About Sarah: There are two things I wanted to be when I grew up: a mom and a writer.
Mom - got that covered (Corbin-6, Adelyn-4, Harlan-2 and Degnan-6wks)
Writer - on the write (pun intended) path (I'm an aspiring Picture Book writer!)
I run to keep my sanity, write to feel like more then "just" mom, and
mother (yes it is a verb) because I can't imagine anything better.
In one of my earliest MOPS meetings over on the Eastern Shore, a mom mentioned that when her kids nap, she only does things for her. Selfish? Perhaps. Greedy? Maybe. Necessary? Most definitely.
Of course I tried it. And like most things, I wasn't very good at it at first. I worried about the dishes in the sink, and the dinner prep I could be doing, and the dusting that needed done, and the laundry that needed folder and, and, and, and… Slowly, as I kept practicing this Me-Time, I found myself more relaxed and patient for the rest for the day. Recharged.
When I started running, I read Train Like a Mother: How to Get Across Any Finish Line -and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea(SBS) a few days ago. (I love it because the chapters are short enough to finish one before someone needs me and long enough that I feel like I really gained a bit of something.) I was into the second chapter and I read something that made me put down the book. I was immediately inspired and reaffirmed about my whole “Me-Time” goal. Warmth spread through me as I read Dimity's words and I was amazed how her declaration spoke so clearly to me. "I choose it for me."
I did it. For me. I made the choice to put me first. That seeming small action has produced such a hugely wonderful change in me and my life. Something so simple. A choice. Not an easy choice, it has taken more work then I thought I had time for. Not a one time choice, every day the same choice presents itself albeit a touch differently sometimes. But a good choice, a smart choice, a healthy choice? Yes. And you would be hard pressed to find a Me-Time practicing mom who speaks to the contrary.
If you are on the fence about Me-Time, Dimity says it better then I can:
"If it sounds like training[or any me-time] is self-centered and narcissistic, it completely is. But if you're like 95 percent of the mothers out there, you deserve-and are in definite need of-some me time. And in case it feels too greedy, consider this argument: If you are the linchpin of your family, you need to be healthy enough to fulfill your duties. You must take care of yourself, because, the sad truth is, nobody else is going to take care of you. Plus, if you're dragging and sad and bitter-which you might be if you're always last on your list-your emotional state will negatively affect your house and family."
For along time, I felt, and often told my husband, I was the bottom of the totem pole all the time. I was of the opinion that my needs and wants didn't mean much and I would find myself stuck in a downhill sprint of feeling down on me while tending to everyone else's needs.
For me, I found a love of running. Putting in some miles, sweat, pain, and, most valuably, time has made me feel healthier. Not only physically, because I can run MILES (yup, plural) now without intense effort, but mentally I am stronger. The relief of only focusing on me has increase my patience though out the day. Which as a mom, is vital and invaluable.
As moms it is easy to feel responsible for everyone and everything all the time. When a chip falls out of place and the tower comes crashing down we can feel completely responsible, regardless of if it is in anyway our fault or of our control. I know I do, often. The feeling that we should always be in control of the situation with our kids, our spouse, the state of the house, the dog, the weather (sometimes we can be a bit unreasonable, no?) can be overwhelming. Getting a good sweat on during some me-time helps me to let go of all of it, if just for a little while. A chance to allow myself to surrender to the idea that I am worth my time. And my time is valuable. But I am worth it. In my surrender, I have found a peace I didn't think possible and is still a struggle to find some days. It is coming easier though. And it's easiest to find after a long, uninterrupted morning run.
What is your favorite Me-Time choice?
Over the course of the next year we look forward to bringing you posts from members of our steering team, our mentor moms, MOPS Volunteer Staff and the MACC pastoral staff!