One of the biggest gripes among my Mama friends is that they never have enough “me time”. If you do not have children, or forget what’s it’s like to have small children, this may sound really selfish. Let me make this very clear, SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH, it is a mandatory!
Unfortunately, sometimes…OK, all of the time…kids can not comprehend why these rituals (or even basic needs like eating, sleeping and using the bathroom) are so important. If you are lucky (like me) you have a husband, partner, etc. that supports you on your mission for self preservation. Sadly, this does not matter. Even if said person is standing RIGHT there and you are clearly busy doing something, your children will insist on coming to you first. I know that my children will grow out of their needy phases, but I also know that they will have other needs, “Mom, I need a ride to practice.” or “Mom, I have a huge project due tomorrow that I had a month to work on, but chose to save it until the last right now.” That being said, I am attempting to instill this need for Mama self-care in my children now…as you will soon find out, I’m failing miserably!
I can count on one hand how many times I have taken a shower without interruption in the past six years. For some reason, my children insist on coming into the bathroom while I am showering. You may be asking yourself, “why doesn’t she just lock the door?” You see, if I lock the door, one of two things will occur. First, my child(ren) will beat on the door and try to scream whatever dire message that they are trying to convey through the locked door until I finally give in, turn off the shower, open the door, freeze to death and answer them. Or, they will actually, physically beat down the door. Never underestimate the strength of a small child. The solution, just wait until they are asleep (this is not foolproof) or out of the house. Oh, and don’t ever attempt to take a bath, EVER. Especially not with those fancy essential oil infused bath salts that you’ve been saving, because one (or more) of your children will insist on joining you…splash around, open and close the door and “accidentally” hit you in the head with bath toys until you throw in the towel and let them enjoy your damn bath salts!
While we’re on the subject of bathrooms, let’s discuss actually using the toilet. Again, if you are not around small children you may be thinking “why in the world would anyone want to be in the bathroom while someone is peeing or pooping?!” My answer, “who the hell knows!”, but they do. I will admit, my children are now three and six years old and they are getting a little bit better about giving me two seconds of privacy, but they still insist on standing outside of the door asking me questions or requesting I do something the second that I am done. For the record, in case you’re wondering…this phenomenon is exclusive to mothers. My husband has no problem taking a shower alone, behind a closed door OR using the bathroom in peace despite taking WAY longer than I could ever take in a lifetime!
Eating? Forget it. Let me give you a little back story. I have always hated wasting food. Prior to having children I used to tell myself that I would never make a plate for myself because I knew that my children would not clean their plates and I would do it for them. Boy, was I wrong! Not only do they lick their plates clean, they insist on grabbing whatever is on my plate…and they’re not even teenagers yet (yeah, I’m screwed). So, in order to enjoy this basic life need I must first make sure that their plates are abundantly full, they have all of their utensils, water, a washcloth (and probably a towel) for spills, and on and on and on. Then, I try to quickly shovel food into my mouth before they need a second helping. However, this issue CAN work to your advantage. If you make something for dinner that your offspring will inevitably complain about and refuse to eat, just don’t feed them! Give yourself a huge, heaping serving and watch them go to town on your plate!
Last, but not least…sleep! I can barely give you a definition of the word. My children do not let me sleep, ever. Despite giving them a beautifully furnished room with two large beds, they insist on coming into our bed in the middle of the night. Oh, sure you may think, “sweet little boy snuggles”. Yeah, right! More like boney knees and elbows digging into your ribs and slowly pushing you off the bed until you give in and go into another bed or end up on the floor. I literally slept in my freezing cold (the space heater was nowhere to be found) basement-level guest room TWICE last week because of all of the poking, prodding and snoring that was going on on the second floor.
So, you see, my friends. There is a reason young mothers everywhere are complaining about not having enough “me time”, because they don’t have any! That being said, if you know a young mother and have any time to spare, offer to watch her children while she takes a shower or eats a hot meal at a reasonable pace. You will be thanked endlessly and may even achieve saint status.
As for me, I’ll be at the spa (in my dreams) or I may just run away (but I’d miss them too much)!