Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Something Just for Me

It’s a challenge to find time just for me these days.  I spend most of my waking hours taking care of other people.  Not that I am complaining.  I am exactly where I want to be in life--caring for my children and making a comfortable home for my family.  I am so thankful and so blessed.

But I have finally learned what a few wise people had been telling me for years since becoming a mom; I have to make time for myself.  Taking care of me is crucial.  If I don’t  and I become run-down and more susceptible to illness I will be unable to continue to take care of the people I love--the ones who count on me.  I have my blog to write about the daily challenges of managing my daughter’s diabetes and I have my occasional runs that I wish were more than just occasional.  But I’ve needed something else--something peaceful, meditative, spiritual--something...stretchy!  

So two evenings a week for the past six weeks I’ve been going to one hour yoga classes.  It’s been absolutely wonderful and has done so much for both my physical and mental wellbeing.  I’m noticing a difference in my tolerance level.  I can take life’s little stresses more in stride.  I don’t get freaked out about as much.  I can handle things with a calmer, more rational head. 
My girls initially had trouble with me leaving at their bedtime.  They didn’t like the idea of not having me there to tuck them in and read them their stories, but they quickly got used to it.  The next morning they often ask me what I learned in yoga and want me to show them some of the poses.  I suspect they sense, if only subconsciously, the increased inner peace I seem to have and perhaps find it easier to accept my absence for an hour, two evenings a week because of it.  They seem to know that it is something I am benefiting from and they respect that.

I’m blogging about this subject because I know as sure as I’m typing this that there are other moms out there that have fallen into the same rut.  Moms who spend the majority  of their time doing for others but neglect themselves.  You know who you are.  You’re probably sitting there reading this because you’ve stolen a few moments hoping the kids won’t find you.  But when they do (and they always do) you’ll cut short your pittance of time for yourself and go, because that’s just what we moms do.  By the end of the day you are spent.  There’s nothing left for you.  You sit staring at the TV until your eyelids won’t stay open any longer.  You then shuffle off to bed to catch a few hours of broken sleep (those 1am checks come early) hoping to log enough sleep to give you the energy to get up and do it all again tomorrow.  But too often you awaken unrefreshed and wishing you could have bagged a few more winks, hoping that maybe the next night will be different.

So, much like those wise people in my life did for me, I’m encouraging you to find something--something just for you.  It doesn’t have to be yoga.  It can be anything.  The point is to find something that you enjoy doing and make the time to do it.  And before you make the excuse that you don’t want to be selfish, I must present this argument: Setting aside time just for you to help recharge your batteries actually translates into taking care of your family. Because, as I mentioned before, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of our loved ones.

So escape for a spell.  Unwind.  Breath.  Stretch.  You deserve it.  You will be so glad you did.  And when you return to your loved ones refreshed, calmer and more centered they will be glad you did too. 

If you have already found your “something” I’d love to hear about it!  


Prudie said...

I struggle with taking time for myself. I have always naturally been a giver so when I had my daughter it became even harder.

My "me time" is during my one hour commute to work and the return. I do crosswords and this is the only time during my day that I can tune everything out. I look forward to it every day!

And yoga is awesome!! We tried family yoga but it just isn't the same with a 3 year old in tow.

Unknown said...

Good for you! And I bet you are right about them sensing a peace about you. Kids are fascinatingly receptive to that sort of thing aren't they?