Wednesday, June 13, 2012

In Search of the Elusive “ME” Time?

Let's talk ME time, shall we.

We have all heard of this or even have had an abundance of this at some point in our lives, right?!  Before full time jobs or kids or bills or more schooling or busy adult lives….I vaguely recall having plenty of time to myself to do whatever I wanted. 

Come back with me if you will to the days where ME time was my priority…..[Insert flashback/dream sequence music and wavy fading image]

I remember back in my college days, even though I had a job at night/weekends and school, I had a plethora of ME time.  Infact, ME time was my priority and I was totally OK with being selfish about my time.  I managed to find time to work, go to class, workout, do my homework and do whatever else I wanted to do for ME.  Sometimes that would consist of taking a nap in the middle of the day.  Maybe walking to the tanning bed and then on the way back to the apartment stopping with some friends at the bar for happy hour and a few drinks (this happened way more frequently than I like to admit).  Maybe it meant playing cards for 6 hours straight, because well, when you have a good game of euchre or phase 10 going, why stop .  It meant leaving with friends to go to see a band play or staying out late because I had nothing important to do the next morning.  And honestly, even if I did have something to do I still seemed to have the energy to not be bothered by only a few hours of sleep at night. Who needs sleep at 22 years old….that is for the weak!!!  And it also meant I had time to be healthy-ish and workout whenever I wanted.  I was the thinnest I ever have been and was in shape and made time to for myself to be healthy.

Ahhhh, that was the life.

And then I graduated and got a job and got married and bought a house and had bills.  ME time turned more into WE time and while ME time was always around; I didn’t always make time for it or ignored it to do stuff with Terry or even stuff around the house instead.  I started putting ME time on the back burner, but maybe because I had been selfish for all those years I openly embraced this.  But then over the years and especially after having Henry, I have continued to take less and less time for myself, I seem to be finding it harder than ever to MAKE time for me or even feeling like I should take time for myself.

Now I am not trying to be all like “whoa is me, I never take time for myself….feel bad for me” or act like a martyr because I am putting other people before me and I should be commended for that. 

HELL NO, that is not the case at all!!

It is sort of two-fold. 

1)      I do find it difficult to find time for myself.  4 out of the 5 days a week I go to work, come home at 5:30 and T. leaves at 5:45, and then I am home with Henry all night.  He goes to bed around 9 and after he is in bed I wash bottles, straighten up the house and just unwind for a minute before I go to bed.  The last thing I am thinking about is working out for 45 minutes.  On the weekends I am also home alone with Henry until early evening and as I have hardly seen Terry all week, cherish what little time we get together in the evenings on the weekend.  Getting up early is an option, just not an option I have managed to succeed at doing.

2)      Then there is the guilt I feel when I take time for myself or do something for myself.  Oh, I don’t want to go get my hair cut and colored because I will be gone for two hours plus I could spend the money elsewhere.  Or I feel bad putting Henry in his bouncer while I walk on the treadmill because I only get 3 hours with him at night, 1 of which is spent with him eating.  I don’t want to be doing something else; I want to hang out with Henry.  It makes me happy to be with him and have that time together.

But then there is that thing where because I don’t make time for myself I get easily stressed or frustrated and I get mad at the way I look and feel and I know I need and want to do something about it.  I want to crochet and get my hair done and I really want to lose a lot of weight.  And even though I am happy spending time with Henry in place of doing stuff for myself, I am unhappy with how I feel.

Vicious circle, no?!

And while I don’t want to go back to the college days above as I really do enjoy my life now and having mostly WE time, let’s be honest…..WE ALL NEED SOME ME TIME!!

So let me ask all of you, how do you not only find “ME” time but MAKE yourself take that time?

I know in theory the answer to this question is easy…..just take time for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it.

Um, I think that answer is easier said than done. 

Mother or not, how do you managed to find time for yourself with your busy life to do the things that make you happy or feel better?  (whether it is working out, crocheting, blogging, going places)

And if you do have kids, how do you find time for yourself?  Especially without feeling guilt.


