of bad television without judgment, cuddle with my anti-social dog (guess the apple didn’t fall far there), not work out, and overall be as lazy as I damn well pleased. It was just quality time me, myself and I. Did I really appreciate it? No, because I never thought of my life in any other way. Often times, I would get lonely, so then I would sleep more, or I would get bored so then I would eat more. So yes, I would say that it wasn’t always the best for me because the need for it, or the perceived need for it, would keep me unmotivated.
Then I had my first child and with a wave of the mommy wand my alone time disappeared. I didn’t really feel it right then though because when they are itty bitty there is a lot of sleeping so I felt at
times physically alone and that itch was scratched. It wasn’t like he was going to wake up and suddenly say to me, “really? More chips?!” Also, since he was the first grandchild our families were fighting for that kid, so again, I was able to attain some quality time, even if it was going to the grocery store. But my need, my ache, for me time wasn’t strong, wasn’t throbbing and didn’t feel that
sadness that something was really missing.
Then I decided to have another child. Like I stated before, when he was small and I was home for maternity leave I could drop off my preschooler and then it was just the usual change, feed, sleep
routine. I could watch “Scandal” reruns without thinking I was scaring this kid for life. He would easily sleep 45 minutes, enough time for a snack and to curb my reality tv addiction. Now he is a 1 year old near toddler getting into literally everything, and I am not kidding, his favorite pastime is picking
through the garbage can or finding miniscule specs on the carpet to eat. Between him and my 4 year who is very much into claiming his toys as territory over his brother and in general doing anything possible to gain attention at all times, its fair to say that relaxation and alone time aren’t just out the window, it is down the street at the corner convenience store smoking e-cigs. When I sit on
the floor with them they both just circle me round and round like a carousel alternating between claiming their space on my lap. When it’s meal time, I am literally back and forth between the two of them making sure they are eating. My 1 year old storing every bite in his cheeks and then trying to swallow everything at once while choking and my 4 year busily moving pieces around in an attempt to look like he has had a bite. I have one who eats everything in sight and one that is on the hunger strike plan. My head is usually in circles and then my husband wonders why I give him the evil eye while he is helping himself to his second serving (it’s not his fault though, they only will perform for
mommy, though this doesn’t make it any easier!) During bath time, it’s a mad dash to get them covered in soap suds and washed without someone slipping and nearing total bath time injury. When one is on the john pooping one is inevitably squirming his butt away from the cold diaper wipes. I can barely get one butt wiped before the other, mind you I haven’t peed for hours on end. To say its busy having two little ones is the understatement of the century.
When I do find myself child free for a spare few moments I am running to Wal-Mart to get toilet paper or off to the pharmacy to get my husband’s cholesterol medication. I’m off to have lunch with
friends or to get a work out class in. Very rarely does it dawn on me to slow down, take a breath and just be. I have to admit the longing for those alone moments has been pretty strong lately. I find myself missing it so much it’s 2 parts hurt and 1 part guilt. Hurt because I feel like I am missing out on being connected to myself in a spiritual and mentally clear state and guilt because I feel like I am a mom and I shouldn’t need so much for myself. The mantra in my head lately has been, “I need a break, I need a break,”but you can’t quite say to anyone, “hey can you watch my kids for an hour so I can just freaking be?” The assumption is it I have down time, I should always, always be with my
children. If I am not at work, I should be with my children and if I am not with my children I should be filling those time slots with the other areas of my life in serious neglect.
Surprisingly I had 2 open times slots recently that allowed for some brief and needed alone time. These slots just happened to occur because I was due somewhere and had a little extra time prior
and nothing to do. Once happened to be last Thursday. I was meeting some old co-workers for drinks (ok I get that this sounds like a break, but in truth to me a break is being alone) and they could not be there until 4 and I had gotten out of work at 3. I went to a coffee shop down the street and got a cup of tea and sat on the seat the closest to the street. Most people alone anywhere have a book or phone in their hands, appearing as though you are never really alone if a task is in front of your face. Instead I left it in my purse and watched the street traffic. Cars, people, it didn’t matter, I was just in heaven with the fact that I could just sit there and people watch. I guess to a degree I am starved of it. I had just such peace sitting there. No email needed to be sent, no text responded, no little hand pulling on my shirt, no mess to be cleaned up. Just a quiet little moment of clarity. When I realized this was all I needed in my life right now, I was basically in wonderment of how much things have changed for me and how much I have valued my own personal time now. How I don’t even need something electronic in my hand while being alone. It was just nice to have a peaceful mind.
Now I know what you are thinking. I am complaining and I should be blessed to have healthy, happy rug rats of my own. That so many people are struggling with having children and I should be lucky to
have what I have and I get it and I agree. Maybe I am complaining and maybe I am being selfish, but I am ok with that. This is what I need to function and I don’t think it’s doing anyone any justice by doing a comparison. What one mom might need could be starkly different from what I need. Being a mom has for certain taught me to really believe in the old cliché about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. Yes I do everything in my power to be the best mom I can be, but I have realized if I am not treating myself well, I just can’t be that mom that they need. That maybe it is about saying “listen, I freaking need a break.” A nurse from the hospital called me about a month after my second son was born to check how or if I was dealing with post pardem depression. I couldn’t really answer her, but she did give me a great piece of advice and it was “the best way to keep away the post pardem depression or blues is to carve out an hour every single day for yourself away from the kids.” That
could mean going for a walk, taking a drive to listen to music, calling a friend to vent, whatever it may be, it’s just time for you. I wish I could find that time every day, but even every week would definitely suffice. And in the end it’s a lesson learned, we need what we need when we need it, and its ok to not
have to apologize for that and it doesn’t make you a bad mom for wanting that. It makes you a good mom for actually realizing it.