A while back I blogged about my trepidation on having some "Alone Time". Going back & re-reading it, having been a mother of two for the past 5 months, I am very glad that I decided then to spend the night at home with my daughter. She was asleep when I got home, but I was there when she woke up.
I have since spent 1 single night away from her - the night my son, R, was born. Those days of napping with her are gone. Those days of giving her 100% of my attention to only her are fleeting. Our relationship has changed a bit since the arrival of my son, and I am so happy that I had the foresight to cherish those last few months/weeks/days alone with her.
That being said, now that there are two of them it is even harder to find a moment to myself to just be in my own head for a while. I put one child down, the other one needs me for something else. I get one to sleep and the other wakes up. I set K up to eat and R decides he needs to nurse right then. As constant as motherhood was with one child is has intensified drastically with two, and I found myself starting to come apart a bit at the edges. My need for a break was greater than it was before and I wasn't liking the person I was becoming. I was jealous of people who got to do all of these things outside of their families, like play in a band or go back to school or take a yoga class. I found myself getting bitter with Laura because she got to go to the gym at least once a week. Heck, I was aching to have the hour long commute she so often complained about; a full hour by myself in the car where I could listen to whatever music I wanted to, as loud or as soft as I wanted to. I could open up all of the windows if I wanted to without fear of who's too hot or too cold. I wouldn't have to worry if the wind was too much on someone else. Or I could sit in complete silence if I wanted to. Sounds like a treat to me, what is she complaining about??!!
I had this feeling of "stuck", like I was always waiting for my break in the day to come and it never did. In the morning I was overlooked in our routine, hoping to have 5 minutes to wash my hair without rushing because someone is crying for me. A chance to take clothes out of my closet & put them on my body before someone comes along and spills rice milk on it. Or do something as simple as wash the dishes in less than 5 and a half hours. Eat? What does that mean? So many days go by where I'm not putting anything in my mouth until dinnertime or when I feel like I'm going to pass out. I felt trapped, always waiting for the next part of the day to come because it always promised a break for myself. A break that never came.
I just have to get the kids dressed & fed. Then I can take a shower & get dressed. But then I realize that nobody did the dishes last night & now I can't function in our kitchen. So I feed the kids & then do the dishes so that lunch will be easier. Then diapers have to be changed & potty must be gone to. Just get through (fill in the blank task). Then you can make yourself a cup of coffee. But then laundry, and who spilled something, and somebody inevitably poops on something they shouldn't have so everything must stop so we can deal with that.
You get the idea.
And while we did make some much needed changes to our schedules & morning routines, somehow I always got left out of things. If we were running late it was me who got less time because I didn't have a job to be at at a specific time. Laura had her set night that she went to the gym because it was important to her. Other nights she has to work late or has a business dinner or is gone to another state for a week. Don't misinterpret - I was a part of the schedule making as well. I told Laura that if she needed gym time that it would be done. It was me who wasn't pushing for the me time for myself. I thought it would be fine. I thought I could do without it. But I felt the need for it creeping in. And it bothered me the more I didn't get it.
So I thought about what it was that I wanted. It took me a while to figure it out & I considered pretty much all of my options. I didn't want to go back to work. R was still waaaayyy to young for that and I wasn't ready. As I mentioned in the other blog, it stresses me out to be away from my babies for too long while they are still nursing. I spend all of my "me time" worrying about how they're doing and if I need to be pumping, etc. and it just becomes more of a headache than it's worth. So I knew I couldn't do something too far away or that would take too much time either.
Then I found it. It literally appeared to me in the mail one day. An ASL course. It's one hour a week, 20 minutes away. I was of course worried about being able to afford it but we decided that it would be worth it, and let me tell you it is 100% worth it! On the way home the first night I was so happy I was in tears. I had my alone time in the car. I sang at the top of my lungs with the windows down & the sunroof open. (Yes, I am a crazy person). I had the class itself, which is something I've wanted to do for years & years now, and something I've been a little intimidated by to be honest. Being out of the game for so long has kind of made me question some of my abilities as of late. But the teacher is deaf and she does not speak at all, so we are forced to learn how to communicate with her. The fact that I have figured it out gave me a confidence boost.
Everything about this special mommy time is perfect. It is a set time for me - Laura knows not to plan work stuff on the nights I have class. She has some time where she is alone with 2 kids and gets a taste of what I do all day long. It's a long enough break for me so that it is, in fact, a break. But it's not so long that I start to worry about R. By the time I get home, he's gearing up for bed anyway so it couldn't time out any better. I have time to be my own person, to learn something that I want to learn. To interact with people as me, as Bel - not K & R's mommy or Laura's wife. I am relevant as me. I am able to prove to myself that I can still pick up a new skill and that whatever doubts I was starting to have in myself for being home for so long are unnecessary and unfounded. I'm still smart. I'm still able. I'll be able to transition out of this part of my life when the time is appropriate.
This really does give me the boost in my life that I was lacking. It resets me and my mind and my mood and lets me shine. When this class ends I will do something else and I will make sure that I never lose touch with myself again because I don't like the person I become when I fade into the background of my own life.
What do you do in your life to keep you going? What is your special mommy time?