So I'm going to write another list, because I love lists! Really, I do.
This one had its genesis in Moxie's recent posts about wanting to do 40 fun things before her 40th birthday. I am afraid I went on a little mini-rant about taking time for yourself even if you're still married to your partner and don't have shared custody to force it upon you. And then my inner conscious called me a hypocrite, because I haven't been doing such a great job of that myself lately.
I thought about it some more, and here is the metaphor I think best captures how I feel about this: little children who are too young to really understand why the adults they love might need some time to themselves, let alone recognize when Mommy is running on empty, are a powerful tug on your time and energy. This tug is so powerful that it can suck you out to sea, like a rip current, if you aren't careful. From our water safety classes, we know that rather than directly fighting a rip current, the best thing to do is to swim perpendicular to it, until it lets go and you can make your way to shore.
Similarly, I could fight and fight to swim straight back to shore and reclaim all of my pre-motherhood interests, and I suspect I would just drown. Instead, I will swim parallel to the shore for awhile, safe in the knowledge that the rip current will ease, and I will be able to return to shore.
At first, it is just survival, as any new parent can tell you. But if you're lucky, eventually you relax and start to enjoy the swim. That is what I am aiming for: enjoying the swim. I can make my way to shore later.
It occurred to me that given how successful our Summer Fun List was, and how much I'm looking forward to doing the things on our 2013 Family Fun List, maybe a 2013 Personal Fun List would be a good idea. And so I wrote one. I find that finally doing something that I need to do for myself is a type of fun- in that I can finally stop feeling bad for not doing it- so I've include a couple of those. I refuse to include "see the dentist," though- I'll just have to find the will to do that separately.
Here's the list I came up with, in no particular order. I decided to include 12 things again, with the idea that I will try to do one a month, just like our Family Fun List.
- Buy some new underwear, already (this would be one of the things I need to do for myself and have been putting off for a variety of not so convincing reasons)
- Have a weekend away without the kids or my husband (probably I'll round someone up to go with me- one of my friends and I have been talking about doing this and/or it would be fun to go somewhere with my sister. But I could also go on my own in a pinch)
- Catch up on William Gibson's books (seriously, I love his books. Why am I several books behind?)
- Clean up the top of my dresser and jewelry box, and fix the jewelry that needs fixing, so that maybe I'll start wearing my jewelry more often. (I have some things I really like. I miss wearing them.)
- Get a personal shopper and sort out the foundations of my wardrobe, so that I can be happy when I get dressed again
- Take a bubble bath (I used to do this all the time. There is no reason I can't do it now, I just don't.)
- Take a San Diego beer tour with Mr. Snarky
- Make a mix CD or playlist with new music that I like
- Go kayaking with Mr. Snarky
- Go rollerblading (this one can be on my own if necessary)
- Go to a classical concert
- Go out to brunch (heck, I can even do this one with the kids along- I just want to go out and eat yummy breakfast food cooked by someone else)
I went on a binge after Christmas -- practical stuff like new underwear, a few things to organize my cabinets so I can find all the fancy herbs/spices I splurged on, an ottoman that doubles as a storage cube so the needlework I also splurged on doesn't get trampled underfoot when I am not working on it. But I also bought a pack of small earrings so I could wear them in all the piercings in my ears again (4 in each ear). I am not sure why I felt compelled to do that, as at 36 (and job hunting!) I am well past the age when that is appropriate. As I told my husband, it was cheaper than a tattoo.ReplyDelete
I am not normally a paragon of housewifely virtue, but since I am between jobs right now, I am finding it surprisingly satisfying to purge/organize our considerable clutter. And that's a sad commentary on the state of fun in my life. Perhaps it also explains the earrings.
I love your analogy of life with kids and a riptide. It is so true that they suck the energy out of you when they're young, but it does get better. My kids are 9 and 6 and I actually have time to do things I enjoy again, and I'm delighting in that ability.ReplyDelete
This is good to hear, because we're in that drowning stage right now (3yo and 3 month old).Delete
My husband buys all my new underwear. ;)ReplyDelete
When I need time to myself I tend to read a novel. I will also be feeling much more myself when we have childcare for the days I'm not teaching.
