Diary

It’s A Balancing Act

balanceIt’s generally assumed that moms give, give, give until we lose our sense of self.  Everywhere you look you see moms advised to take time out for ourselves and encouraged to maintain a balance between our families’ needs and our own.  I wouldn’t be entirely genuine if I didn’t confess that making time for myself has never really been a challenge for me.  My bigger issue is putting aside my agenda to tend to the needs of my family.  It’s so easy for me to get caught up in blogging and designing and emailing and twittering that my One-More-Things turn into 5 and my Just-A-Minutes turn into 20.  So while me-time is certainly important, and blogging and designing and emailing and twittering don’t really qualify as me-time, I usually feel more convicted to increase quality time with my family than with myself.

There are various ways moms make time for themselves.  Some women like to slip away to a quiet coffee shop and regroup while perusing magazines or surfing the internet.  Some make time to go to the movie with their girlfriends.  Some like to work out at the gym.  (I do not get that one AT ALL.)  Some have hobbies like scrapbooking or photography or reading.

I shop.

Yes, ma’am, I have to say that there is nothing in the whole wide world quite like getting in the car ALONE and driving in complete and utter silence to the happiest place on earth — the mall, of course!  Actually, at this point in my life, I have to say that going ANYWHERE alone is a treat.  I’m not choosy.  The mall, the spa, the grocery store, the dentist — ALONE is the operative word here.

Funny thing, I never understood when moms would talk wistfully about the magic of being alone.  I’m a social person.  I don’t consider myself a loner.  I’m certainly not an introvert.  I never craved alone time until I became a mom of 3.  When child #3 came along, I developed a sudden and deep appreciation for solitude — if you count meandering amidst a throng of shoppers solitude.  See, I have a very low tolerance for noise.  I also have a low tolerance for chaos.  And clutter.  And frankly, I have a low tolerance for interruptions when I am trying to accomplish something on my to-do list.  Finally, I have a low tolerance for neediness.  If you’ve ever wondered why we stopped at 3 kids — there you go.

So every once in a while, I will say to my husband on a Saturday morning, “Do you mind if I go to the mall?”  And he always cringes and tries to make up eleventy-two excuses why today would not be a good day for a shopping expedition.  But usually he will acquiesce because he has come to understand, over the past several years, my deep need to GET. AWAY.  And the mall is simply my favorite place to get away to.

This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by BOCA.
Photo courtesy of Brent and MariLynn
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16 thoughts on “It’s A Balancing Act

  1. Good for you for the honesty. I’m the same way – caught up in time online, need to watch out that my “just a minute” doesn’t turn in to 20! LOL But I also commend you for asking your husband for that getaway time on Saturdays. I find it harder and harder to ask because I’m tired of the rolling of the eyes 😉

  2. Too funny that you mentioned Saturday morning shopping. For me, every Sat. it is yard saling….so much fun! Now, my kids want to come so I alternate little day “days” with them..throwing in a few all by myself, of course. 🙂
    And balancing is what I am constantly attempting…thus my blog title. 🙂

  3. I don’t get much alone time, but the time I do get is wonderful. Even with one child everyday and two on the weekends it gets hectic. I love it, but I love the me time too.

  4. Before kids, I never understand why my SIL, who has 3 kids, always wanted to be alone. Now that I have 3, I totally get it. Alone and silence. Ahhhh…paradise even if it’s only for a few minutes or hours. Me time is important for mom but it’s also good for the rest of the family b/c if Mom’s happy, then everyone benefits too.

  5. I really need to find a good way to get away as well.. I like to have some quite everynow and then.. but the budget is tight so I don’t want to go out because I will spend money that I shouldn’t :-P.. I need to figure out another way to get my time… ideas?

  6. Lindsay, That’s the rub, isn’t it? The only thing I know is to take your laptop to Barnes and Noble or Starbucks and read blogs with a latte by your side. 😉 $5 isn’t bad for a few hours to yourself. Or go for a walk? Except it’s like 30 degrees on a GOOD day right now. UGH!

  7. Lindsay – how about the Library? Even if you’re not a reader, maybe you can sit and read a few magazines, or grab a few cookbooks?

  8. Ha! That’s why we’ll be stopping at three, too!

    Oh, how I wish we had a mall nearby. The closest one is an hour away. My only retail therapy is CVS and Publix (which is more like work, not therapy). So, I’ve resigned myself to going to the gym. Yeah, I’m one of those crazy women. But really, I’ll take quiet and solitude any time I can get it. Even if it’s on a treadmill. 🙂 And, the upside is I don’t spend money, and I always feel better afterward.

  9. I have to say that, in the time I spend for myself, I tend to have a good mix of social time and alone time. I love blogging, twittering and going out for beers. But I also really like being alone and doing stuff – reading, working out, going skiing.

  10. I have the same tendency to get caught up in what I’m doing and the hours go by. I will come home from work, make dinner, and then say I’m going to just check my email. 4 hours later hubby is putting the kids to bed. I do need to control that more. As far alone time I do workout with my Ipod on loud and the treadmill rolling and it feels good. I also like to curl up in bed with a magazine. I love to shop, but I’m trying to get a hold on the spending money thing so avoid the malls or stores whenever possible! Enjoy your shopping trip in the morning!!

  11. Solitude is priceless. I never quite understood that until after my daughter arrived. In that first year, I remember thinking that it was a “treat” to just go grocery shopping by myself (and I typically despise grocery shopping…). There’s just something about being alone to collect your thoughts…

    P.S. You must have some nice malls in your area. I don’t share your love of them. I would much prefer to spend my “alone” time on a run/hike or blogging or reading or just chatting with a friend…

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