We moms are always talking about “Me Time.” We seem to spend a lot of brain power thinking about it and how to get it. I even recently saw a red carpet reporter whose sole assignment was to ask celebrity moms how they get the all-important Me Time. And, each celebrity had different answers. Pedicures and coffee were favorites. Lunches and going to the gym were mentioned. Basically any activity that doesn’t involve the children can qualify, although if doesn’t involve the children OR the husband, then it is really considered a treat.
And I know why we say this. It’s because being a mom is tiring. And draining. And some days it’s not all that fun or even interesting. Being a mom requires lots of hard work, lots of putting others first, and lots of doing things that you don’t necessarily feel like doing. So, when we have been doing this for a while, when we can’t even go potty by ourselves, we start to crave time to just be alone or to be with friends, minus our kid crew.
Hear me when I say that there is nothing wrong with this. It is okay to go and do things without our kids or our husbands. It’s okay to want to.
But, there is real danger in the Me Time mentality. I mean actual, harm-your-family danger. Because if we aren’t careful our desire for Me Time can cause us to resent our children and our husband, as if they are keeping us from exploring something about ourselves that we can’t while we are mama and Mrs. We can easily come to a point where we are self-centered and self-serving, thinking only of what we need and want. Where do you think the popular divorce mantra “I deserve to be happy” originated? I’ll just bet you it all started with placing overblown importance on Me Time.
The truth is that Me Time is an abstract concept that means not a whole lot of anything. It’s a myth, really, just something we like to say to make ourselves feel, for a moment, that there is more to us than mommy-ing and wife-ing. We use the term as if it means that it is possible to have time that is just ours and no one else’s. As if we can really step away from mothering and separate ourselves from it. The reality is that once you become a mother, the rest of your life is an exercise in willing yourself to focus on whatever is at hand, while some part of your heart and mind is still feeling around in the dark for your children, how they are, what they’re doing, or what they need.
So, we can continue to talk about and seek out Me Time, and we can grab lunch with friends or get a pedicure or go to Starbucks and read a book without pictures for a change. I think all of that is fine and probably advisable, because when we do those things we feel refreshed and energized for the tasks of mothering. But, Me Time isn’t the glorious missing piece in our lives. Life actually isn’t all about us, as some would have us believe. Our time belongs to God, to our children and our husband, AND to us. There is no such thing as Me Time. Maybe we should just call it Time When I’m Not Physically in the Same Room With My Children.
What? It could catch on.
By all means, today you should take a few moments for breathing deeply, drinking a Dr. Pepper on the back porch, or even going to get your nails done. But, if you are in the midst of raising kids right now, your Me Time is here and now, in the moment, sharing space with your people. These are the days you’ll look back on with joy. Don’t wish them away by dreaming of some mythical idea of important time spent by yourself.
Me Time isn’t an essential of living. And, someday, when we’re older and we don’t have children hugging our knees or pre-teens asking for rides to the mall or teenagers trying our patience, we will have lots and lots and lots of Me Time.
And we’ll long for the days when we couldn’t go to the bathroom alone.
That’s the upside down and backwards world of motherhood. Welcome. I think you’re going to like it here.