It’s true that Monday isn’t the first day that comes to mind when I think of having some time for myself. I’m more likely to spend this particular day tackling mountains of laundry, piles of dishes and otherwise catching up from a busy weekend. So each week, I’ll be making a point to try out a new idea for “me time” and reporting back every Monday, when we all need inspiration the most.
Let me get this out of the way up front. Today, I will not be sharing my "me time" experiment from last week . . . mainly because it was a complete and utter failure! As a clue, it was something do do with overcoming excuses, and let's just say that the excuses won - for now. But, I am gearing myself up for a rematch in the near future.
Okay, on to something more fun - a "me time" success story. I remember vividly a time after my son was born that I felt like nothing but a Mommy. And as much as I loved being Mommy, I was slightly envious of how little my husband's life had changed since Noah's birth. Don't get me wrong, he is an amazing dad and threw himself into the Daddy role 100 percent. But he still went to work every day. If he wanted to stop for a cup of coffee along the way, he could. When he needed a haircut, he just went and got one. And if he felt like going for a bike ride (his pre-baby hobby), he did. And then there was me . . . at home with the baby, and that's pretty much it.
Somehow, jumping back into swim / bike / run training with a nursing baby didn't seem doable, and for the longest time, I was content with doing nothing for myself. Even the idea of a mom's night out baffled me. Who would want to go out with friends when their wonderful, amazing, awe-inspiring child was at home???
In the few months after he turned two and before my daughter was born, I started seeing the value in that time - in any kind of "me" time. But I had no idea what to do. Jim suggested that I needed a hobby - but have you ever tried to randomly pick a hobby? It doesn't really work. And of course, the fact that I was six months pregnant and about to start "babyhood" all over again was slightly limiting.
Ava turned out to be a much different baby than Noah had been. Where he demanded me and only me 24/7, she was content with Jim for a surprising number of hours between nursing. In fact, since she liked things quiet, she much preferred to stay home with him than to join me on a girls night out for coffee or a movie. So when she was about nine months old, I went to watch a friend perform at a bellydance recital. I have to admit, I knew nothing about bellydancing and it didn't sound particularly interesting . . . I just went to watch and support her.
Little did I know that night would take my life in a new direction. About five numbers into the show, I had decided that bellydancing was for me, and I called about classes the very next day. A few years down the road, here I am . . . still taking classes, dancing with one of my studio's performing troupes and even working a paying gig at a local Greek restaurant. Trust me, I collapsed with laughter when my "bellydance" business cards arrived in the mail . . . who would have ever thought I would have needed those???
For me, dance feeds my sense of self in several ways. First, it's the ultimate girl's night out, time away from the house with wonderful and supportive women who have become some of my closest friends. Some are also moms, but many aren't, giving me the chance to take my conversational skills back to a place that doesn't involve diapers and breastfeeding (or in these days, math curriculum and year-end evaluations). It's also a way to be active that's drastically different than anything I've done in the past, and of course, there are the costumes. Bellydance fills my need for all things girlie - glitter and sequins and makeup - oh my!
Recently, it's been fun to share my love of dance with Ava. In fact, she and I will be performing our first duet this weekend. But more than that, I think it's so important for both my kids to see that I exist as more than just Mommy . . . to see me as my own person with my own interests. I think this can be more challenging for homeschooling and stay-at-home moms . . . but very important to model for our kids for their future.