Earlier this week I had a very long and stressful day at work. I’m sure everyone has experienced it. No time to run and get coffee or even lunch, for that matter. Everyone is demanding something from you all at once, and your stress level is rising. You do everything possible not to scream, and try as hard as you can to keep a well poised smile upon your face. Once the day was finally through, my co-worker suggested that we run somewhere to get a drink and relax a little bit before heading home. I couldn’t help but accept the invitation. I knew that I needed to unwind a bit, and the thought of walking in the door and dealing with the bedtime battle seemed too grueling to pile on top of my frazzled state. I quickly texted my husband to let him know that I would be home late, as my friend and I turned to our phones to find the closest Upper East Side bar that wouldn’t cost us an arm and a leg to get a martini.
After a couple of much appreciated drinks and a yummy appetizer, we parted ways, and I headed towards the 4 train to get home. During my 45 minute commute on the train, I had a lot of time to sit and think. Quiet reflection was a good choice, since not only was I was a little buzzed and still fatigued from the long day, and the thought of searching through my over-sized bag for my iPod was too much. (We have all been there, one way or another, right?) And then I realized how long it had been since I had gone out without my husband or had done something for myself. I also realized how refreshing it had been to spend those 2 hours not being a mom or a wife, but just me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my role as a mom and a wife more than words can describe, and part of me does feel guilty about ever leaving my husband or my son to do things that I enjoy-without them. But, I also realized in that moment how important it was to stop taking myself out the the equation, because I was important, too. As moms, we try to do it all and put everyone else first, but I really don’t think there is anything wrong with thinking of ourselves from time to time. From the moment that we hold our brand new baby in our arms and onward, even whenever we say “I do,” we take on a certain level of selflessness, but we can’t forget the root of that world “self.”
In fact, whenever I arrive back home from book club or even take 20 minutes of quiet time for myself to read a new book, I am able to recharge and be a better mom and wife for my husband and my son. “Self care” is the term being bandied about in self-help circles, and I am beginning to see just how important this care of self can be.
So at this point, I have decided that whether it is drinks with friends, yoga classes, or searching the garment district for new and unique fabrics, I need to take some time for myself each week. End of story.
What do you do whenever you have alone time?