By: Mia L. Hazlett
As a parent, one of the things I struggle with is suppressing my guilt when it comes to “Me Time.” I know it is absolutely imperative for my survival within my family to get away from my daughters, but I still have a problem telling them no at times when they rather be with me. I spent about 15 months unemployed, which alloted me the time to do the “mommy thing” night and day. From morning to bedtime, I was all about them. It was the first time since they were both born that God afforded me the opportunity to be that mother I always wanted to be for them.
But now that I am working again my almost thirteen hour work day allows us only a couple of hours a day together. Instead of being able to wake them in the morning and make them breakfast, I steal a kiss while they both sleep to say good-bye. As I ride the train in the morning, I send my daughter an “I love you” text, so it’s the first thing she reads in the morning. By the time I get home, they are jumping and dancing in the doorway before I can shut the car off. For them I get it. They don’t have to get up until 7 and I’m out of the house by 6:30. I roll in the driveway at about 7 at night, so it is their first time seeing me all day. They know they have to get ready for bed in an hour. So Monday through Friday we jam an entire day into one hour.
As I mentioned in Difficult Conversations, I’ve also started dating. Yet another difficult endeavor, because it requires weekend time. So that schedule coincides with their visits with their father. Should their visit be cancelled for any reason, there goes my date. And I don’t say this as if I’m dating crazy, because I’m still overcoming that guilt of having a life that doesn’t revolve around my children. Adult time is a new thing for me. Trying to think of places to go that don’t require that “kid friendly” environment is foreign to me.
There are also random times during the month that me and my girlfriends can all get a sitter for our kids, so we can have a girl’s night. Sometimes it happens, but most of the times kids are in tow. But then that within itself sets limits, because then I’m bound to an appropriate curfew, so my kid’s schedule isn’t thrown off for the week.
It’s not just being able to date, but just that leave me alone time. For example, I’m drugged up on medication today because I’ve been battling a cold all week, but haven’t been able to take any work off. But kids still need breakfast and I need to eat too. My oldest tried to come at me with the bored thing, I looked at her and told her I’m sick and she needs to self-entertain. They are busy playing Barbies and I’m writing and drinking tea. I’m taking care of me today and they are getting nothing but food from me. Beyond that, they are still in their pajamas and there is no need to come out of them. I’m not doing anything today, but getting better. But then I must admit, I do feel guilty for not being able to go out and do anything with them today.
I don’t know how to get rid of the guilt, but I’m doing my best to take time for me.