Once upon a time I was a homemaker. While my life was busy, chaotic and full of things to do, I also had plenty of opportunities to refresh. My life and time was largely my own. I could always drop everything and ignore my family for a day while I dove into a good novel and then return to reality the next day. I could take my kids to the pool and lay on the side with my favorite magazine. I was doing it for the kids. They love the pool so much. I could meet a friend at the park for our kids to play, we would grab a Caribou on the way. Again, for the kids. It is so good for them to play with other kids. I never thought about how much time I had to nurture myself. I always felt like I was squeezing in time to myself. Sneaking away to Target alone after dinner. Doing my nails after the kids were in bed. My morning workouts. I never thought about how much time I had to spend on myself.
And then I went back to work.
Everything I did during the day when I was home now had to be done in the evenings and weekends. EVERYTHING. You have no idea how much you accomplish during the day until you don’t do it. I figured my house would be clean since nobody was home so that wouldn’t be too big a deal. Yet somehow that didn’t turn out to be true at all. Partly because my house didn’t end up being empty all day and partly because when we get home everything that would have happened and been dealt with throughout the day suddenly happens in one explostion as we walk through the door.
Forget evening manicures, that is when I am doing laundry, paying bills, grocery shopping, Target run, returning phone calls, cleaning, and frankly, passing out from exhaustion. Weekends are a mad catch up combined with all the activities that you used to do during the day that you now have to schedule for evenigns and weekends. Lessons for the kids, dentist appointments (my dentist has Saturday hours! I would have thought that was weird before I got a job. Now it is nothing short of miraculous.) Even spending time with family and friends, while you love doing it, can become yet another responsibility in your life.
I quickly realized how easy it is for a woman to put everyone and everything ahead of herself and in the midst of it all wake up one morning totally burned out and not knowing how it happened.
My nails, I think that is what kept my lack of “me” time in the front of my head. I kept wondering when I would do my nails. Before I worked I didn’t think I was particularly obsessed with doing my nails. I just did it, once a week. After I worked I kept waiting for that evening when I would just sit donw and grab my nail polish and do my nails. It didn’t seem like a big deal, didn’t take that much time. Yet, one day would fade into the next and still my nails were not done. My nails grow, and eventually I would just have to cut them down to get them out of the way and keep moving because I didn’t have time to manage them.
Eventually you realize that this new schedule is probably not going to just drop a bunch of “me” time in your lap but instead you are going to need to intentionally carve it out. And that is hard for us moms. Hard to purposely let the laundry go one more day, when it may already be piling up, let the family eat dinner without you or ask your kids to spend even more time with a sitter than they do already, so that you can do something just for you. But you can do it. And you should do it. And this is the section where we help you find that time and make the most of it.