Begging, Borrowing, or Buying “Me Time”

My first pair of running shoes. Ever.
My first pair of running shoes. Ever.
The weekend before last, my husband and I got in a huge argument. This isn’t surprising because–insert ominous music–we’re dealing with the Terrible 2s again. We had a lot of these arguments when Little J was 2 (now 4). The tired, frustrated, fighting-about-nothing fights just to release some steam. Since my husband and I are both introverts, it’s especially tough on us to handle the push-pull defiance from Baby J and the get-into-everything-at-every-moment phase. There’s no time to disconnect, no time to be alone. He works all day at least, which is hard in it’s own way, but it’s adult time and a chance to have separation in his day, which I don’t get.

I chose to stay home with my girls and I wouldn’t change it for a minute, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. It doesn’t mean there aren’t times when I would give my right hand (I’m a lefty–let’s not get crazy here) to be anywhere else but here.

And that’s pretty much where the argument with my husband ended up. We were both struggling with how to be good parents during this time. We were both saying, “I just want you to be happy!” We have the same goals. A house is only as happy as it’s least happy person, right? So the conclusion we came to was for me to get some help–some time to be an introvert, a writer, me.

Now that I have an agent and, with any luck, a book coming out in the next year or two, as well as potential deadlines for books in the near future, there will be more career demands on my plate. Truthfully, I welcome them for two reasons: 1) I’m absolutely, crazy in love with every part of what I do. And 2) it’s like Julie Powell says in Julie & Julia: “I love that after a day when nothing is sure and when I say nothing, I mean nothing. You can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. That’s such a comfort.”

Parenting two kids under 5: Nothing is sure. Putting pen to paper and manipulating words to create a story: Still not entirely sure. But getting closer.

I looked into getting a nanny for a handful of hours a week but no matter how I did the math, I couldn’t figure out a way to get enough hours of work in per week to justify the cost. Then I remembered the cheap childcare at the gym close by. After a whirlwind trip to take a tour the following day, I walked away with a membership and unlimited visits to the daycare for less than half the cost of a nanny. Endorphins + Uninterrupted “Me Time” = maybe a bit more sanity in my life. Oh, and did I mention they have an in-house cafe?

I came across an article on Facebook this week from a mom who parented one set of toddlers close in age and is on her second round of toddlers less than 2 years apart. She talks about how really, really hard it is and how it really, really does get better. On the hard days it’s a relief to have that validation–to know I’m not doing it wrong. Or at the very least, I’m not alone. But I’m only 4 years in to being a mom and so far, every part has been hard in its own way. I imagine that will continue for the rest of my life. Parents don’t stop worrying when their kids move out of the house, so my dad tells me.

What I did all day after I turned in my edits. Shelby's favorite kind of day.
What I did all day after I turned in my edits.
That’s why I know I need to start a pattern of self-care now, whatever it takes. I have a hard time asking for help, but finally, I’m asking and I’m accepting it. As my girls grow, there will always be struggles, there will always be things out of my control, there will always be times when I feel like I’m failing at every turn. But when I give myself time to find my center, I feel stronger, I’m kinder to myself, I’m a more loving mother, and I’m a much happier wife.

Writing Update

I’m so excited that I finally turned in my next round of edits to my agent! We’ll have to make one more pass to clean everything up, but very, very soon we’ll be sending it off to publishers! I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life for this! In the meantime, I’m starting to “poke”–as I lovingly call it–at my next novel. I’m very excited to start getting to know some new characters and to fall into a new world. Hint: vineyard!

I am an author and a writing business teacher. I am also a mother of two, a wife, a businesswoman, a nature-lover, and a wannabe yogi. My debut women's fiction novel, PERFECTLY UNDONE, will be released on October 3, 2017. Here, I blog about my journey in publication in the hopes of inspiring others to follow their own dreams.

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Comments (7)

  1. Parts of it don’t get easier says this mother of one teen, a pre-teen, and a four-year-old boy. Each part has its own challenge- I could tell you a thing or two about the days I miss when the girls didn’t roll their eyes, challenge my authority, or ignore my advice/ suggestions/to-do lists the way a puppy might ignore its training pads. Oy. Yet, they can be the best helpers, they love their little brother, I can leave them alone while I go the store for a bread run, or now be able to work on a query in the same room, knowing they’ll play for at least a good ten minutes with their brother until someone screams. 😉
    The little boy- well, he never stops. But- I can always count on him for a snuggle and watching him at pee wee softball is one of the delights of my life.
    We absolutely must take time for ourselves. I’m a fellow introvert, and my husband is more introverted than I. Yet, as you mentioned, he goes to work, which is hard, but he gets *away* and there are other adults around. I understand what you’re saying- completely. Staying at home is awesome, but there are days…
    When I take the time to meditate and journal, I feel so much better. And as much as I love summer vacation with the kids- beaches, swimming, etc.- I will be happy when they’re in school and I can sneak off to my favorite coffee house and write without interruption.
    Great post. It is always a kind of relief to know you’re not the only one. <3

    1. Going to the store by yourself?! What a treat! Lol! I know what you mean, though, about missing these years. Already when I look at Baby J, especially, I feel like I can see her morphing out of her baby-ness right before my eyes and it makes me want to sob and latch onto her so she can’t grow anymore! I’m going to miss the cute little baby talk and her soft skin and squishy-ness. This is a total mom of the year moment here, but she was running around the other day saying, “Guess what?” So I taught her “Chicken Butt!” But she says it like “chi-en bu!” It’s just so adorable I could scream! Lol! Trying to savor each phase, even as it drives me crazy. 😉

  2. You hit the nail on the head, Jamie–being the parent of young children is a constant balancing act, one where you have to redefine priorities daily–while also remembering that if you don’t invest in self care, the works grind to a halt.

    I’m on the other side now, and I sometimes long for those days when I could still carry my kids around. Back then I yearned for two quiet minutes just to organize my thoughts. 😉

    Best of luck on the coming novel and congrats on getting an agent.

    Hugs, D

    1. Thank you! It’s so weird trying to reorganize my days but with the first week almost behind us, I feel like we’re starting to find our groove. And it feels so good to do some cardio every day! Holy cow! I have all this energy I never had before. Do people know about this?

  3. They do grow fast, but if you don’t take care of yourself, you don’t appreciate any of it. If you’re snappy and out of sorts, then they’re worse. So glad you found a solution to getting some time to yourself. And what a great solution! Exercise is the best, and so different from sitting at the computer. You’re going to love it!

    1. It’s SO true. The second I get frustred, they start to melt down. This week hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been so much easier. It has been a great solution so far!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: