Me time. I read a blog a while back stating that me time is not essential. It states we cannot separate ourselves from the rest of our lives (spouse and children). At the time I read it, it resonated with me. I even shared it on Facebook. I was a new mom and everything else was changing; I thought my desire for me time would change as well.
For the last several months, I’ve had very little me time. I would feel guilty for wanting me time. After all, Nick would be at work all day and needed some me time. I would use my me time to cook dinner. Or do the dishes. Mow the lawn. You get it. Me time was simply any time that Nick needed to care for Milo.
I quit taking baths. I quit reading. I quit making fun stuff like body scrubs and bath salts. I took care of my home and squeezed in my runs.
I became exhausted and unpleasant. I felt trapped. Not resentful. Nick didn’t force this situation on me. In fact, he was always encouraging me to take some space, enjoy a bath. But I couldn’t shake the guilt.
While this was going on, Milo was growing increasingly attached to me. Truth be told, I wanted him to want me. I worked hard making that child, the least he could do was love me most. Right? But the more attached he became, the more I would feel guilty at the thought of letting him go.
Fast forward to the present day. I’m getting into the deep part of my marathon training. Long runs are no longer just an hour or two. I’m out on the road for at least 3 hours. That’s 3 hours of Nick and Milo, toughing it out without me. This past long run, I got home to find Daddy and Milo doing just fine. When I came in, Milo made no attempts to flee Daddy and head for Mommy’s arms.
So I took advantage of the situation and took an ice bath. (Not the same as a relaxing bath, but it sure did feel good on my legs!) We had lunch together and, as Milo napped, Nick let me nap. He promised to care for Milo if he woke up early. It was amazing.
By the time the late afternoon rolled around, I felt like I had barely spent any time with Milo. I was worried that I had hijacked Nick’s entire day. Until we were sitting at dinner and Nick said the most amazing thing.
I feel closer to Milo now than I did at the beginning of the day.
He didn’t feel resentment towards me. His day hadn’t been ruined. He got to spend the day with his son, building their relationship.
So here’s what I’ve learned about me time. For one thing, I need it. It is essential to me, not just for its own sake, but because I’m highly introverted. I can’t be around people all of the time and continue to function. The same is true about my family; they don’t get to be exempt from my nature. I’m a better person when I get sometime alone and I’m a better wife and mom the same way.
Secondly, when I don’t take me time Nick doesn’t get quality time with his son. Sure, I want to be Milo’s favorite but I don’t want him to not want his Daddy. Father/son relationships are just as important as Mother/son relationships. But a smothering Mom can impede the fostering of the Father/son relationship.
I won’t be feeling guilty for me time any more. It’s not selfish, not when it’s used in moderation. The flip side is still protecting Nick’s me time. It’s difficult to balance it all, but we’re working on it.