Last week was shit. No other way to put it. My week started with a text message from a friend telling me that she heard a local girl committed suicide. Broke my heart, left me concerned for my students and my family, and just really put a damper on the week in so many ways. When I hear stories like that, especially close to home, I have a hard time putting them from my mind. I wish I could help more than to think about and pray for the family members and friends. I wish I could make all people see that their lives are worth living. But that’s another story altogether.
The week continued, with this 80-degree, stormy summer-like weather in Florida. Gray skies. Dreary. And it affected my mood. Certain nights, I didn’t feel like leaving the house. I just wanted to cuddle with my son. My husband is an awesome cheerleader, though, and he reminded me every night that I should go to the gym to exercise because I always feel better and stronger after working out.
So I did.
And I got to thinking about my routine since I began this lifestyle change 5 months ago and carved out more “me time.” I take my son out of his crib around 6:45 a.m. and give him over to my husband who puts him in the car—usually asleep—to take him to my mother-in-law’s. Usually, I pick him up around 3 p.m. This week, however, I attended meetings every day after school hours, some longer than others, and most days, got to my son around 4:00. Today in particular, I picked him up and got home around 4:15, only to turn around and leave for the gym at 4:45. Got to the gym at 5, did 20 minutes on the elliptical, then went to my 45-minute Butts and Guts class. Got home with my son around 7 p.m.
I missed a lot of play time.
I missed his dinner.
Thankfully, he doesn’t do bath/book/milk until around 8:30 and he falls asleep around 9-9:30 so I get some extra play and snuggle time. But really? I had a shocking realization that no one will be awarding me the Mother of the Year award. I may have spent a total of 2 hours with my son, not because of doctor appointments or work constraints. But because I chose me. And since I exercise daily, this lack of mommy/son time has become routine.
Yes, I feel good. Yes, I deserve “me time.” Yes, it benefits my family if I exercise, stay in shape, eat right, and set a good example for my son. But am I doing right by my son by taking more time away from him?
Why am I here? I kept asking myself. I should be with my son. I already take hours upon hours a week to work out. Now I’m adding it to pamper myself? I’m so selfish.
Then I rationalize. Well, it’s the weekend. I’ll just spend extra time with him tomorrow morning. We’ll have breakfast together, watch Bubble Guppies, play with trains and chill.
Then a few minutes later, I go back to guilt. Does this mean I’m only truly being a mom on weekends? What kind of mom does that make me? What happens when I go to the Christmas party on Saturday night? Now I’m not a mom on the weekends either?
And the cycle continues.
Please tell me you’ve been there. How do you balance relationship time, work time, “me” time, and motherhood time?