If you have a husband or partner who really nails it on holidays or birthdays, you may have even sampled some of this thing in the form of a yoga class or massage.
If you are independently wealthy, you may have experienced “free time” by being able to hire a babysitter to stay with your brood while you go do something “just for you.”
If you are like me, and are just trying nonstop to keep your shit together on a moment to moment basis, you likely do not get near enough of time for yourself.
Going grocery shopping sans kinder, or listening to music in the car on my commute to/from work, or emptying my bladder/bowels alone (yeah, right!), is about the closest I get to “me time” these days.
So, when I heard one co-worker complaining to another co-worker that I never made good on the casual (read: extremely casual) offer I made to go out to dinner two years ago, I got a little defensive.
I’m an introvert. There’s been a lot of stuff written about us innies in the past few years, and it has helped me to realize that “down time” is a crucial factor for my well-being. Working as a social worker is a job that requires a shit-ton of extroversion and it is redonkulously exhausting for me. Then I go home and have hugging/dinner/bathing/snuggling/stories/bedtime/all the various and sundry duties of a mama. It is my life, and I try not to complain about it because it is what I chose and I am incredibly blessed in it. But the reality of this amazing life I chose is that it is highly demanding, stressful, and just plain tiring.
Some days it is really hard for me to not look at people who are talking to me and just say to them, “Leave. Me. The. Fuck. Alone.”
I’d kind of like to start a Go Fund Me campaign, but instead of donating money, people could donate units of time for me to just spend as I please. Seriously, I think that is a great idea. It’s right up there with the napping café my husband would like to start for sleep deprived parents who would pay just about anything for a half hour snooze.
I realize that people without children do not like being told that they don’t understand what it is like to have kids. I don’t want to hurt or offend anyone’s feelings here, but my childless friends just don’t get it. It is just soooo hard to get anything done outside of work/children/house/marriage.
It really just isn’t that easy to make plans outside of my home right now. My kids are both still little, and require lots of time and attention. It is really hard to be away from them all week, but then the weekend comes and it is really hard for us to all be together all weekend.
Because I really just want to be left alone. Not forever. Just long enough to catch my breath, blog a bit, and do a few yoga poses.
People, like my disgruntled coworker, will ask why I can’t just leave my kids with the hubz and go out for dinner. Well, it isn’t really that easy. There is a delicate balance. My kids are at stages right now (three and seven) where they need lots of one on one, and they don’t naturally get along that great with one another because they are at such different places developmentally. So there is a lot of “divide and conquer” in our family. Neither my husband or myself really want to be left alone with the children, especially at delicate times of the day, like dinner or bedtime, which is when my footloose and fancy free pals usually want to hang.
I don’t mean to be bitchy, but it makes me feel all annoyed that people want to make additional demands on my already precious time. That’s another part of being an introvert for me; it makes me nutty when I feel I am not living up to what people want from me. I mean, I haven’t made time to go out with my best friend in the past two years. Mercifully, she also has two small ones and understands my plight without judgment.
So, if you happen to have a friend who is an overworked mama, cut her some slack, especially if she is an introvert. She likely is not avoiding your invitations and is just struggling to carve out a little time to keep her sanity.
In the mean time, if you happen to have some secret stash of “free time” that you would like to share with me, I will be accepting donations.