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.