When you become a mommy, at least in my relatively new experience, you quickly feel that so many of the things you enjoyed doing before parenting take a back burner … (Back burner? How about buried cache at the bottom of some ocean I don’t even know exists?) I’ve definitely lost touch with friends, luckily good ones are always there and you are back to normal as soon as you meet up! You lose sleep. You lose fun date nights with your husband. You lose out on time to exercise, explore, read, hike, do your makeup, get dressed, drink wine and sit still for three minutes at a time without thinking about the other hundred things you still have to do! And somewhere along the line, volunteering or helping out has settled at the bottom of my long list of things I used to do.
Lydia is two now, which does change things a bit. She can do more on her own, I don’t have to worry about what she may or may not stick in her mouth every second, so the stress is lower and I can do more things now when she’s awake: like the laundry. 🙂 However, I think it’s very important to remember we have to make time to do things that we enjoy now and then. Maybe your baby will be left with a grandparent or daycare provider a few minutes longer that day, but guess what: you are paying for the service (in the case of grandparents: they are enjoying that extra time) and if you don’t fit in time for yourself soon, what are you telling yourself? Are you saying your feelings don’t matter? I know you probably don’t think that way, and I don’t think my feelings don’t matter, but after a while, as you put yourself off, it begins to happen a little more often until you forget what it’s like to spend time on yourself or doing what you like. (If this hasn’t ever happened to you, then you’re a lucky lady.)
Justin and I have been pretty good about making time for time together and we’ve been lucky enough to have family we trust to watch and play with Lydia. (I don’t think she misses us too much during her nap time or play time with Mimis or Papas.) So we catch the occaisonal movie or attend to our latest hobby: dirt fishing. In that respect, I feel I have not completely lost myself.
However, I think it’s time to start combining two other things I haven’t found time to do lately: volunteering and time with friends. Think how great you feel doing both at the same time? Last weekend Justin and I participated in a benefit for a close friend. Even though we were working to amends a tragic accident, working along the side of great people and friends made me feel happy. We were killing so many birds with pretty much one stone. I loved it and want to do it again.
Yesterday I noticed a poster advertising a 3.5 mile race coming up in order to raise awareness for CF and a close friend’s daughter. I grabbed a sign-up sheet and shared the link on my fb page. I gave it some thought. I could handle a 3.5 mile race. (Justin said: “I’d hope so!”) Of course I’ll most likely walk it … I’m not a runner. But the idea of doing something for someone else, with friends, and there will be a tasty margarita at the end, kind of has me excited, and trust me, I don’t get that excited about things that might involve running long distances.
In the end, I think it’s pretty easy to imagine the wealth of happiness that will come from joining in with a good group of people who are doing something for someone else. At the same time I’ll get to spend time walking/jogging/definitely not running with friends. Now all I’ll have to do is call upon one of those loving grandparents to watch my little bitty the day of the race!
I hope you’ll think of something similar to do with your time. Don’t say you can’t do it or there isn’t time. There is time and you can, you just have to do it. It will feel good and you’ll get over that little gnawing feeling of not being with your baby every moment of the day. It might even draw out a, “Missed you!” from your little cherub … and those feel pretty good too. ❤
Know of any other good ways to spend your “free” time? Please share your ideas below!