Sunday, April 24, 2011

  This is so true. I was trying to read this article while folding 2 loads of laundry. It's so nice and quiet for this moment in my life. The kids are all in bed (and so is my husband). It's been a good weekend. Actually a great one. But I am tired. I have been running on empty for a while now (a month at least!). My gas tank is so depleted. I am not eating right, exercising, sleeping enough, doing the things that I enjoy (not that I don't enjoy my children, but things that allow me to recoup and recover a little bit of "me" in the midst of it). I don't remember the last date Harold and I had. I usually have 3 places to be at one time. And let me tell you. That does not work. Physically.  So, as I was reading the article I had a few "aha" moments.
  • I'm not taking very good care of myself-physically or mentally.
  • I have not been very good at setting boundaries. Telling people "no". Even my own kids sometimes. *gasp*
  • Do I really know myself anymore?

Now, before I go on, let me stop for a minute. I get really frustrated when people make such a big deal about "me time" that it becomes almost an obsession and I begin to wonder when that person does anything that doesn't revolve around "me". There is a middle ground between complete selflessness (sometimes it takes the form of martyrdom) and living only for yourself. But, as this author points out...we must take time to take care of us so we can take care of "them". That only makes sense.

Am I taking care of myself? No. Not really. I need exercise. And I need sleep. If I would go to bed at a reasonable time (like an hour ago) I would be able to get up and exercise without it taking time from my real job. Do I take the time to put myself "together". Nope. During the weekdays most of the time I'm wearing something stretchy on bottom with a big (old-belonging to my husband) shirt. this is partly because I'm not sleeping or exercising-therefore the stretchy and big is to cover up the results of that. Make-up is a waste if you're not going anywhere, right? Well, not really. What is the purpose of make-up (if you use it)? Is it for others to see? Or for you to "feel"? For me, it just makes me feel better. So, why don't I put it on every day anymore? It would take, literally, 5 minutes out of my day to spruce up. And if I exercised in the morning (before the kids get up) I could take away that "excuse" for not getting ready. (I sometimes tell myself-isn't it fun to lie to yourself?-that if I don't get dressed I will work out later! Nine times out of ten it does NOT happen. Therefore, I'm just a schlump for no reason.) My goal? To go to bed earlier every night (starting tomorrow) and wake up by 7am (unless I have children keeping me up-then I HAVE to sleep in a bit) this week. 10:30. Lights out. That's my start.

Setting boundaries. We have to cut out some activities. Right now I have my children in 4-H, Wednesday night church, Drama, Baseball, Scouts, American Heritage Girls, Soccer, and pretty much anything they ask to be in. Are those all good things to be in? Absolutely. But, each family I know would tell you that the activity they are in is "good" (karate, tae kwondo, dance, gymnastics, music, speech and debate, Bible quizzing...and on and on). And I don't dispute that. But, we can't be in every good thing. Ever heard that you can have "too much of a good thing"? So, just sitting here right now I can think of a few of those that will be cut out. The things we are in need to be really important to us. Not important to our friends. Not "one day it might lead to a scholarship-maybe"...IMPORTANT TO US as a family. Oh, and no more animals in my home. 'Nuff said.

Do I really know who Cara is? Not "Lindsay's mommy" or "Haley's mommy". But Cara. I have honestly caught myself, years ago, on a rare occasion to be out without the kids (when I just had the two oldest) telling a cashier at Wal-Mart something just to throw in that I had kids. It wasn't something that I really needed to say or that she needed to know. But I almost felt like "mommy" was my entire identity...and since she might not know I was a mommy she might think I was nobody. How sad is that? It's great to be a mommy-and believe me, I wanted it worse than anything on earth. But you have to remember who you are as a person. As a woman too. Otherwise-even if it doesn't have any ill-effects right now-you will flounder when the kids are grown and gone. Sure, they'll always need you. But when you are not on duty 24/7...who are you? Who am I?

This article will be staying in my open tabs for a while as I  read over parts of it again and reflect on it. I have some serious soul searching to do. I need to quit making excuses and feeling guilty about me time. But I do need to prioritize and decide what is important enough to spend on "me time". Do I really need to check facebook 20 times a day? No. Once would be enough. Just like money...maybe even moreso!...time should be budgeted and spent according to our priorities. :)

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