4 Things I Learned From Taking Some Me Time
Two facts about me:
1) I’m obsessed with my family.
2) I despise being alone.
Last week, Skyler gave me some much needed me time. I’m not talking about locking yourself in the pantry with snacks, or hiding in the bathroom while scrolling through Instagram. I’m talking “here’s the keys, I’ll hold down the fort, escape before someone blows out of their diaper” me time.
My whole life, I have always needed to be around people. Even if we’re not interacting, I like feeling the presence of others in the same room. But then I became a mom. I love my little children, they bring me so much joy. So when I read about other moms getting “touched out,” I never imagined that was something I would experience.
And then I become pregnant, and then I gave birth, and then I had a newborn that refused to be set down without screaming, and that newborn eventually turned into a toddler who’s favorite seat happened to be anywhere that landed directly on me. And then I become pregnant…again…with another newborn that refused to be set down.
On Monday, I could feel my temper rising. One or both kids would scream every time I needed to pee. One or both kids had a meltdown if I took too long getting them food. By Wednesday, I’d had my hair ripped out several times and told my husband I thought I needed some time without the kids. By Friday, I had been peed, pooped, and spit up on too many times. For everyone’s sake, Mommy needed a break.
Just call me a baby wrangler
And therein lies the first lesson I learned from my me time. I needed this. I have never more strongly felt the truth of the expression “you cannot pour from an empty cup.” I needed an emotional refill. I didn’t have any more patience or energy to deal with daily stresses. Minor mishaps felt like major mountains because I was spent.
The second lesson I learned was that I am my own person. I had seriously forgotten. There are things that I like, I have actual preferences. Babies are boss at our house. I’m not talking spoiling your kids rotten, I’m talking about helping those kids to learn about the world, form their own opinions, and manage their own preferences. So it can become hard to remember that you have them too.
This is a difficult lesson for me to even write about because I feel like I am still in the thick of learning it. I had goals, things I hoped to accomplish, before I had kids. And I am not going to lie, I had completely forgotten about most of them. I set them aside when I became mami, and now I feel like I am at a crossroads. I am trying to reconcile what I wanted for myself with what I have been blessed with, and figure out what that means and how those goals will change. Because I have changed, so what I want for myself must have changed also. I’ll have to keep you posted on this as I figure it all out!
Anyways, the third lesson that I learned is that I am seriously out of practice conversing with other adults. Most of my conversations last five minutes, and are 95% about the kids. I am so awkward. And maybe in another life time I would have been super embarrassed about my awkwardness, but these days, I just go with it.
After the first hour, I felt completely recharged. I realized I was feeling confident, and was standing straighter as I walked with a pep in my step. Ok y’all I was actually STRUTTING! I laughed at myself, glanced around to see if people noticed, decided that I didn’t care, embraced my awkwardness (see above), and envisioned myself on a catwalk, modeling my leggings and sweatshirt.
The second hour was more me soaking it all in. For someone who hates being alone, I was enjoying myself. It was actually exhilarating being able to get in and out of the car in two seconds instead ten minutes. There was nothing and no one to unload other than myself. This alone had me pumped up for the rest of the night! I went to six different places in two hours instead of two in four hours just because I could.
Recharged mama selfie
The fourth and last lesson I learned is probably the most important. I need to make the time. Like I said, I needed this. And I think it’s safe to assume that I will need it again. I am horrible at communicating my needs. It is an area that could use some serious improvements. I always wait until I reach my limit, that breaking point where I start falling apart. And I shouldn’t. Time spent unhappy is wasted time.
We have been told that “men are that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). Deiter F. Uchtdorf shared a story of a girl named Eva in his talk “A Summer with Aunt Rose.” He quotes Aunt Rose saying, “God didn’t design us to be sad, he created us to have joy!” That short time away from the people I love most helped bring back the joy in spending time with them again.
Our crazy, loving crew
I am so grateful my husband recognized my needs, and worked with me to get me out the door. I almost just stayed home because I thought it was easier. But the time spent on a reset, made it so that I could more fully be present, and appreciate my family. That to me is time well spent ❤