I know I need self-care as much as I need air, sleep, water, and food. I need time to recharge after constant yessing and doing. I just can’t seem to make enough time for it. Sure, if I reflect hard enough, I see a moment here and there spent reading a book during a bout of insomnia or taking a very quick walk between tasks. My version of self-care is so fast that if I blink, I miss it completely. It is an afterthought–something to check off the to do list once everything else has been done. Or something to do simultaneously while folding laundry.
I tell myself that I should be happy with the random moments here and there. That a moment is more than some people get. And that my reasons for not having time for self-care are happy problems (not even “problems” at all)–my son, who wants to spend every waking minute with me, being the primary reason. I enjoy the vast majority of the time we spend together, I really do. I am so grateful for our time together. I’m fortunate that our battles are few and far between. Like every parent-child pair, we have some tough times, and those times make me want to run away and hide.
This morning was like any other weekday. I got in the shower, and no sooner than the water got hot did Jax come into the bathroom and lay on the floor next to the shower. Then the dog and cat joined him. All of them relaxed on the floor of my teeny tiny bathroom while I tried to get ready for work. And then I kind of melted down. I raised my voice and I yelled a little about wanting some space and privacy and breathing room. And then when my husband finally escorted them all out of the bathroom, I slammed the door and locked it and cried because I felt so incredibly guilty at kicking out my son, who 5 minutes previously had just said to me, “Mommy, I see so much beauty today.” (See how awesome he is??)
My heart hurts today. I don’t know what I want and I feel like a huge contradiction. I want to be with my son all the time. I also want space and time alone. I want to go to work, where I can interact with grown ups and read things on the computer all day long and feel important. I don’t want to work at all. I’m tired but still seem to find the energy for playdates several nights per week. I hate doing laundry, but sometimes it’s all I want to do! I miss blogging regularly (without having to choose what to sacrifice or say no to in order to make time for blogging). I hate yelling in order to get what I need. Why can’t I simply get what I need without having to melt down? I’m and angry and resentful when I see others reading books, watching tv, enjoying themselves without scheduling it or asking anyone’s permission. But I also applaud them for putting themselves first once in a while. Why do I struggle so much with that?!
I think what I need is a vacation.
My husband offered me an amazing gift this morning on my drive to work when I called him to talk about hard-boiled eggs. He told me that for my Mother’s Day gift, he would buy me a plane ticket to visit one of my friends in another part of the country. He wants me to have a weekend getaway to recharge.
Immediately I started to cry, and my brain spewed reasons I shouldn’t accept his gift. Then the rational side of me jumped in and I realized that this is what I myself said I needed this morning while I was yelling and ranting in the bathroom. And that the boys will be completely fine without me for a weekend. And that nothing bad will happen while I’m away. And that there isn’t any valid reason I shouldn’t go away.
So I texted my best friend in Florida and told her, thinking that merely saying out loud what was on the table would mean I would have to go. That she would hold me to it, and it would be good for me. Just last night, the two of us had texted each other about how much we miss each other. This would be a fun, good thing.
So I guess I’m going away for a weekend to recharge?? I’m going to have to fight off my anxiety about this and keep reminding myself that this is a gift and a very good thing to do. It’s going to be hard to not make excuses to get out of it. Which, when I read what I just wrote, makes me feel kind of silly.
Have you ever escaped for a weekend by yourself? How did it make you feel?
Image credit: János Tamás