My parents would normally warn that I better not be in a bad mood the day after I come home from a sleepover. "I won't, I won't," I would always promise and go off to have a fabulous time learning that you only put self-tanner on once even if your skin looks the same after applying it. Nevertheless, I would somehow always find myself being disrespect and short (and sometimes a whole new color) the next day no matter how much fun I had had staying up the whole night because, hello, I was exhausted. Sounds like someone I know ...
I think that we are kind of newlyweds enough that life feels like a never ending sleepover. I love living with Chris, and I still can't believe that I get to. But recently, I've discovered a pattern in my life that reminds me of my post-sleepover tantrums. Whenever I get a chance to do something for myself and by myself, I feel somewhat great during the break. Inspired, rejuvenated, confident, guilty (I obviously need to work on that one) I feel many feelings, and I'm ready to get back to spousing and mothering. Yet, later in the day, I fly off the handle, and I find myself being that wife hounding and harrying her husband. You know those times when you find yourself in the middle of being crazy over something silly, you realize you are being crazy, you don't want to be crazy, you get upset that you are being crazy, and so you go on being crazy? That happens. I don't even need to be associated with the day that my twelve year old brother-in-law recently wondered about, "Is it true that there is one day a month when girls are super emotional?"
(In the same hour, he also started a story with, "You know how girls eat a lot when they are sad?" Hmm, I think he has four older sisters or something ...)
You wonder why Chris would continue to encourage me to do things for myself when those breaks come with a side of guaranteed crazy. He's a nice guy.
I think part of the problem is that I need to actually do guaranteed things that make me feel rejuvenated. I love the productive concentration I have when I get into creating a piece of art (as only-a-mother-would-love it might be) or a craft. I love blogging. I love walking outside. I love going into a quiet church. I love being trapped in the story of a book. I love doing anything with two hands that I normally do with one. Shopping is not a good option for me, so why do I often choose to do when I get some "me" time. It's probably because it is a task that is not especially fun with kids, but when I go shopping during my precious few hours, I end up rushing to the mall area, hemming and hawing over what I might like, pretending I'm a sausage and trying things on only to realize I don't like most of it nor do I like feeling like a sausage, debating whether or not to spend valuable money on what I do like, and then feeling down that blink! my time is over, and I didn't even relax one second. I need to choose to do things that I enjoy not what is merely easier sans children.
The other part of the problem is that I seem to think that poof! everything will be perfect since I have gotten some breathing room. I went to a remarkable talk on femininity by Catherine Pakaluk at the Edith Stein Conference. That tingly feeling of inspiration was creating goosebumps, and I found the ends of my mouth turned up in a slight smile all while slightly nodding and thinking, "Yes! I'm so happy to be a woman! I'm so happy to be a wife! I'm so happy to be a mom!" Then later that night I think I lost it on Chris over something so important that I don't even remember what it was. Inspiration doesn't provide the initiative nor the labor needed so I better get to work when the timer goes off.
Ultimately, I now recognize that my me time is not really just for me. Yes, it is to make me a better and happier person as a whole, but it is also to make me a better and happier person for my husband, for my family and for this whole wide world. So I better do it, and I better take advantage of it.
What do you do during your me time? Does anyone else have a counteractive post relaxation tantrum?
Sadly, I failed at the 7in7 challenge yesterday after flying from San Diego to Chicago (and I was on the same flight as Kendra!) and then driving from Chicago to Ohio for the weekend because hey hey, my brother is getting married and we are throwing his lovely fiancee a bridal shower! I'm sure you didn't even miss me especially because blog feeds are amazingly full right now thanks to so many people blogging seven times in seven days. Next time, next time, Jen.