Having childcare, especially in-home childcare on my non-work days for my DD when she was an infant - that was the absolute key to me having a happy life when I had 2 small children. Which is why I cannot understand the hatred and judgment towards mothers who hire nannies/ helpers/ babysitters... aren't we as a society all stocked up on PPD?Delete
Get the help I needed with childcare -OR- constantly feel like I was about to drown? Seems like an obvious choice.
Also my 5 month old now takes 15 min naps. Two of them. Between the hours of 8am and 6pm. (We get maybe an hour nap after that, and she falls asleep around 9 or 10.) And she gets bored easily. She sleeps more when she gets more excitement, but momma at home is not very exciting, and there's only so many errands to run in a week (and it's been raining). Our person for my non-teaching days started yesterday and I'm almost caught up with deadlines. I think if I can get Saturday to myself I'll be good. (And now it is time to turn off the pump and head to the faculty meeting...)
... and the person we hired just found out she has a class conflict or she can't graduate... so back to no childcare, except of course we took the ad down, and it can't go up again until monday.Delete
Oh, that sucks. I hope you find someone else soon.Delete
Forgot Monday was a holiday... ad won't go back up until Tuesday. *SIGH*.Delete
I'm thinking that maybe my big anchor event on weekends is going to be doing all the work I should have been doing on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'm sure my husband and son will only miss me a little.
I've been working away on lists to counter the stress of moving - I've just posted my 'family fun' and 'personal fun' lists for our year in Christchurch. Some of it (like getting a shellac manicure) is not location specific, but some of it (like running the St Clair half marathon, going for mid-week ski days, camping) are just so good to look forward to, because they're impossible from Perth. :-)ReplyDelete
This listing exercise makes me feel slightly better about the parking fine I got on Monday because I was so pre-occupied I forgot to put my work parking permit on my dashboard for the first time in 2 years...
I make goals each year that encompass things like this - basically carving out time for myself to spend time on my hobbies. I'm pretty good at at-home me-time (for example, in the evenings after Evan has gone to bed), but not so good at out-of-the-house me-time. I'd like to do that more, I think!ReplyDelete
I once took a trip to Sequoia by myself for several days -- and it was one of my favorite experiences. Walking with no one's thoughts but my own was very therapeutic. No radio, no TV, just walking and reading. Highly recommended!ReplyDelete
We're probably moving this year but don't know where yet or even which of us will be the trailing spouse, so it's going to be an eventful year. I asked my husband if he had any New Year's Resolutions and he said, "remember to have fun." Sounds like a good idea.ReplyDelete
What do I do for myself? I buy expensive scented candles and burn them to make it seem warm and homey in the winter.
I used to burn those candles at work when I had to work late, and it made a surprising amount of difference to my mood. I think technically it wasn't allowed, but boy was it a nice change to my usually sterile office :)Delete
I'm taking a vacation, by myself, to Europe so that feels like a pretty way in which I'll be taking care of my own needs. A year ago I would not have been able to envision doing it but now it seems totally reasonable and boy am I looking forward to it.ReplyDelete
Re: 4 - I actually did the jewellery clean up/ organization over the weekend as part of the pre-move sort out and I kept pulling out stuff I'd forgotten about.putting everything into tidy little compartments in a newly purchased drawer organizer was good! I'll share my earring storage hack - I grabbed a sheet of felt from my daughters stash and poked my earring backs through it and then rolled it up. it keeps the pairs together and they can just be unrolled to see them all at once.ReplyDelete
Organized jewelry is awesome. I use those tackle boxes people use to store hardware, beads, etc.Delete
Good for you! Couple of thoughts, I love www.bravissimo.co.uk I know they are in the uk, but they are very good and have anything you might want including a line of lovely clothes. I particularly like their vest tops with bras inside.ReplyDelete
As for brunch, we really love Starlite lounge. Afraid you can't bring the kiddos though...
Get well soon!