Jill is a single mother living in Colorado with her three sons. She works full time, functions as CFO, maid, psychologist, chauffeur and coach, and specializes in maximizing her income through smart, careful budgeting and cost-saving strategies. Her humor and fixation on frugality play out at Single Mom on a Budget.
As the single mom of three boys “me time” is hard to come by. I mean, those boys are demanding. Emotionally. Financially. Physically. You name it, they want it.
I also work full-time. Sometimes going to work is a break from the commotion of home life because at least someone else is “in charge” and I have goals that cannot be put off. (Unless I want to be a single unemployed mom of three boys. And I really don’t. But then again, I would prefer not to have to go to work too. Never satisfied, am I?)
There are days where I believe that I have done more by the time I arrive at work than some do in a full day of work. And there are also the days where I have used up every ounce of energy just to get out of bed and face the day and yet 16 hours just lie in wait for my sunshine and light.
Every day, the bills are paid and all of my commitments are met. Okaaay, alright… most of my commitments are met. The important ones… like feeding the kids, making sure homework is done and sweeping the floor.
It is fair to say that “me time” doesn’t just fall in my lap so commitments that I make to myself, FOR myself, are pushed aside more often than not. There are nights where I lay in bed wide awake at 1am because my mind is putting together all of the pieces of what needs to take place over the next few days. Trying to figure out how I’m going to get the teenagers to different places at the same time and get my 7 year old picked up from after-school care. I can’t even find me time at bedtime.
Me time is important. When I’m exhausted and emotionally spent I am not a good mother. I am not a good person. My kitten doesn’t get her treats my plants don’t get watered. It really isn’t pretty. When I start to savor time stuck in traffic, I know it’s time.
I have to make time. Sometimes it is just a matter of curling up on the couch and reading a book or watching a movie. Sometimes it is treating myself to a pedicure. Sometimes it is a massage. Sometimes the best me time is a nap in the middle of the day! Sometimes it is making plans with friends (and actually following through).
One time I lost my identity so badly I went back to school. It was awesome and incredibly rewarding and I found myself again. When I was satisfied that I was accomplishing “something”; I quit. Not quit as in gave up, but quit as in put it aside. In hindsight I pushed me time to an extreme by going back to school, probably not something I’ll do again anytime soon (I hope). At the same time, if I hadn’t done it I probably would have ended up in a room with white walls, crayons and 3 square meals a day.
Raising kids is an accomplishment in and of itself, but it’s hard. It is largely a thankless journey. And it’s a helluva lot of work! With being a single mom and doing everything by myself it is terribly easy to get caught up in being “Mom”. I mean I hear it 52,728 times per day so how can I be anything else?
No matter what IT is – book, movie, Vegas or a pedicure – I have to make IT happen. After my back to school stint I recognize that balance is important. For my own sanity. My boys aren’t going to go off the deep-end if I leave for a few hours. And frankly, even though I am the coolest mom ever, I think they would rather that I have me time than not.
Truthfully, even though I have spent the last few minutes whining about how hard life is, I have it pretty good. I have a good career because I made IT happen. I have good kids because I work hard at being a good mom and that includes me time. Thus far, I have avoided crayons and white walls although the thought of someone else feeding me three times a day does have its appeal.
Make “me time” happen, no matter what it is. How do you get your “me time” in?