Before I became a parent and even after I had my son, I never understood how anyone could want to sit alone in a restaurant or a coffee shop. Didn’t they feel completely awkward with the silence? Didn’t they miss the conversation with another? What on earth were they thinking about? Their food? The place setting or decor of the restaurant? It was beyond me to even understand those “weirdos” who enjoyed the company of themselves.
That is…until I had more than one child.
I get it now and I actually crave it. Depending on the kind of day I’ve had, the kids will go to bed and I will revel in the silence of the house. I will turn on my TV and watch anything that doesn’t have a talking animal, fairy or cartoon girl with buttons for eyes. Is it reality TV? Yes. Is it a nighttime TV drama that borderlines on a soap opera? Why yes, yes it is! It’s anything that’s mindless, doesn’t involve me thinking about responsibilities or the well-being of another human being.
Sitting alone at restaurants? I love it now! I can eat a meal at one time without any interruptions. I don’t have to stop eating to get more water or spaghetti or any other thing that causes me to never finish a hot meal in one sitting. I can sit and eat; I hear my own thoughts when I’m alone. There’s no one to badger me about wanting to watch more TV or invite someone over for a playdate. I don’t have to referee who had what toy first or try to decipher the cries of my youngest, who has learned that she can fain getting her own way by shedding a few tears. There’s none of that; I can sit, in peace and the only voice I hear are my own thoughts.
It’s not that I don’t love being a stay-at-home mom; I do. It is by far the best job I have ever have and will ever have but that doesn’t mean that I’m supermom who can do it all without a break for herself. Clark Kent enjoyed his job at the Daily Planet when he wasn’t out saving the world as Superman. I look at my “me” time as my Daily Planet job; the time I get to spend where no one needs anything of me. I can get recharged; I can come back refreshed and ready to love and care for my children and husband.
So are you making sure that you’re getting some “me” time in daily? Even if it’s for 30 minutes a day, are you making sure that you’re stepping away from life to care for yourself? I really believe that as a mother it’s one of the most important things we can do: be alone, with our thoughts. Whether it’s hitting the pavement with a pair of running shoes or sitting at your local coffee house with nothing more than a book or your tablet, you need that time to yourself. Stay-at-home mom or working mom, there has to be a time set aside each day where the only person you are focusing on is yourself. You’ll be a better mother for it.