Wednesday, March 18, 2009

THE "ME TIME" MYTH

I read an article recently about "Me Time". I feel like I could have written it myself. I don't buy into the whole "me time" mentality. I will just paste the article, the link is
"The "Me Time" Myth if you want to check out the website. Otherwise, here it is:

The “Me Time” Myth
Amy Roberts
The Old Schoolhouse

I once heard a talk show host give a very compelling argument for why moms need time away. He said mothers give and give to the point of empty. They must refuel themselves so they can continue to give.

It sounded quite reasonable to me. Then why did my search for this hallowed “me time” always leave me feeling as though I needed more? While taking time for myself, I definitely felt refreshed, but the moment I got home and realized the sink was still full of dirty dishes and I would still have to give baths to all the children before the night would be over, I wanted to head right back out the door.

This left me feeling sorry for myself. Why couldn’t I have one night where I wouldn’t have to do the same things I do every night? Why couldn’t I come home to a spotless and trouble-free place where dishes were washed and children were in bed? Why did I have to go back to my duties so soon? To punish those who were making my life difficult, I would loudly sling dishes and be curt and hurried with everyone until I could get children into bed and escape to the sewing room or the computer for the remainder of the evening.

The next morning, feeling dissatisfied with the amount of me time from the evening prior, I would take my coffee, sit at the computer, and completely ignore my daily duties. I would get irritated with the children because their antics were cutting into my time. I was stressed and edgy and desperate for more. My children would call out for me and I would answer, “She’s not here right now.”

Then, I began staying up much too late in order to squeeze in more alone time. I dreaded going to bed because it meant waking up to children’s needs and a disaster of a house.

I became increasingly upset by my husband’s time off from work, along with the business lunches and the business trips. To compensate for the perceived unfairness of the situation, I chose to do nothing on weekends: no laundry, no dishes, no parenting. Soon, my weekends were spilling over both ends and into the weekdays. All of this only served to overwhelm me even more and feed into my desire to escape.

In a moment of clarity, as only the Lord can offer, I saw my behavior for what it truly was: selfishness. Along with this epiphany came the conviction to quit seeking Me Time.

Me Time is a myth. It is an unattainable, always interruptible, never satisfying piece of junk psychology. Me Time, by its very name, suggests that who we are during the daily grind is not who we truly are. It begs us to search for fulfillment outside of the titles of “wife” and “mother.” It accuses precious little ones and God-given spouses for suppressing us. It reduces motherhood to a disease in which little dirty faces and endless monotonous tasks slowly suck the life out of us. It says we can never be refreshed by spending time in the presence of those we care for day in and day out. It points out a perceived hole in our world that needs to be filled, a tank that must be refueled, a monster that will swallow us if we neglect to feed it Me Time.

The more we indulge the thought that we are somehow owed this time away, the more we will seek after it. The more we seek after it, the more every little opportunity afforded us to take a break will seemingly end too quickly. The everyday life of being a mother will become drudgery. We will dread every aspect of this role. We will snap at our children any time they try to draw us out of our precious time alone. Not getting this time will ruin our day, and if we do manage some time away, we will despise the re-entry.

However, with any lie, there is a certain amount of truth hidden within. There is an emptiness within us that needs to be filled, but only God can fill what you are aching for.

“The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” Lamentations 3:24–25

Our time away should be spent seeking Him. Anything else we try to fill that emptiness with will fall miserably short. Likewise, the company we seek during our time away should be spent with people who are about the business of edifying and strengthening us in our role as wife and mother, not tearing at the very foundation of our home. We will never gain anything but resentment from the counsel of those who encourage us to seek self.

We must cease to see the role of wife and mother as a job we put aside at the end of the day. We must do our daily tasks cheerfully, as unto the Lord. We must learn to enjoy being home with our families. We must find contentment in serving others. We should spend more time drinking in the beauty of our children, searching their eyes, holding their hands, being Mom. When we do feel neglected or overworked, we must immediately seek the Lord to refresh us and keep us from sin.

