6.8.10

Freaky Free-Flowing Friday Thoughts on Self and Family

There's no "me" in family.

Well, unless you're a really bad speller, that is.

Everytime I hear a woman say she went out for some "me" time I inwardly cringe.

Oh yeah, I appreciate the sentiment - seems like we never have time to do anything for ourselves because the kids are always needing something, hubby still hasn't figured out which drawer his socks are in, house is a mess, blah, blah, blah.

Being a parent is hard. Yes indeed. And uninterrupted time to ourselves is impossible, especially when the kids are young. BUT, it's really time to stop moaning about it.

Good Lord. Our houses are a mess because we don't clean them. Yes the kids mess them up as fast as we can clean them, but the truth is we don't put a whole lot of effort into it.

We don't get uniterrupted time to ourselves, but how many of us can add up the time we spend watching TV or blogging or reading online content or a book and have it equal 2 hours or more?

We think we have it harder than our mothers and our mothers mothers but we don't. We just have more on our minds and more on our plates.

Used to be you cared for your kids, cared for your home and cooked. Sometimes you worked too in which case you came home and cooked and cleaned. Wasn't easy but mothers did it. Because that's what they were supposed to do.

Now we want to have designer homes, cook nutritios and creative meals, bring the kids to hockey, ballet, music class and volunteer work, work ourselves, watch The Bachelorette and update our blog.

It's our fault. No one elses. Whereas our mothers were content serving hot dog and macaroni casserole, we wouldn't dream of it. Whereas our mothers worked then came home, we bring work home with us. Whereas our mothers kicked us outside to play for two to three hours after school every day, we want to engage our children in growth opportunities.

We have more help from our husbands than they ever did. But we have less help from our neighbours and other mothers.

We value leisure more than they did. How many of you remember your mother sitting down to watch 2-3 hours of TV in the evening? I hardly remember my mother watching TV at all. They certainly weren't spending time online.

And because we value it, it seems more fleeting.

But that's not the only reason I cringe at the term "me time." Because the fact is, me came before family and now it's us. Nothing I do is for me alone. Take, for example, exercise.

Three or so times a week, I get out for a run. Why do I run? Well, I want to get in shape. I want to lose weight. Two of the major reasons I want to get in shape and lose weight is so that I can be a good role model for my children and enhance my self-esteem to make me a better mother. I also want to remain physically attractive to my husband. I want to run a marathon in the next couple of years. Again, as a role model and also to raise money for NF research.

I don't run for me. I run for all of us. So when I run, it's not "me time." Sure, the kids and husband aren't physically in tow, but they are there with me in my thoughts and motivations.

I'm not saying being a mother should consume all of our self. But neither should our self be more important than our family. A relationship means that everything we do we do for everyone within the relationship. Our intrinsic motivation as humans for just about anything we do comes from the want for or maintenance of a relationship.

Yes, the individual and the self are important. But time is not needed to nurture our selves; whats needed is thought and intent. Taking an hour to do something without our kids in tow is not "me time." Lying in bed at night thinking about what we value and why is more important to our self-development.

Placing all this importance and attention on "me time" just feeds into the idea that we can disconnect oursleves from our responsibilities through physical distance. We can't, because our responsibilities are intrinsic to our very being once we become an adult.

Me schmee. If you have to get a haircut then get one. But don't delude yourself that it's time just for you. You don't have that anymore. Suck it up and be a grownup about it.

4 comments:

  1. Wow. You're right on many levels, some of which I don't want to think about right now, lol. However, I do admit that if I spent less time on the computer, watching tv, and other, meaningless tasks, I would have more time to clean and take care of my family and home. You've made good points and given us something to chew over.

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  2. umm, i'm not sure i agree much with you here.

    I'm going hiking next week for 5 days, just me a couple of friends and the forest. no kids involved at all. Am I doing this for them? nope, I'm doing it for me, because I want to, because I enjoy it and need some time away from the house and the family. Does that make me horribly selfish? I don't think so, just real.

    I'm not a naturally 'motherly' mother, I don't enjoy soaking myself in family time 24hours a day, or even 12, I do need time away from them, time just for myself so that i don't go nuts, so that I can cope with the rest of the time spent with them.

    Yes of course I love them but I don't want to only be a mother all the time, I don't want everything I do to be about them, I want to take time for myself, to be alone with the thoughts in my head, to wander around the shops unpestered not buying anything in particular, to sit and read a book, go out with friends, spend some of my life away from both the children and everything else that comes with it. Do I do it for them, for the family? Hell no, I do it for me.

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  3. I love you! You are actually my role model!

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  4. I agree with Heather. You have said yourself, when blogging or watching tv we have someone tugging on us to be fed or we're staring at something that needs to be dusted. I have a wonderful husband who gives me time to myself whenever I want it-to read, to go out with friends, whatever. This energizes me and makes me a better mom

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