Seedlings: Me Time By Amy Wall Lerman, Editor
I’m a writer. I love to write. I don’t get to do it very often except for this column in Baby Bloomer and some quick paragraphs here and there when I can steal a moment at the computer. I have an exhausting and stressful full-time job outside the house. I come home and make dinner, do the whole bedtime ritual, and fall asleep in my son’s bed – sometimes waking up at 1 a.m. completely disoriented and wondering what happened to my evening. Sometimes I get up very early in the morning, never with the intention to write or exercise, but always to get a few minutes to myself before I start my routine all over again.
My husband (who is home with my son all day) and I will occasionally disagree about who gets more “me time”…okay, we ALWAYS disagree about it. I’m convinced he does and he’s convinced I do. He gauges his opinion of my “free time” on how much time I do not spend with my son. He feels because I work outside the home I must get more “me time.” I’ve decided that he gets more time to himself because of the 2.5 hours Evan is in school in the morning and the couple of hours after he goes to bed. I would consider the only time I get to myself to be during my commute into New York City on the bus everyday.
I admit bickering over a couple of hours of “spare” time is pretty childish, and ultimately, we are equally exhausted for different reasons. The reality is we both get very little time to ourselves, let alone, time together.
I think this is an age-old tale but it’s still relatively new to me. I’m 47 years old. I had 42 childcare-free years making me pretty set in my ways. Sacrificing “me time” is not an easy thing to learn how to do and yet every parent has to do it. Maybe it’s easier when you’re 24 and haven’t yet learned the value of spare time. Maybe not. I wouldn’t know. But once you know its value and you get it in droves, it’s not easy to give up. I thought I was ready to sacrifice my time when I decided to have my child – but if you don’t know what’s it like not to have time for yourself, how can you ever really be ready?
When I do make the effort to get some “me time,” I feel like I’m stealing it. I feel like I’m sneaking it in. I feel guilty. I feel guilty for trying to sneak it in and I feel guilty that I feel the need to have it at all. Shouldn’t all my extra time be devoted to my son since I often complain that I have to work full-time and don’t get enough time with him in the first place? I understand now when parents talk about finding balance in their lives but I’m still up and down on that teeter-totter.
I suppose I could talk the hubby into getting some extra childcare help, which seems like a crazy thing to spend money on when you have 2 able-bodied grown-ups available who should be able to balance caring for a single 4-year-old child. Crazy perhaps, but what good are able-bodies when those bodies belong to emotionally and physically depleted bickering parents? I’m ready to call “Super Nanny,” but I’ve never seen an episode that features parents of an only child. I better figure this out because I’d really prefer not to be the first.
Oh, and if you’re wondering how I found time to write this article or edit this eZine? All stolen – so please forgive the typos.
Amy Wall Lerman, Editor of the Motherhood Later Than Sooner eZine, Baby Bloomer, is a television news producer and writer. She is the author of several books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Critical Reading and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Family Games. Her poetry has been published in an online literary journal. Amy lives in New Jersey with her husband and 4-year old son.