Remembering “Me” Time

Me time

I’m sitting in my closet.

I mean, right now. At this moment. Lights off, door locked, laptop at 43%, sticky hands banging on the door, my free hand stuck in a bag of chocolate-covered almonds.

Yes, I’m sitting on the floor amid shoes and off-season clothes just so I can get a minute of me time, just ONE SOLITARY MINUTE before I go back to the “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom” of the everyday.

But, to be fair, it’s not just the kids that come knocking. My phone buzzes incessantly with reminders of my to-dos: to make an meal for the new mom down the street, to finish an article ON TIME (nevergonnahappen), to attend the popular Turbo Kick class at the gym, to plan date nights with my children, to clean out the garage, to review music lesson plans, to bake a new dessert (priorities, people), to take my kids to gymnastics, to develop professional interests, and more. My hat stand is full of title-bearing hats in all shapes and styles. Mom. Wife. Spouse of a Deployed Soldier. Teacher. Writer. Dinner Maker. Tickle Monster. Bedtime Story Maker-Upper. Grocery Shopper. Lawn Mower (hahaha, okay, I lied). Chauffer. Volunteer. I look like the bloke in the children’s book Caps for Sale, except for the little fact that none of mine are for sale.

But among all of the rushing and the doing and the being, sometimes my days melt away, and I am left trodden on by the day’s events, a little squashed and worse for the wear. But what about me? a tiny voice cries in between meal plans and bookkeeping and projects and tasks. Where do I fit Me Time? My hours and minutes are devoted to doing the things that I feel benefit my family, but what about the things that benefit me? Where is the time for me?

You’ll be surprised.

Where is me time? Squished in-between Back-to-School Night and bath time, found in the crevices of personal meditation, tucked away in the moments before the dawn-breaking sunrise.

Because the reality is such. The time we make for ourselves is often wisps of fleeting time. Minutes. Seconds. Let me be honest, I’d love endless vacations away from my responsibilities to the beach to tan my total bikini bod (I just can’t stop the lying) or to sip hot chocolate from an oversized mug at a ski lodge in the mountains, but the reality is that I have duties in this stage of my life, as many of you do, that require me to be here. Be present. Be active in the raising of my children, in the nurturing of my marriage, in the development of my profession.

But here’s the kicker. When the ding-dongs of duty ring, it’s easy for me to put myself last. Not because I’m a selfless martyr (although I do whine a lot). Yet, sometimes it’s easier to answer the text messages, respond to the emails, arrange meals, revise lesson plans, answer the resounding “M-O-O-O-Ms” when people need you. BECAUSE people need you.

But then after weeks, months, years of fulfilling others’ needs and filling others’ wells, have you ever felt lost?

I have. Reduced to something that resembles only a shell of who I am. So invested in the running around, the juggling, the balancing act. I’ve felt like a clown, a never-ending circus performer. My well was dried up. My stock was empty. I was running on fumes of emotions: overwhelming anger and irritability.

And in the need to do-do-do-go-go-go for others, this girl in a whirl ignored the most important person that needed (and needs) to be nurtured, taken care of, protected:

ME.

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