  1. Oh my. I get this. I really do. I miss me time. I mean the kind of me time where you just sit, relax, breathe, etc. No stress, no time limit. . . just time to, well, be. I miss it terribly.

    I won't lie. . . I do take time. Unfortunately, it is between 5:30-6:30/7 when I run. It's early, I'm always aware of the clock. . . you know.

    I wonder if it's possible to take guilt-free "me time" when you have kids, hubby, house, job, and a never ending list of things that NEED attention.

    I know, I'm helpful, right? I will be curious to hear what others say.

    1. Yeah, I am beginning to think there is no longer "guilt-free" time.....well at least until I am old!

      That is awesome you have that time to run! (5:30am - AAHH!!)

      I really need to start waking up early. While I do not enjoy working out I need to, plus I think it would help me mentally to have even a little time to myself.

      And you are helpful! It is nice knowing I am feeling what others feel and I am not that crazy :)

  2. Unfortunately, I don't think the guilt ever goes away. You just have to push it away for a few, because you KNOW leaving, having ME time will make you a better Mother when you return. We all need a break every now and then. To regroup. To remember who we are; not just 'Mom'. I totally get where you are coming from.

    I rarely get me time. And we never get 'we' time either, sadly. We just try to make the most of the time we do get, whether it's individual time or together time. I get my hair done once every 2, okay 3, months. And I try to have a quick girls night once a month-just for an hour or so. I just started running again, which is my ME time, because it makes me feel good, destresses me and gives me more energy to keep up with my kids. Sometimes I do it when they are awake, but they ask to watch me. Other times I do it when they nap. I only run 3 times a week.

    It'll get easier to have ME time when Henry gets older and isn't so needy. But, you'll still feel guilty. I'm not sure that ever goes away. Can you walk with him in the stroller to get out? I know he's still with you, but sometimes just getting out of the house, fresh air, makes you feel like you had a little ME time; especially if the baby is quiet and taking in his surroundings? He gets a little activity, you get a little exercise? Win, win?

    I'm gearing up to go back to work and the GUILT is incredible. How funny is that? I'm going to work, which isn't ME time, it's work, but I still feel guilty for not being here. Ugh.'s tough. ;)

    (And to make this the longest post ever...I feel it's important for your kids to see you take ME time. My mom NEVER took any time for herself and as I got older, I noticed. It always bothered me that she never placed herself as a priority...and then, well, you could see the "whoa is me" attitude inside her. I always thought she needed to treat herself as a priority too, along with us. I'm sure she felt guilt, but I know we didn't. We wanted her to pursue interests outside of us. We wanted to hear about things SHE enjoyed; outside of being our Mom. I always have that in the back of my head when I force myself to take ME time. It's good for them, as much as it's good for me.)

    1. This IS tough! I didn't think it would be easy, but I also didn't realize how tough it can be. Of course then there are the times where it is the easiest and best thing ever....equals out I guess :)

      I think we need to start going on walks again. I was going after work, but recently it has just been too hot. Might have to start going later in the evenings to just get out of the house and get fresh air. And you are right, allows me to exercise a little bit! BONUS!

      After reading everyones comments, I actually made an appointment for this Saturday to leave Henry with family so I can get my hair cut and colored. Haven't done this since 2010. I think it will help me feel good and be somewhere other than home, work or the grocery store....which seem to be the only places I go anymore!!

      And good luck with going back to work! There are many days I feel guilty about going to work, even though I am leaving Henry with Terry. Of course when I am at work it is a nice break and change of pace and I do enjoy having time away. Hopefully once you go back the guilt won't be there as much and you will enjoy it!!
      My mom was/is the same.

  3. When you figure this out, please let me know. I can't get past the guilt, and BB is almost 3 1/2. I blog at work (shhh). I read a chapter at a time instead of a book at a time. I haven't crafted in years (it feels). Only now that my husband is going to a beer meeting once a month do I feel comfortable going to a craft night every other month. Ug.

