In the season one finale of This Is Us, Rebecca screamed at Jack, “I am forty years old and I have no life!”
Have you ever had one of those moments? I’m guessing probably yes. It happens to all of us. At some point we wake up one morning and realize that we cannot even answer basic questions about ourselves. What do I like? What do I want to do?
Early stages of motherhood are pretty much all consuming. Finding me time can be a challenge. But parenting has different stages. Like now, when the kids are older, they can look after themselves, for the most part. I cannot think of a single, texting, game-playing teen who is incapable of operating a microwave oven. Or setting an alarm. Or washing their own soccer uniform.
I know this is hard to imagine, but you do not have to do everything. No, you don’t. No. Uh-uh.
Take it in small steps. Leave dinner in microwavable containers. Tape instructions to the washer, just in case they forgot. Close the door on their bedroom if the interior conditions bother you. One less thing to fuss about equals more time for you. Get out early for a run or walk. Car pool for soccer practice.
I’m not suggesting that you give up every minute with your kids, if you love watching soccer practice, enjoy it. Take that time to chat with your friends on the sidelines. Or listen to a book or music. Bring a thermos of tea and enjoy the time. That counts. We are multitaskers at heart, after all, right?
It takes time to regain yourself. And “yourself” may be someone different. Maybe spending six months in an ashram is no longer as important to you, as it was B.C. (Before Children). Find your new self. Create a vision board.
Spend time with yourself. Find out what YOU like. Spend a few afternoons in the library. Check out the different sections. Hangout and read for a couple of hours. Find a hobby or a class you want to take. Brush up on your Italian and plan a trip to Tuscany next summer.
Sit on a park bench and just stare out into the distance. Daydream. Let your thoughts go where they will. If they float off to your to do list, rein them in gently. Maybe try a guided meditation tape next time.
Get to know yourself and learn to enjoy your own company. Time with friends is important, but you are who you will spend most of your time with. Be nice to you. Take yourself out for a scenic drive. Grab a coffee and your favourite magazine and go sit in the garden.
It’s easy to lose yourself and finding yourself again can be hard. It will take time and you will meet with resistance. Perhaps from your own family, but more likely from yourself. Guilt is a might resistor. Find ways to overcome guilt when it rears itself. Know that being good to yourself will make you a better person. This is important. You may stumble or fall back a bit, but just pick up and move on.
Schedule me time and stick to it like glue. Protect that time. It’s precocious. It is precious, but it is essential, too.
What about you? What are you doing to find yourself? What do you do for me time? Tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear your story.