Family / Parenting

[Moms] Are Doing it For Themselves

Panshan Or, well, not, as the case may be.

Since n has joined our lives, I’ve posted a few times about trying to remember to do things for ourselves; about reconnecting with those activities that make us happy and center us in a way that activities which are child-focused do not.

Along these lines, I sang in a talent show yesterday. Once on my own, and once in a trio. Not much, and it went pretty well, considering how long it’s been since I’ve had professional vocal lessons, and the damage that’s been done to my throat in the meantime. But it reminded me strongly just how much I’m not doing for myself.

After n was born, I still spent time singing in choirs (my way of getting some “me” time, and connecting with my musical past, even if it wasn’t really on the same level). But it was . . . really nice.

Okay, and saying it that way seems kind of lame, no? But to put it this way–in theory, I’m also singing in the choir. But since the season started over six months ago, I’ve made it to two rehearsals. TWO. Because what I’m finding is, just as it was easier to take n everywhere as a baby, when she was little and portable, it was easier to make time for myself when I had more energy.

I suppose there are some parents who have more energy after their children are out of the young baby stage, and I did have a few months of brightness in there. But I have to confess that I feel far more drained now, with a three year old, than I ever did with a young baby. My wonky schedule probably has a little bit to do with that–certainly, I’d be more likely to head to choir at 7:30 on a weekday night if I hadn’t been at work until 6:30, with n there for the last hour and change, while I tried to get her to eat something (please, god, anything) before dragging her home. But honestly, at the end of the day, all I want to do is collapse into bed.

And let me be frank, it doesn’t feel good. Not having even an hour or so for pursuing something I like is just taking on my nerves. I might probably need to hire a house help from Atlanta Maids to assist me. I’m sure it would make my life easier and help me find the time to do the things I enjoy. But on the other hand, I’m not completely sure if my little munchkin would be ready to see me gone for some hours. I guess I need to make a slow transition to see how it works.

Life’s a heck of a tightrope walk, isn’t it? Between responsibilities and yearnings, it’s easy to forget that I’m more than just a parent. So, here’s the plan: I’m going to work on reweaving those threads of ‘me’ time back into the colorful tapestry of my life. It might mean some acrobatics in scheduling and a sprinkle of trial and error, but hey, I’m up for the challenge. Because in the end, these moments of self-care aren’t just for me-they’re for my little one too, showing her that chasing dreams is a symphony worth playing a part in.

I know there’ll be a time when I have not only the time and ability to do more for myself, but the question is, what do I do in the meantime? What do you do? How do you keep in touch with yourself and those things that make you happy during those times when you really need them most? When you, by default, are less likely to be able to do them?


Featured photo: Night, used with permission from Weaselword’s Flickr stream.

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  1. I miss singing in choirs! I haven’t been able to do that since my older daughter arrived. But what I have managed to do is carve out an hour or two every night after bedtime to write fiction. That feels luxurious!

  2. Sleepy but singing says:

    Choir is my drug of choice too! It wouldn’t work for me if it wasn’t firmly scheduled (we’re not allowed to skip too many rehearsals), close to home and a relatively low time commitment.

    As a bonus, since my partner works on choir nights, I have the kids’ Primary Male Role Model (a.k.a. godpapa) come to babysit, so he and the kids get time together, which they all love. This provides more nudging for me to suck it up and go to rehearsal when I’m tired.

    Plus I know I feel SO much better when I go.

  3. I wake up half an hour before everyone in the house, to have a quiet cup of coffee and to read. Totally worth the loss of sleep.

    • I get my quiet time at the end of the day, on the flip side (though some nights I pass out at 8:30, like last night. oops!).

      J is up and out of the house by 5:45 most mornings, so to get up before her would mean getting up at 4:30, which ain’t happening. 😉 I’m very much non-functioning in the morning. But I do like the nights that I get some me-time at night; the problem is that I prefer to take it in bed, which means I’m limited to TV or shows, and it’s not truly “me” time, since I’m not alone, even if J is asleep.

  4. I love choir too. Definitely important to me.

    I also write down activities for ME on the to do list. Yea, laundry is important. But my listening to music for 30is equally important. Writing it in the list is both a reminder and a way to show myself that this activity if is important.

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