Before Little Oats was born, I needed healthy doses of time alone. My anxiety disorder meant that being around people completely overwhelmed me, and working in a busy clinic left me worn out by the end of the day. Every night after dinner, I would crash on the couch and just get lost in a book, some blogs, or a bunch of TV shows. Cleaning got done on the weekends (after I slept in and lounged around for several hours), and the grocery shopping typically happened on Mr. O’s day off. I needed time and space to regroup, and I liked the chunks of ‘me time’ that were so often available.
Now that I have a 15 month old running around, the idea of ‘me time’ has changed a great deal. I don’t mean in the cliche ‘running to Target alone is a vacation’ sort of way; I mean it honestly. I mourned the loss of my nights laying on the couch, leaving dishes to pile up until the next morning. I didn’t manage to get through an entire book until Little Oats was at least 8 months old, something I couldn’t imagine pre-baby. Free time seems like such a silly thing to mourn, but it was an actual process for me.
I got really depressed when I thought about how long it would be until I could take an entire Saturday morning to sit in a cafe and write. I was completely overwhelmed thinking about the fact that I had to come home from a busy day of work, and KEEP GOING. Dishes, laundry, cleaning – these were no longer Saturday chores, because Saturdays were as busy (or busier) than any other day of the week. I truly struggled with a sense of entitlement; didn’t I DESERVE to sleep in until 10 if I wanted to? I fought these feelings for several months. I grew resentful of my situation (not of my baby), and longed for a vacation from my life.
And one day, after a long discussion with Mr. O, I realized something. I still had free time; it just looked different than it did before. Everything else post-baby was different, why would this be an exception? I realized that pre-Little Oats, I was lazy, and my tendency post-baby was to be lazy as well. But that just doesn’t work when you’ve got a little person relying on you to do things. There was now more to do in less time – I had to get more efficient if I expected to have any ‘me time’ left over.
So, how have I managed to eke out some ‘me time’ in the midst of a busy life? Here’s a little glimpse: