Ten Minutes for Mom

I will start this by saying that I love – I mean really love – being a mother.  I know people who give lip service to this but only because they know most people wouldn’t understand if they said, “I really don’t love this part of parenting” (because it’s almost always about one stage, not the whole of parenting).  I haven’t had a stage I don’t love (though with my stepson – the eldest – at 13, we’re about to see how the whole teenage years work out; I may need to revisit this statement at a later date).

The problem is that loving every stage and loving what I do doesn’t mean I don’t wish I could have some me time. I spend my days with my kids.  My daughter is homeschooled and my son is an infant.  If I’m not breastfeeding, I’m babywearing (the kid is like his sister and not a fan of being put down).  If I’m not teaching, I’m cleaning.  When I get a moment, I try to squeeze in the writing I need to do and then carve out time to run all the errands that need to get done.  I’m lucky that I get to shower daily, but only because (a) my baby only likes showers and not baths, and (b) my amazing husband is home on parental leave making it possible. (Him at home also makes a lot of other things possible as he picks up more cleaning and errands and taking our daughter to classes and skating.)

I always advocate for parents to make sure they have some time – like 10 minutes a day – for themselves.  Then I readily take that advice and throw it out the window.  Then stare at said window and those 10 minutes that are fluttering out there like a bird, taunting me with all the little enjoyable things I could do.  I could pick up the knitting needles and continue to little cat blanket I started for the SPCA (that’s all I know how to knit and I still don’t know how to close it off, but I’ll figure that out when I get there).  I could continue the needlepoint I started for my daughter.  I could read a novel instead of a book for my work.  I could do ten minutes of yoga.  I could do nothing and just sit and smile like my daughter is fully capable of. But I don't.

Instead I turn my head away from the window and get back to whatever it is that needs doing, but I can’t help thinking I’m messing things up by doing this.  My husband took a picture of me the other day and said that the picture was exactly how he saw me.  There I was, sitting at the table, doing work, with my son on my lap, happy as can be, staring out at the world around him.  That was not ideal, in my mind.  Yes, it’s good I can multitask.  And I do make sure to spend some good time with my kids - just soaking in the time they are young and cooing at you - but I also realized that I was going to lose it soon (like I did when my son was younger and I was trying to keep up with everything and failing and ended up very nearly on the edge of losing it entirely) if something didn’t change.

So here I am with the new goal of what I am always suggesting to others: 10 minutes a day for me.  Ten minutes doing something that I am happy about, whether it’s knitting, reading, yoga, or just daydream.  I don’t know where these ten minutes will come from, and I expect I’ll first have to deal with the anxiety of not doing something like work or cleaning or just being with my kids, but for 10 minutes, I think the world will continue to spin.  Right?

By Tracy Cassels

February 22, 2016