It’s Time For Me

I used to be, like most 20-somethings, fairly self-centered. I wanted to save the world and all, but I also wasn’t going to give up the things that made me feel good, like sleeping in, regular hair cuts, and buying any book that looked interesting, whether I had a huge waiting list in my personal library or not.

Something happened when motherhood washed over me. My wants fell to the very bottom of the list, with my daughter and the family as a whole always trumping anything I might want. Aaron would insist I take some time for myself, sending me off to the mall for some personal shopping. I’d come home with nothing for myself but two new outfits for Cordy.

And now, with two kids, I’m run down. I feel guilty when I do something for myself, and I’ve lost all sense of balance in my life. Trying to be a wife, stay-at-home mom, student, writer, and recent community activist leaves no room for any other parts of me. Like the part who really wants to work out more. And the part who wants to kick back and watch the first season of The Tudors. And that part of me who wants to go out with her friends and have a good meal and a drink, forgetting for an hour or two that we have bills, kids, laundry, and a house that needs cleaned.

Aaron has his outlet: comic books. Every week he makes a pilgrimage to The Laughing Ogre for his stack of comic books that are set aside for him. I’m certain he’s one of a handful of people who keep that store running. Many times I’ve resented those comic books, mostly because of the expense, when we have so many other important things to spend that money on. (Even though he can now deduct them on his taxes as legitimate research expenses.) But I can also see the need to have something for yourself, something that makes you happy and isn’t necessarily rational.

I’m going to find balance for myself, beginning with making time for my interests. Not just my TV time, but carving out time to knit, read, workout, etc. Every minute of my waking existence need not be devoted to doing something to help the family or make money. There are several activities that would simply bring me inner peace.

Taking a cue from Aaron, I’ve decided I’m worth some spending money, too. So now whatever he spends on comic books each week, I transfer an equal amount of money into a savings account. In just two months, I’ve built up a hefty sum. Soon I’ll have enough to buy a little toy for myself, and maybe begin a new photography hobby.

This will be my year of the Mom.

This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by BOCA.

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  1. You and me both dearie, just can’t seem to find the right balance but I definitely think that it’s something worth working on this year.

  2. This is something that I struggle with too – I don’t have balance and sometimes, ok, oftentimes, i lose my sense of self. I do work outside of the home as a lawyer in a public defender’s office – long hours and generally thankless. I give constantly there and then give constantly to my family when I’m at home. There’s just got to be something out there that can help me balance.

  3. Take it from me, the Queen of Slack and Self-Indulgence, you’ve earned it and you totally deserve it and if you don’t take the time, money, whatever for yourself, you aren’t going to get it. Being a martyr is bad for your mental health and self-esteem and oftentimes, nobody appreciates what you’re sacrificing anyway. It’s only in the past year or two that I’ve really rediscovered myself and I’m telling you, it’s the best thing in the world (next to kids, family, blah, blah, blah). Nice camera, girl!

  4. Good for you! I can tell from your posts that you put so much into your family and all your jobs including this blog — you absolutely deserve something for yourself as well. Thanks for setting a good example!

    And what a good idea with transferring the same amount of money as what he spends.

  5. AMEN woman. To all of it.

  6. Sweet camera!
    Go you for taking time for yourself! I’m good at taking time out of my day, I’m just really bad at spending it doing what I actually want to do… hope you succeed where I have failed dreadfully (and I don’t even have kids!).

  7. Momo Fali says:

    Good for you! It is so true that we always put ourselves last. I agree, it’s time to take our lives back!

  8. Not at all what I was picturing when you said you were going to buy a little toy for yourself. Yes; am perverted.

  9. The saving-up account is a great idea. We had designated “play money” for the first year of our marriage, while we were getting used to each other’s money styles. We stopped doing it because we were comfortable enough, but now that we have two kids and everything is focused on them . . . it might be a good idea again!

    Great camera.

  10. I say Good For You!

    I often check in on your blog and wonder how the heck you find time to do it all.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I fight that battle too. It’s hard to find a balance, isn’t it?
    I have to remind myself that it’ll make me a better Mom/Wife if I take some Me time now and again.
    Hasn’t helped the guilt yet!! :P

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