That’s right. It’s not Tea Time or Mommy-and-Me Time. It’s Me Time … for mommies!
I breathe in, I breathe out, I breathe in, I breathe out. I’m in the mad morning rush to get the kids to school. They are bickering, the dog is barking at the gardener, and I’ve just burned the toast. As I gather the backpacks worrying about the million things on my to-do list, I glance in the mirror and notice a few grey hairs. Oh boy, when am I going to have time to take care of that?
The day flies by and it’s already time to pick up the kids. Between my run to the grocery store, getting the car washed, returning work and school emails, it seems as though I’ve accomplished nothing. I’m done with “me” time and on to “kid” time. Wait, did I just refer to my day as “me” time?
As a mother, I find it important to find some private time in everything I do. It helps me keep my sanity, treat my kids with the respect and dignity they deserve, and enjoy my husband’s company at the end of the day. Here are a few things I like to do to in my “me” time.
Find a Quiet Moment
I am not a morning person. I never have been. But recently, I purchased a yoga ball to keep beside the bed. Every morning, I lie on top of it and roll back and forth. It stretches my back and gives me 10 minutes to be thankful for my day. Do you have 10 minutes in your day for a moment of silence or quiet meditation? Try to make the time – it works!
Sometimes, I find it hard to fit in a workout every day. I do my best to take a spinning or yoga class two or three times a week. Often, a neighborhood walk with the kids and dogs will do the trick. It’s also a good bonding time for everyone and a way to enjoy the outdoors together.
Whenever possible, a girls’ night out is super fun. Occasionally, I have been able to pull off a 24-hour slumber party with my girlfriends. Going to the spa together and having extra time to relax is such a nice break. I always feel refreshed when I return home to my family.
Free your Creative Spirit
Painting on a canvas can be a way to get your emotions out in a creative way. I find it to be a big stress reliever, especially during highly emotional times in my life.
While the kids are at school, go see a movie or sneak in a massage. It’s only an hour or two, and no one has to know. Just do it and enjoy!
I’ve shared my favorite mommy pastimes. What do you like to do for mommy “me” time?
She licks frosting off tiny fingers.
It’s thick and sweet, leaving a trail of blue across her cheek, and a trace of content across her lips.
I sweep a caramel lock away from that stickiness and behind one ear, revealing a rainbow-studded earing glinting in the sunshine still streaming in.
Outside, it’s cold and quiet and white.
Inside, it’s anything but.
We’re shoulder to shoulder around my mother in law’s table.
It’s overflowing with frosting and sprinkles and cookies in the best possible shapes – stars and trees for tradition, mustaches and ninjas for whimsy.
Jason and his brother stand side by side, their features and angles and smiles matching, their strong hands wrapped around equally strong drinks.
Their deep voices a low, rumbled background to the high-pitched fun at the table.
Jason’s other siblings, grown but home for the holidays, have fallen into the ways of their youth and are frosting and decorating and gently reminding my own children what to do.
Put your cookies here. Not too much frosting. Try these sprinkles.
Trade secrets passed from one generation to the next.
My in-laws stand at the table edged by my children and theirs.
After a day of cooking and organizing and being – husband and wife, father and mother, Papa and Oma - their hands are finally still.
The sweetness they’ve woven is shared by three generations.
My brother-in-law slips an arm around his girlfriend. They lock eyes before she leans into him, he swipes his lips across her forehead.
The thick links of her golden watch glint under the same light as Chloe’s rainbow earring.
“I made this cookie for you.” Brody says to her, drawing her back by his side.
“For me?” She smiles his way.
He nods, looking up with huge hazel eyes.
They melt me; her too.
She slips into the seat by his side and starts decorating another cookie just as my eyes meet Jason’s.
While their eye lock was filled with new and ease and compromise and promise, ours is made of these strands braided with a decade of together and jobs and finances and loss and children and more love than we ever knew could be.
I note my in-laws across the table and my children polka dotting the spaces in between, and crossing my frosting-tinged fingers, I hope that this is how we’ll always See our holidays.
Sticky and sweet, and absolutely glinting.
My mother and I have never seen eye to eye, on anything. We are too different in everything from our taste in food to the kind of men we love. We don’t agree on politics, religion or the state of the world. We have varying opinions on how to raise children and even on things as small as which flavor of gum we like to chew. Two people could not be more unalike.
We both know this rift exists between us. It started as a tiny crack when I was just a child myself and over the years the gap has only widened, to the point where we are so different that the only thing tethering us is the deep-rooted love of mother and child. Thankfully, that will never be severed.
I used to think that this was a normal mother and daughter relationship and it scared me because it felt so lacking. I always felt like there should be more to it. Your daughter is a part of you, someone to make the world a better place for and someone who you would instinctively want to protect. That’s not what our relationship looked like. Our relationship was full of excuses. Excuses for failure and for letting down.
Don’t get me wrong, she is not a bad mother and she was always there physically but I felt as though she wanted to be someplace else emotionally. She did have her moments when she really came through for me and it felt like I was the most important thing to her but that was occasionally. She always loved us but I’m not sure that she knew how to be a mother because she had been separated from her own mother as a young child. Maybe she never learned how to fight for herself or us because everyone she ever knew gave up on her? I never knew it could be different until I was a mother myself.
I want more than that for my relationship with my daughters. I want the relationship to be seamless. I want our relationship to grow as they grow. I want a relationship built on love and respect and a mutual want to be around one another, to stay present in one another’s lives. I want my girls to always know that I am here for them and that I will protect them and make the hard choices to keep them safe.
I didn’t get that from my mom. I think that is where the crack started. My mother has said that she did the best that she could and maybe that is true in her mind. I see it differently. I see the quiet choices made late at night and I know I would have chose differently because no matter what the circumstances, I would not have given up on myself or on my children. I would never stop fighting.
I’ve noticed as an adult that she is the one person who can take my every accomplishment and make it seem inconsequential and that hurts. I don’t completely understand how or why she does it or if it’s become so much second nature that it is instinctual. But when I share good news, it is always met with her playing devils advocate, her not responding at all or her comparing it to someone else, almost immediately. I feel like nothing I do is ever quite good enough. It never has been.
I’ve always known she loved me but I’ve seldom felt that I was anything more than an obligation to her. I never want that for my children. I want my daughters to know that I am proud to be their mother, that it is my honor to be a part of their lives and my privilege to be able to love them. When they are grown women, I want them to know that not only did I love them, I liked them and will always be there for them. I want all of that and more.
I am not my Mother’s daughter.