My kids are my world (and Husband, too), but I also know that part of making them happy is making me happy as well. This summer, I have a babysitter every Monday morning so that I can go to yoga. Some people look at it and see selfish. I look at it and see sanity. My kids are not mentally scarred in anyway that I go out and do my own thing. They are happy they get to hang with the sitter! This isn't what all the articles I've been reading are saying though. These articles are either written by the wealthy who can pay sitters all the time or by those who have family support to watch their kids because all of the articles talk about taking time, every day, and doing your own thing. Great. I'd love to do that, and I do that, after the kids go to bed. Would I love to go to yoga more than one day a week? I sure would, but I can't afford the child care involved in that process or the price of more classes. With Husband's crazy work schedule, I can't schedule anything regular in the evenings because I never know if or when he'll be home. I really love it when these articles say that you have to make time to do things for yourself. Sure. No problem. Have you ever tried doing yoga at home with your kids around. Not very relaxing. Or maybe I should just leave my children at home alone for a half hour while I go running? Oh, wait, that's illegal. Obviously, these articles I'm reading are geared toward moms who have help or husbands who work normal hours. I guess these articles don't take into account not having money for a sitter every day or a husband who, at 5 am, still doesn't know if he'll be in town or out of town that night (yeah, that's been my morning so far). So, are these articles designed to make those of us who can't get hours to ourselves feel badly about ourselves if we can't take out hours a day to pamper ourselves? It's just not realistic in my world.
I believe the key isn't about making sure you take time out, but it's enjoying the time you get. A person can take time every day, but if they are worrying about things or not appreciative of the time they are given, it really doesn't matter. I actually see that a lot with people who have help. They have family or someone else who take their children for hours on end, yet they still complain that they need a break. Sometimes, these people are complaining they need a break while they are getting their break. After the kids go to be each night, Husband and I rarely do any sort of work. We take a few moments and do some dishes or Husband finishes up some work (he's always doing some sort of work), but for the most part, we have about an hour and a half to two hours of time for just us. Usually we spend it together since we actually enjoy each other's company, but occasionally, we spend it doing our own things. We take that time and we relish in it, knowing we may not get it again the next night depending on how the kids are sleeping, feeling, or where Husband happens to be working. Not having a lot time is a curse as well as a blessing. It's taught me how to be more appreciative of the time I do get as well as how to live my life with my kids.
Husband and I get date night once every other month, on average. We take full advantage of it just being the two of us and we truly enjoy our time together. When thinking of things to do though, we realize that most of what we would like to do is with our children. It's not that we don't want time to ourselves, it's just that there are more things we want to do with our kids than without. There are so many firsts that I got to experience with my children. Until I had children, I had never gone apple, blueberry or strawberry picking. That just wasn't something my family ever did. I never did cool science experiments (and truth be told, though I think all the stuff we do is super cool, I still don't like science, but I love seeing how involved my kids get). Then there are the experiences I've had and I want to experience all over again with my kids. I want to go on roller coasters with my kids. I want to run through sprinklers with them. I want to build snowmen. I want to go canoeing. I want to live my life with my kids. No, not only my kids, but Husband, too. Of course I want a free moment to just pee in peace, but I also want moments where I'm sharing my life with my family! Even on rainy Sundays when we're all sitting around reading, we're together and sharing a great moment. Living life is about taking the time that do you have and making happy moments out of it, whether it be time by yourself or time with your family. I'm not living my life for my kids. I'm living my life with them. And, I hope, I'm teaching them how to make the most of each moment.