids are old enough to go to be at 10 o’ clock. So after dinner, homework, activities and being available to “look at” my husband as I listen while he talks, there is no room to escape for some me time. Life becomes all about pleasing someone else, and the more you do, the more they have no concept of the lengths that you go to make them feel included, happy, fulfilled; until you’re brain is completely fried and you’re an empty shell. It’s a mother’s life and we have all felt those moments from time to time. Serving other’s is a powerful gift, but when is it time to serve yourself?
My advice, is to do it. It’s that simple. Put off the chores and take a day off. Go do whatever it is that fills your cup. Whatever brings you a blissful moment. If you have to ask in advance, stop beating yourself up. Your husband clocks out. Your kids some home. Your friends can wait. You never clock out. You keep going like that annoying pink Energizer rabbit. It’s time to replenish the batteries and NOT feel guilty for it.
Psychology today says, “Being alone allows you to drop your “social guard”, thus giving you the freedom to be introspective, to think for yourself. You may be able to make better choices and decisions about who you are and what you want without outside influence. Often, we are swayed by the thoughts, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and behavior of those in our immediate sphere. Of course, you may ask others for their advice and opinions but ultimately, consulting yourself and making up your own mind about what you want to do will lead you into the life that’s best for you.”
Don’t wait. Make today great. Make it about you. It’s normal and it’s so very necessary. For me? I am going to Louisiana to see my adult kids for one weekend. I’m leaving behind the people who need me the most so that I can gain a newer perspective about where I should lead them, about how much patience I should have and maybe gain some joy along my journey. Just a moment of peace. That’s all I ask. For me.