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Tuesday Tips- Take Time for Yourself

Every mom or dad needs to do something for themselves sometimes.  It is the only way that they can truly be happy.  You might be armed and ready to argue with me right about now, but just wait – I have my reasoning.

I’ve been one to “sacrifice” many activities that once defined me.  I made those sacrifices because I thought that was what a mother did.  She gave up stuff from her pre-kid life that made her happy, kept her active, challenged her mind and stretched her emotionally.  A mom is supposed to center everything about her life around her children and her husband.  So, as soon as Jade was born, I gave up dance.  I tried to do it for the first 4 months after she was born, and I’d take her with me, but then I would feel guilty.  Guilty that I was taking time away from playing with her just to do something that I loved.  For me there was extra guilt because I also had to work.  Scott was in graduate school and was not allowed to work; me working was the only option.

When we moved away from family and friends, I would do everything I could to spend time with my daughter.  I would take her with me to do my service for the church in the middle of the week.  I’d schedule play dates when I needed to be working.  Each day was dedicated to my daughter and my husband.

There were days the Scott would call and say he wanted to bring his work group over to the house for lunch.  I’d sacrifice quiet time with Jade or I’d rearrange plans so that I could tidy up the house and prepare a hot lunch for Scott and his friends.

Does it sound like I’m complaining?  I’m NOT.  I loved every single thing that I did for them.  But I was losing me.  I quit having anything to talk about with friends, Scott or my parents.  All that I could do was tell stories about Jade and her play date, or what happened that day for Scott.

Scott was frustrated because I was grumpy and lacked energy to do anything at all by the time he got home.  He thought if I had a job, that would help.

I started contracting.  Which meant I was in a dark tunnel of guilt that only seemed to get darker the longer I did it.  Contracting is tough to juggle.  For example, if I was working then I was feeling guilty that I wasn’t playing with Jade and that I was just half watching her play with her Fisher Price Little People.  Then when I was playing with her or hanging out with the her at the park, I was always watching the clock because time is money.  Contracting was not the answer.

Finally, I started to remember the things that I used to do that made me happy.  I danced.  I took pictures.  I hiked.  I camped.  I did theater.  I swam.  I worked out.  I realized that in order to feel happy, I needed to start doing one or two of those things again.

Does it stress me out to leave the family for an hour and a half to do my thing once in a while?  YES.  I stress about what are they going to have for dinner, are they going to behave for Scott, are they going to do something fun that I’m going to feel bad for missing.   But, every single time I go, when I come home I am a happier wife and mom.  I feel rejuvenated.  I feel renewed.  I feel like me.  ME with 2 beautiful girls and a wonderful husband.

Right now, my thing is belly dancing.  Next week, I’ll start swimming again (because belly dancing is over).  I am always taking pictures and trying to capture the happiness in everything the family does together.  I am truly truly happy.

What do you do for yourself?

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2 comments to Tuesday Tips- Take Time for Yourself

  • Katie

    Thanks for this. I actually used to belly dance, and hike a lot also. I do miss those things, and yet, when I think about doing them, I have no motivation.

    [Reply]

    Amy
    Twitter: familytrifecta
    Reply:

    there’s another class next fall 🙂

    [Reply]

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