Monday, March 31, 2014

Me Time

a dear, lovely, thoughtful blogger and friend lisa hassan scott wrote a wonderful post about Me time.  i commented on it, as i rarely do (i'm more of a browser than a commenter on most of the blogs i frequent), and i've been pondering it ever since.

lisa wrote, in part:
"We all make choices about the way we live. . . There’s not a lot of room in my life for me time of the sort most people suggest or seem to think a mother is due. . . What I choose to do with my time has changed. I have to be choosy; I have to get the most bang for my buck. I prioritise those things that nourish me the most.
". . . I don’t get large swathes of time. I accept the small morsels that fall from the family table and I learn to savour them. . . I store away these little moments and allow them to nourish my heart. They are gifts that I receive every day.
". . . But I can’t wait around for an hour or two of free time to miraculously arrive. Because it won’t. Me time is reading a book before bed. It’s staring off into space and counting my breaths for a few minutes once the littlest one has finally fallen asleep beside me in the evening. It’s ten minutes of Yoga postures and ten minutes of meditation every day, in spite of the chaos and noise. It’s a few extra minutes of hot water pouring down my back in the shower once my ablutions are complete. It’s watching through the kitchen window as the birds peck at the feeder as I surreptitiously sneak chocolate into my mouth."
i reflected on this post, not just because i love lisa's writing and how she bravely and eloquently shares her experiences, but because i recently celebrated my birthday.  i was asked beforehand how i was intending on spending my special day.  i answered that my time was primarily focused on ander's activities for the day.  he'd been invited to a classmate's birthday party at chuck e. cheese and was filled with anticipation and apprehension for the morning event.  he also had his tae kwon do class in the afternoon.  anyone who knows us knows that each of these things could emotionally encompass our whole day, with the preparations and getting there and participating and coming back and decompressing.  so when was i getting the Me Time "of the sort most people suggest or seem to think a mother is due" as lisa said?

well, i got my Me Time the same way that lisa described , "I accept the small morsels. . . and I learn to savour them. . . I store away these little moments and allow them to nourish my heart.  They are gifts that I receive every day."

i got Me Time when i was at the party with ander.  that was not a chore or a parental duty - it was a privilege to me to share excitement and joy with my son.  the moments when i saw his happy face as he tried out new rides.  moments when he asked me to join him in experiencing a fast-paced video adventure.  moments with other parents who seemed just as pleased to interact with me as i did with them.  the moment i took a silly picture of myself.  the moment in the car on the ride home when ander said, "that was a fun party" and requested the very same location for his birthday in the summertime.  oh, that nourished me.

i got Me Time when i baked a giant chocolate chip cookie as my birthday sweet.  i love to bake and i love to eat and i love the oohs and ahhs as people dear to me enjoy a treat with me. that nourished me.

i got Me Time when i watched with unabashed pride and joy as ander worked hard and persisted and earned enthusiastic accolades from his teacher and classmates in his tae kwon do class.  i savoured every moment of his success and confidence in himself.

i got Me Time when i wrapped the scarf lovingly made by my daughter around my neck, her knitted hug to me.  that was a beautiful gift.

i got Me Time when steve said he would go and get anything i wanted to eat for dinner, even if no one else in my family was interested in that kind of food.  take-out thai for me!  and he took care of everyone else's food needs, too.  i really savoured that.

i got Me Time, too, when neighbor tanya joyfully played with the kids and steve treated me to dinner and took me to a pentatonix concert, complete with a stroll in the drizzle afterwards to catch glimpses of the washington monument and the white house.  small morsels with my best friend and partner that added up to a delightful rekindling of our mutual interests.

i got Me Time on my birthday.

my comment to lisa's post was this, in part:
"i wonder, sometimes, if the *helpful advice* on the necessity and acquisition of the sacred Me Time focuses (incorrectly) more prominently in terms of the *quantity* of time. . . i find people are very willing to offer ideas of how much and what i *should* be doing with my Me Time but are far less likely to want to know what *I* prefer and what works for me.
"sometimes my Me Time includes being in the same room as my husband or children while we separately engage in our own quiet activities. people have a hard time seeing this as Me Time because i am actually With Other People instead of Alone. but if my need for Me Time is fulfilled by being in the silent, comforting presence of those who love and accept me, then who is anyone to say that i’m doing it *wrong*?
"maybe if we abandon offering prescriptions for Me Time in a generalized sense, making the assumption that what works for one will work for all, we direct our attention to asking and listening to, “what do you feel you need? how can i help you get it?”
Me Time can be about being alone, but it doesn't have to be.  Me Time can be a specific length of time or at regular intervals, but it doesn't have to be.  Me Time doesn't have to fit everyone's description, it only has to fit each one's needs.

i love how lisa cherishes and protects her Me Time in the way that she does because it works for her.  she embraces what she has, rather than lamenting about missing what others think she should have.  maybe that's why part of my own Me Time is spent in interactions with her.  she nourishes me.

4 comments:

  1. I don't think you have to justify anything! My birthday fell on a Saturday this past year...I don't see how any parent can claim an entire weekend day to themselves. That's not how parenting *works*. I went to karate that day, but I also began a watercolor class, and I ran a 5K the next day. (And I am jealous of your neighbor-who-also-babysits!!)

    We all work out what works for us. This idea that there is some prescribed, perfect, WAY TO DO IT is just silly. :-)

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  2. Yes, yes and yes! Happy belated Birthday. xo Lisa

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  3. Aaahhh you went to a Pentatonix concert!! How was it?! Details, Woman, I need details! That is a fantastic b-day!

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  4. Dawn, you are so kind to link up to my post and to say such complimentary things. I liked your piece so much that I've shared it on my Facebook page.

    I coveted your massive cookie when I saw it on Twitter. Did you dip it in a massive cup of tea/coffee? :-)

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