Ever Hear of This Thing Called “Free Time” ?

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IMG_8015If you are a mom of any kind–  working, stay at home, etc.–  you have probably heard of this thing they call “free time.”

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.

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8 responses »

  1. From one extreme introvert to another: You have every bit of my sympathy. It never ocurred to me when ours were little that my interversion was what made me so cranky by the end of a long day of being climbed on, cuddled, and slimed all day. I wish I’d had that insight at the time – I might have been a little easier on myself.

    As for “friends” being pissed cuz you won’t go out with them, I’ve been there too. A night out – no matter how much I like somebody – just about kills me. Nobody who’s not an introvert gets that.
    -Amy

    • It is nice that introverts are starting to get some recognition. I always knew I was shy, but I never really understood what it meant to be introverted until within the last few years. Thanks for resonating with my post. It always means so much! xo

  2. THANK you for this post! It IS our life. And no, childless peoples and even many parents, so not ‘get’ our reality!! Add in one, very likely two, children with Autism with a much higher need for emotional and other forms of support. My husband and I would simply NOT leave the other to fend for themselves (unless absolutely necessary for medical needs etc) because of his hard it is. Social life? NOPE. We’d prefer in-time alone, to SLEEP in order to cope for the rest of the week, and most importantly- relish and nourish the brilliance and beauty that is our beloved children. I love you. That is all. 😀 💗😘

    • Yeah, people don’t get why my hubs and I don’t just take off and leave the other with both children. My kids are amazing, and I love them to death, but being stuck alone with them both is a freaking nightmare! And also yeah, SLEEP!!! Omg yes, sleep. I love you too! PS., when were your kids diagnosed with ASD? I don’t remember you telling me about that… xoxoxo

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