Saturday, May 9, 2009

Alone Time

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Have house presentable before MIL and SIL get into town (for those unfamiliar with computer shorthand, MIL = mother-in-law; SIL = sis-in-law)
Grievance: The cookies I baked last night got thrown on the floor this morning on accident.
Celebration: I get to see family today! Hooray!

I have to admit that I love watching make-over shows. I know most people love Extreme Makeover: Home Edition because you know you will cry at the end. We have some sort of sick fascination with rags-to-riches tales. We often wish we ourselves were in rags, just so we can have the chance to make it "to riches" like the stories we hear. My favourite makeover shows, however, are people makeover shows. You see these women (sometimes men) with neglected skin and hair, and an even more neglected wardrobe, and you yearn for them to be reinvented. I have learned many things on shows like that about fashion, clothing structure, fabrics, how to apply cosmetics, how to find hairstyles to fit your face, etc... One of the things that attracts me most to these shows is watching mothers who have "let themselves go" get reintroduced to style and have the opportunity to get pampered. Watching those mothers kinda makes me want to become one of them. They spend all of their efforts on others; raising their children, keeping their houses immaculate, volunteering, sometimes even holding down jobs. They are such stand-up people and amazing contributors to society. And as a reward, they get these fancy makeovers! They get clothes, haircuts, makeup, days at the spa, and life coaches telling them how to keep themselves sane by making sure they get time for themselves every day. Sounds like an awesome life, if you ask me.

At the point in these shows that someone reminds this mother that they need to make sure they take time for themselves, my hope for becoming like these women begins to subside. Not because I have no hope for alone time, but because taking alone time is something I do not need to be reminded to do. I take time multiple times a day to do things for myself because this is the only thing that keeps me from losing it. I sit down at my computer to write a blog almost every day (30 minutes), I make it to the Y most days and sit in the hot tub while Boy Love plays in the child care (60 minutes), I take a bath nightly and read (30 minutes), and, when I can, I sleep when the boys are sleeping (60 minutes/4 times a week). Each of these things are vital for me keeping my cool. I have a very short fuse, and I have no interest in making my boys miserable by getting mad for no reason. I am also a very moody person, and even the smallest issue can throw my emotional stability into a state of panic.

When I watch makeover shows and hear of women who never have alone time, it makes me a little nervous that I am taking too much of it. Then I say to myself that the moms on these shows are constantly getting reminded to take time for themselves, and that I am just following directions. But am I taking it a step too far? Is the amount of alone time I get translating into neglect of my children? I never do anything alone while my kids are awake/in need of anything. If they are playing, I am always watching them, within a few yards, and available at any sign of need. Even if they are sleeping I keep monitors on in the house so I can hear. I don't feel like I am anything other than very safe and available. I do feel, however, that maybe I can be too selfish with my time. How do I know? So many other mothers are give away all their time to their children and others...maybe I am not doing it right. Or, maybe I am doing it right. How do I know?

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