There will be days when we are afforded opportunities to do things alone or with other women, but if we are content in our God-given role, we will no longer cling so tightly to these moments as the only way to save our sanity. Our need for Me Time will fade as we begin to see motherhood as a blessing not to be escaped, but embraced.

I am curious to hear your thoughts. Post a comment and share!!

6 comments:

Blondie said...

I completely agree! The article spells it out very well.

Granted, I do have one or two weekends a year that I am without spouse or children (Disney, but not this year, and CKC in Charlotte) but that's about it. When I get back, I feel not only selfish (for having been gone) but somewhat miserable because it wasn't my "norm". That's not to say that I don't have a good time when I am away - I do. But I also spend a lot of time on my cell phone with my husband and boys, too!

I also feel the same way about this push for alone time with Jeff. We dated for 6 1/2 years before we married; we were married for 6 years before Andrew was born; and we traveled a lot without Andrew when he was small. I look back and I am especially sad about the time I spent away from Andrew. Jeff and I have had a lot of alone time, and, God willing, we will have a lot more again when our kids are grown. This season in our lives is too short to worry about having "alone" time.

Now, I do still have a quiet hour most days when I tell Andrew to not talk to me at all. Wonder why?

This completes my comment dissertation!

The Turner's said...

Very interesting. I will forward the article on to my ladies from small group at church. This is an article I think every mother should read. Especially mothers of young children.

Anonymous said...

I have learned it's good to have sometime to yourself-and it's good for you kids. I heard about two weeks ago from a friend-she told her doctor she felt like a bad mother for leaving her daughter while she did something. Her doctor commented, "Your being a bad mother if you don't". I wasn't sure if I liked that statement but I have thought about it over the past few weeks and I think I do agree with it.

I think we all (Moms and Dads) do. My husband has now taken up golf-and so he does it on the weekends. It may be for 3/4hrs but during that time he enjoys fresh air, time with his dad (or time alone) and just gets to relax. I'm all for him to do that cause he works out the outside and his job can be crazy. I would like to think I WORK-Cameron is work and I do watch 3 other little boy during the week who are 2/3 years old.

When do I EVER have me time? Well now that I work out that 30mins/1hour is all about "ME". I truly look forward to it-away from everything. I put on my IPOD (other times I don't)..I think, regroup myself, PRAY, and just enjoy it.

For the first time the other night (reminding you/and others who might read this) that Cameron is 3 years old and 5months..the other night I took him to my friend's house (I watch her child during the week) and she watched Cameron while I went to get my hair cut/highlighted. I thought Cameron will have a blast over there, Mike can work out and I can do my hair. I called her and she was like sure! I dropped him off...went and did my hair returned 3 hours later and felt GREAT. I was so happy to see my little man yet I knew he was safe and had a good time.

Would I do this often? Like once a week? Hmm..probably not but it's not my style. We are all different and need certain space. I am happy with my 1/3hrs of "me" time.

My husband and I went out to eat the other night for the SECOND time without Cameron. We then went to the Outlets to get a few things. It was nice. We don't EVER do that. We walked and held hands. I truly felt like I was 20 again and not 27. 2/3hrs later we got Cameron and we were excited to see him!

So...again we are all different....

Thats my two cents...if anyone is still reading this! LOL.

Tonya..AKA...Michelle's sister.

Haley said...

I think that there is a real difference in the way that the author describes "Me Time" and the way that I describe it. I don't think that my "Me Time" is spent searching for fulfillment. It is just time that I take to do something for myself that makes me happy. I don't begrudge anyone else that does the same.
My family does not suffer whether I have time to myself or not.

Jeanne said...

I wholeheartedly disagree. Everyone needs their own time, and having some free time does not make a mother selfish. It is not realistic to think one can dedicate 100% of their waking life to meeting others' needs without having a complete breakdown. I am a better mommy when I am rested and when I have had a chance to get to my own personal to-do list.

Denise said...

Wow, I LOVE this article. It is definitely what I needed to read right now. I was just thinking about how with my decision to home school, I am not going to have ANY "me time" and could I really handle that. Question answered, thanks! It makes total sense to me.