For as long as we’ve been married, my husband has worked six days a week. Just recently, he started getting two Saturdays off per month–which is AMAZING. It has opened up a new world of fun day trips and quality family time.
It has also made it possible for me to have a little bit more time to myself–if I want it. For me, my favorite alone time is spent with coffee, my laptop and time to just type my thoughts out. For you it might be a good book or a long walk or a pedicure or, hey, how about some extra sleep?! What we find rejuvenating may differ from mom to mom, but I think we share a unified desire to simply not be needed for a little bit.
Just a break from the little hands that tug at us all day long, from those 100% self-absorbed people we live with known as “children.” A break from the demands they make from sun up to sun down and from the housework that we could literally always do more of.
Those little breaks help us to refocus and come back refreshed–back at the top of our Mom game. Filled up and ready to pour into our family again.
Getting these breaks during daytime hours is a gift. I’m usually dipping into my sleep bank to accomplish my secondary interests (like, sayyyyy, blogging). So if I have my me time and still get a full night’s rest–GOLD. Solid gold, my friends.
But here’s the thing. Saturdays are precious. You’ve probably heard that you get 938 Saturdays with each child before they turn 18? And not just Saturdays, specifically, but free family days–days when you just get to do things out of the ordinary, enjoy each other, and make memories. In a busy world with obligations pulling our schedules every which way, time spent together as a family is so very precious.
And that’s the tension for a mom. Do I spend every Saturday morning at a coffee shop by myself reassembling my sanity and doing things that make me feel [slightly] more accomplished? Or do we eat a big and delicious breakfast, leave the dishes for later and spend the whole day at the beach? Do I seal myself away so I can enjoy the quiet I crave or do we pack up the bikes and hit the trails three towns over?
There’s no wrong answer, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like there’s a right answer either. That’s why it’s a tenuous dilemma that I don’t think I’m alone in facing. It just depends on the day, I suppose. It depends on what kind of week it’s been or how emptied out we feel.
Even now, I’m having my first half Saturday to myself in well over a month and while I’m loving the quiet of the empty house, I know I’m missing out on moments with my family. Yes, it’s great for my boys to bond with Daddy and I love that they’re having special time. But in my experience with solo parenting, it’s never better without my husband. I would always rather have him there too, and I know that he feels the same way.
My best advice for my fellow moms facing the me time vs. family time dilemma is to be all in with whatever you have decided to do.
If you’re alone: embrace it. Truly, take the time to fill up your cup. What energizes you? What invigorates your soul? Do those things without regret, and you’ll be a better mom and wife once you’re all back together. Know that it’s not selfish to take some time to care for yourself. But don’t become selfish by feeling so entitled to your me time that you’re a monster to your family if you don’t get it. Use alone time wisely when it comes, and stay away from tasks or people or thoughts that drain you. Definitely don’t compare how much alone time your friend gets with how much you get (talking to myself here); it won’t be fruitful. Every family is different in what their schedules can afford, and that’s okay.
But when you’re with your family: oh sister, embrace them. Realize that you will not have this day again. Time goes by too fast for you to carry the guilt or weight of another unfinished task while you’re making memories with your family. Don’t let a job, hobby, or anything else distract your mind or heart from what is most important to you and them. Be all in with them. You cannot overstate the value of your loving, soul-nourishing presence in these formative years for your family.
So there’s the dilemma and there is my best answer to it. I would love to hear how you balance me time and family time!
Hey, thanks for stoppin’ by! Now shut the door behind you and come sit on my couch with me, would you please? Here are some posts I’d love to share with you: