Now a days, it’s almost impossible to find time for myself. There are the demands of a job or career, family, commute, and the list goes on. Some people look at my life and wonder how I do it. I start my morning commute at 6 am to my job where I give my time and most days don’t have time for a lunch. My husband works evenings and does school during the morning so I have the demand of the children right after work until bed time. My daughter is a competitive cheerleader so I also manage any activities she has going on around that (we do attend competitions as a family). Because of our alternate work hours during the week, we spend family time on Saturdays. I attend church on Sundays where at least once a month I volunteer in the Infant room.
As you can see, I have been having trouble finding time for myself. It has been bringing me down for a while. I love to read and I can only go through a few pages a day occasionally due to time constraints. I am lucky if I am able to go to the bathroom alone when I’m home so reading without rereading is clearly an impossible feat. There are 24 hours in a day and surprisingly only about nine are devoted to me having a “me” moment to just be me and that includes about 7.5 hours of sleep (which is routinely interrupted by my two year old who doesn’t love sleep as much as I do). Another hour is for me to prepare myself and the kids for the next day. The left over time is probably my lunch time at work and a few minutes of reading. I have no time to talk to family and friends and when I did have an opportunity to pick up the phone, I lose sight of my tasks at hand (usually time with the kids in the evening), which makes me lose some of the precious “me” time I did have.
I found that I was losing myself little by little as the days ticked by. I was out of the loop of what was going on with family and friends, I was getting more and more depressed because it was tough to drop the routine in fear that I would have to play catch up and feel even worse for taking time to myself. My husband criticized me for not taking time for myself while at the same time criticizing me for being too exhausted at the end of the day to stay up and spend time with him. My life was falling apart and every authority around me was telling me to “take time for yourself.”
It’s so easy for people on the outside to tell you what you should be doing but no one knows the struggle within. I tried taking time for myself and ended up with my children having their faces plastered to the television. I felt horrible! I don’t see them when they wake in the morning during the week so I have with them is the evening for a couple hours before bedtime. That did not work for me because if I am going to take time for myself, I want to enjoy it.
I took a lot of time to think about this and one day woke up! I have been trying to find time to exercise, read, catch up on my DVRed shows and spend more time with my husband. First, I started taking naps when my son napped. This helps me to gather energy for the second half of the day. Then, I stopped getting up when my son cried out and delegated that task to my husband (he’s yet to complain). I am now sleeping more soundly and sleeping in on the weekends, which leads to a more productive day. I am introducing reading hour in the house and in that time, I will read alongside my kids. I started using my elliptical during dinner time during the week. I just started this week so I am not sure how it will go on the weekends. So, I eat a quick meal and while the kids are eating, I work out for 30 minutes. We have also dance parties in the living room and burn some energy to prepare for bed time.
Slowly, I have been feeling more and more like myself and more energized. I don’t feel neglectful towards my kids and eventually I would like to incorporate time to myself outside the house.
Looking at what I do on a daily basis, there is no way for me to remain happy or even a shell of myself without a change. Life happens but we need to ensure that we keep what makes us who we are intact. Jump out of the routines and find your “me” time where it makes sense to you and your life.