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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