We have all been told that it’s a good thing to make time for yourself. As a mom or parent, the majority of your time is spent taking care of kids, doing adult things, working, cleaning, shopping, keeping everyone alive and happy, keeping that fun, love and spark alive in a marriage and also balancing time for yourself.
I work from home and I “stay home” with the kids. Mind you, two are in school and the third goes to preschool four days a week. I do meal plans, help get kids to sports, make lunches, get them ready for school and all those other random things that need to be done when squeezed in with work. My husband works from home as well and does all of these things, too. But when I have a few free minutes I feel guilty. Like LOTS of guilt.
“I should be vacuuming”, “I should be cleaning”, “I have hundred loads of laundry to put away”, “I should be learning some more coding”, “I need to get my work done”, “I need to get dinner started”, “Crap, I forgot about my to-do list”, “shoot, the car needs service”, “OMG I need to get these library books back today”, “I should probably eat so I’m not so hangry”, “Ahh I signed up to volunteer today”, “I forgot to plan a birthday party”, “LEGO group isn’t scheduled yet”, and on and on and on and….
I think “I really wanted to finish this chapter of my book”, “I really wanted to get that blog post published”, “I meant to run on the treadmill this morning but decided to sleep in instead”, “I wanted to have tea with my best friend”, “I wanted to use that massage gift card”, “I would love to take a quick nap”…..and then the guilt comes.
I have all these things I should do for myself. Paint my nails. Take a bath. Take a shower. Finish a book. Go on a walk. Just stare out the window. But I feel like I might “get caught” sitting around or being lazy and then I need to justify what I did before that to make it OK for me to be sitting. Seriously. Who is going to catch me? My husband? He knows what I do during the day. I’m not a quiet person and he hears me stomping around all day. I’m also a chatty person so I am usually talking to him non-stop all day so he knows pretty much everything I am doing. He doesn’t need these updates. I just feel like “maybe he will wonder why I’m not doing XYZ right now.” Guess what?! HE’S NOT. And no one else is for that matter.
I have always been a guilt-filled person. I have sent texts late at night to friends to make sure I haven’t said anything overly offensive or hurt feelings. I have wondered if not talking to someone long enough at school or preschool made them think I wasn’t a nice person. I am clearly a people pleaser. But why is it that I don’t quite care enough to please myself. (That sounded a lot dirtier than I intended BTW.)
I can’t even call to order a pizza or call someone who has the sole job of talking to me when I call because I feel like I am inconveniencing them. I just don’t want to bother anyone.
This is an exhausting way to live, by the way. Holy cow am I spent by the time I tuck the kids into bed. I just want to go to sleep. Because my brain has been on overdrive all day. I’ve been worrying about how every little thing I do is perceived and I haven’t taken one minute to just breathe and say “it’s ok to take a minute to yourself.”
With full honesty here, I DO take time for myself. I tell my kid to read a book so I can scroll Facebook or Instagram. But honestly, scrolling doesn’t make me happy. I oddly feel more happy when I post something for other people to see. It isn’t really FOR them. It’s actually for me because I love to see the memories pop up each year. That is more of a high for me. I like to use it as a journaling outlet.
If I’m being honest here, I think the reason I feel so much guilt is because, although I have a part-time job, I don’t work full-time and don’t feel like I contribute enough. I feel like I am being wasteful with my time if I am not working or doing something useful with any extra time I have. Maybe this is a personal issue. Maybe this is a stay-at-home-mom issue. Whatever it is…I feel it.
So maybe I do find more time for myself than I think I do, but I just wanted to see if I was alone. Am I the only one who feels guilty when they take some time for themselves? Is this guilt just a mom-thing? Am I hallucinating and getting more me-time than I think I am and just being whiny? Who knows. Maybe I’ll find some balance in my 40s.