One thing that is often sacrificed with the arrival of kids is time. Sure you learn to appreciate time in other ways and if you’re like most parents or moms I know, keep an ongoing list of many ‘first times’…the first time your baby smiled, the first time she spit food at you and so on. Time evolves into having a meaning entirely out of your ordinary world. Everyday tasks either develop an urgency or proceed in slow motion. Either way, you realize that time automatically transforms into a disciplinary agent for your own life as well as the lives of your family members in ways that it never did in the past – that distant past before kids.
I am a punctual person. I should say I was a punctual person. Before kids, that is. Now I often struggle to hold on to a modicum of self-discipline with regard to punctuality. I have caught myself in the midst of rushing J only to stop and realize that it doesn’t matter. He can be as slow as he likes, we aren’t going to be late because there is no time bound event we need to be at. Now of course if we are attending library storytime that begins at 11:00 a.m., then we have to get there on time otherwise parking can be a real hassle. Even that though, if we are late, we are late. No one is going to question or wonder why we are late at voluntary events anyway.
Where I get to and at what time no longer has the same urgency as before. In some ways, time is meaningless to me. It doesn’t matter where I get at what time per se. I don’t have to answer to anybody. As long as I follow J’s nap schedule, I just try to get everything else arranged around that and even that moves around sometimes.
So, why did I title this post, ‘My time, Me time, and time for myself‘?
I was at the dentist’s today and a different dentist from the one I have been seeing for the last month or so was in attendance. This is the same doc who completely abandoned me on the day of my second appointment to complete a root canal. She had previously done a partial job two weeks before and then because she had broken a file in my canal and panicked, on the day of the second appointment, she simply said she didn’t want to do my root canal anymore. Just like that. Anyway, that is another long story. Point of this piece is that because she was at the clinic today, I wasn’t too happy. The doc who actually finished my root canal was not working today but nobody told me that when confirming my appointment so all in all the 45 minutes I was away from my kids with Aaron managing their sleep, was a tremendous waste of my time. I was pissed but there was nothing I could do. On the way back, I missed my turn and had to drive an extra 7-8 minutes to get home which further pissed me off.
Anyway, mid-drive, I realized that I was by myself, in my car, with no kids. NO KIDS!!! Imagine that!! What was I being so grumpy about!? People love their momentary time away from their kids so why not look at this as one of those moments. Indeed, why not!? So I cranked up the radio. I didn’t care what music was playing. It was loud and that was great. Most importantly, it wasn’t kid music. I was even able to break into a little smile. THEN, I realized that I actually missed not having my kiddos. I do actually like spending time with them. For sure, I would like me time so I can get a leisurely mani-pedi or color the umpteen greys in my otherwise beautiful and lustrous mane, or go to a coffee shop and just read but none of those are big deals (except maybe the hair. I really do need to color but then again, I could just do that at home, cheaply and without having to be too apart from the kids).
Even when I have had to leave the kids with Aaron and run a quick shopping trip to the Farmer’s Market, despite the no hassle time shopping, I missed not having them around. Usually J is with dad hanging out at the different booths (the honey stall is his fav) and I am strolling E around as I do my shopping. Without either of them, the trip somehow did not seem as fun. I know there are mommies who love the time they can do their errands without the kids or husband. I really thought I was one of those moms too but each time (the few times) I have done so, I just wish I was with the kids. Go figure! I guess I am just not ready for that time away yet. It had started getting better leaving J with his dad before E was born. With E being too dependent on me for her very survival, I do not have the freedom to just take off, not for too long anyway. I am sure there will come a time where I’ll just need to take off to blow off some steam or take a break from the tantrums and craziness that would be my normal with kids around when a trip to Target or Costco would be a great and need I say, a relaxing distraction but today is simply not that day.
As far as my time is concerned, in many ways, I feel that this is it with better and bigger adventures ahead. This is my time, my time with my kids being a mom, nurturing them, teaching them, holding their hands, and kissing and hugging them, picking them up despite the backache, wiping that snot off their noses or putting a finger in there to dig for crusty mucus, smelling their bums or feeling J’s crotch to access a diaper change, all those things that I have organically embodied into this new ‘mother’ identity. Despite all the whining and the occasional tears but the many, many smiles and laughter, I have always wanted kids. Two. A boy and a girl. Today, I have kids. Two. A boy and a girl. This is my time.
As for me time and time for myself as popularly defined in more personally satisfying ideal setups (or as some would say, narcissistic or selfish), those times will come. I am in no rush. In the throes of my time, which dare I say, will last my entire lifetime with my kids, there will always be time for me and myself.