    It is definitely easier now. BB plays by himself more, so I can read while he plays. But it's still hard.

    1. beer meeting? huh?

    2. Yes, what is his beer meeting?! heehee

      I will let you know IF I figure this out....don't count on it though :)

      I am going to try to find something I can do for me, even if it is something small! Maybe we can do a craft night!!

  4. I totally agree with what Sassytimes said about seeing your mom have me time. My mom always was reading or crocheting or sewing and that instilled in me not only a love of crafts, but I saw that she was doing stuff to keep herself busy and doing things she wanted to do. We have done the same thing with the girls. I think it's so, so important for you to be JENN and also to be Henry's mommy. Don't lose the Jenn part of you! What you're feeling is perfectly normal though!

    Henry has a bunch of little floor toys, right? How about maybe for 10 or 15 minutes one evening, you set him up with some toys, and you sit down and crochet. He'll see you working on something and that might make him mad at first but then I bet he'll get used to it, and he'll do his own thing and play with his toys.

    We used to do that with the girls and it worked great. We'd set them up with toys and then we'd read or I'd crochet or sew. We were always right there with them, sitting on the couch two feet away, so there really wasn't any "completely by myself me time" but there was time to do what I wanted to do, and that helped my sanity a lot. You can have "me" time but still be present and in the room with Henry.

    1. That is a really good idea! When he is with me he just wants to be all up in my business and while I love it, it can be exhausting. I need to teach him to do his thing while I have a little time to do mine. I will try this!!

  5. This post could not have come at a better time for me -- I was literally CRYING to T tonight about this very thing. I feel so guilty about work -- I only get to see Jackson for 2-3 hours a day during the week, at most -- that even entertaining the thought of doing anything for myself on the weekend makes me feel twitchy. Granted, he's only 3.5 months old, so he's still very needy -- and I'm still a very new mom. But holy wow -- the guilt is just crazy.

    But, if I'm being honest: I was like this even before I had Jackson. There are so many things I think I *should* be doing that, when I'm actually doing one of them, I still feel like I should be doing something else.

    I think I may have psychological problems. :)

    Anyway: The other women here have provided much better advice than I ever could. I'm just chiming in to let you know that I AM WITH YOU. Maybe the answer is for us to be supportive of each other, and keep telling each other that we need and deserve the time for ourselves. It DOES help us be better mothers and wives and people.


    1. Aw, I am sorry!! I cried this week about this too because life is just different and I am trying to adjust to all of it. Doesn't mean I don't love so much of it, but it is just different than what I have grown accustomed too the 31 years prior!

      And you are right, just talking about this and knowing others go through similar things helps!!

      And my weekends are GOLDEN to me. I actually cringe and get mad at the idea of doing something that takes me away from my family. We have things coming up in the next few months and I am already anxious about them and dreading being away for an evening. Terry wants me to go to his HS reunion this summer and I don't want an evening away from Henry and he said "Jenn, I am your husband and you choose to be with me before Henry was even a thought. We have to do things together and you need to make other things a priority too." Talk about feeling the ultimate guilt!! GAH!! Insert feeling like shit.

      we can all do this together!! right :)

      HUGS to you too!

  6. So, I worry about this when Paul & I have a kid... which hopefully isn't too far in the future. One of the reasons I started running several years ago is that it's something that burns a ton of calories in a short amount of time, and I can do it pretty much anywhere. Well, except when it's cold... or hot. Yeah. So, we bought an eliptical in December and it was THE BEST purchase we've made in a long time. Just as hard of a workout as running and no leaving the house required. 30 minutes on that sucker is enough to feel good about.

    For me, creating the habit is the hardest part. I'm hoping that since I'm already in the habit of an hour/day of me time (ie - working out... which I actually enjoy), I'll be able to make that a priority when our lives get crazier.