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Taking care of Mom

February 19, 2010

I was able to go to a homeschool support group meeting Wednesday night where the topic of discussion was “How do we take care of ourselves?”  

I remember reading in a parenting magazine some years ago about a mother who, in desperate need of some alone time, talked about the day she sent her children to church with her husband so she could enjoy a couple hours all to herself.   A letter to the editor in a later issue slammed this mother saying something to the effect of, “If you’re so in need of “me time” then why on earth did you have children in the first place?”  

This seemed a little harsh to me.  While I’d never advocate skipping out on church to get some alone time, I completely understand the need for some personal time out.  Being a mother is exhausting work somedays!  Even when we choose it and we love it, it is draining.  If we’re not taking care of ourselves, we will have nothing left to give.  That’s not a pretty place to be when our families are depending on us.  I’ve been there and I don’t care to go back.

So last night, we went around the circle and shared ways that we take care of ourselves and things that we do that rejuvenate us or energize us maybe in a completely selfish way.  Some things that I do:

  • I have a personal reading list, including scriptures, and enforce quiet reading time when everyone can read.
  • I play the cello and am a member of a local symphony.
  • I do family history research.
  • I blog. 🙂
  • I knit, cross-stitch, and on occasion, sew.
  • Exercise is always good although I don’t do nearly enough.
  • If I really need a vacation from my life and have 11 or so hours to spare, I can totally lose myself in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  That one’s tricky though because the boys can’t watch it yet, but the soundtracks are almost as good (although the theme for Gondor gets stuck in my head and I can’t get it out.)
  • Jane Austen adaptations are always good too.

I feel like I have many hobbies and worthwhile things that I could spend my time doing, but I’m not always very good at actually taking some time for myself (at least when it’s not so late my sleep suffers which is counter-productive.)  It’s a difficult balancing act.  While I don’t want to neglect my family in favor of “me time”, I do need to renew myself enough so I can continue to be a good wife and mother.  Especially in this incredibly demanding season of life with a newborn who needs me for so much, I have to have something to give! 

DH did say that if I’m not going to orchestra, I should still take Tuesday nights* for myself.   He’s said that before though, and I rarely make it out the door and if I’m at home, I’m the Mom, and everybody needs me.  There’s just no escaping it.   I’m a homebody too and I have a hard time going out if there’s nowhere I actually have to be. 

So…What do you do?  How do you take care of yourself?

*If you know me in real life, do you ever want to get together on a Tuesday night?  Apparently I’m free…

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2010 9:10 am

    I wish. Wednesday night is my free night. Free as in Tae and I have the whole night alone while Jon goes to class and meetings. We usually see him around 9:30. Funny that I consider being with Tae all night a free night. Not sure what that says about me and how I take care of myself.

  2. February 19, 2010 10:24 am

    I bathe. I find that when I shut the door of the bathroom and turn on the fan that I can’t hear anything from the outside world. Something about the super hot water and the calm is very relaxing. Sometimes I sneak up for a bath during our lunch break.

  3. Nicole permalink
    February 19, 2010 3:13 pm

    I stay up way later than I should to have alone time and either write my book or blog or play on Facebook or read or sew something. It’s hard for me to get away on week nights because Jeff is usually asleep fairly early because of his work schedule. But I think it would be fun to get together. I’ll have to play around with my schedule to see if we could do that. 🙂

  4. Stephanie permalink
    February 20, 2010 1:48 am

    I admire you for all your hobbies.

    Lately I am doing a half job on all my hobbies, it’s not easy to keep up when there are other priorities. If I am knitting, my mind starts thinking about the laundry to put away. And so it is for scrapbooking.
    The only hobby I never feel guilty about is genealogy.

    I am struggling with ‘me time’ and sleep as well(this pregnancy is keeping me awake a lot but feel tired, so I don’t get much accomplished even if I am awake).

    I’m trying to catch as much sleep as I can.

    And I am a homebody type too, if I have nowhere to go, I stay home, so I am glad when friends drag me out of the house to go out for lunch or offer some babysitting for my oldest one.

    If I lived closer to you I’d take up on the offer of Tusday nights.

    Although maybe the weekend would work best for me. 🙂

  5. February 20, 2010 4:00 pm

    I’ll admit that I’m struggling right now to make everything fit in my life. Blogging is practically a thing of the past for me these days. Reading? Let’s just say that it took me 9 weeks to get through my most recent light read. I really feel strongly that I should be exercising most days and know that I need to make time for that, but I often forgo it when something else demands my time. I do think we need to find a balance in which to do the things that fill us up along with mothering (which both fills us up and drains us:) I don’t think there is anything wrong with it, especially when we find things to do during our “me time” that are worthwhile and not just time wasters.

    I’ve been thinking about you and your little baby and your homeschool and feel terrible that I’ve been so distant from my virtual friends since I had my own little cherub. Hopefully it’s a passing phase:)

  6. February 22, 2010 9:31 am

    My husband has orchestra rehearsal on Monday nights. All last year he offered to take the kids with him so I could get a break. (This is a community group – all volunteers. This probably wouldn’t fly with a professional group.) I wouldn’t do it then, but this year I decided I would take him up on it. So, Monday nights are all mine during the school year. I don’t do anything productive during that time. I’ll typically watch a movie or something like that.

    I also have a group of friends I get together with once a month and scrapbook, but having the house to myself for a few hours is what really recharges me.

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