I admit, that until recently, I was the kind of person who really disliked this trend of "me time". I sort of rolled my eyes and thought, "Give me a break. You are a mother. This is what you do. There is no break. No vacation. No me time."
Like many other (and much less important) things in my life, my approach to motherhood was this: Put your hand to the plough, keep your head down, get the job done.
Yes, you need breaks. Yes, you have your "moments". Yes, you'll rest sometimes. But for the most part "me" has been permanently replaced by the general "we".
It feels like a very honorable stance. To be such a sold-out servant of your family, your husband, your children, your home.
But with each new addition to this growing family of mine, I begin to understand this notion of needing time. The need to rest. There has to be a moment where we peel our cramped fingers from those wooden plough handles, stand up straight and stretch our backs, take our eyes off the ground and look up and feel the warmth of the sun on our face.
This past Fall I had the privilege of taking part in one of Lisa Byrne's classes called Designed for Wellness. Lisa and I had actually spoken on the phone together before I ever thought of signing up for her class. When I was in the throes of my so-far undiagnosed post-partum depression after Birdy's birth, I sought out Lisa's wisdom and counsel as a possible solution to this strange funk I found myself unable to climb out of.
But several months later when our paths crossed again, and I signed up for her class I had different intentions. I took her class this Fall with the plan to lose some weight, learn about healthier ways to cook for my family and start making some healthy changes for everyone.
But what I walked away with from her class was completely differenet than what I set out to learn. While Lisa's class offered insight and information about all the things I hoped, what I didn't realize was how the class would really encourage and push me to look deeper into my own attitudes and perspectives. While there would be outward changes as a result of her class, most of the work was happening internally on my heart and mind. My eyes would be opened to some areas of my life that needed some real attention.
One of those areas, brings me back to my thoughts above. While being the mother of four children (or three! or two! or one!) forces one to need a break every now and then (understatement), I learned as part of working through Lisa's course, that the time I was giving myself and marking off in my mind as "me time", as my momentary break from the duties of motherhood, was actually pretty worthless.
I'd find myself sitting in front of the computer answering emails and sipping on a cup of tea, thinking "Yes. This is my break. This is time I have carved out and earned. This is going to refresh me." But later, when I put my mothering cap back on, I felt no different. There was no refreshment. I felt no more rested or more prepared to face the rest of the day.
I think I walked away from Lisa's class learning a lot more about taking care of myself. And while I still battle the thought that it is so silly for me to even worry about how I'm caring for myself, I'm learning that it is the time I spend for myself that is what allows me to be a better mother, wife, person.
I know this notion is really probably nothing new for many of you. But it was a very eye-opening moment for me. I've since begun to discover what things refill my spirit and refresh me. (FYI: It's not sipping tea and working my way through my inbox.) Some of the things are taking care of my outward self–a haircut regularly, or a long, luxurious hot shower after everyone is asleep and taking time afterwards to paint my nails or put on the good lotion. Asking my husband for a night out of the house and not feeling guilty for needing to get away for a few hours. I'm not high-maintenance. It doesn't take much. But it does take something. And definitely more than what I was doing before.
These ideas are all kind of wrapped up in one of those New Year's Resolutions floating around in my head. To remember to tend to myself now and then. And to continue to discover what things truly refresh. And I hope you'll be encouraged to take a few moments to discover and invest in the things that refresh you as well.
**I promise I'm not working for Lisa… 🙂 But through this course I feel like we've become good friends and she's someone I can count on for sage advice and wisdom. She has a new Designed For Wellness class beginning on January 16th. And once you join a session of her classes, you become a lifetime member of the site and are welcome to join in any other session thereafter. I whole-heartedly encourage you to consider it…**