Thursday, March 19, 2009

MY THOUGHTS ON THE "ME TIME" MYTH

While I mostly agree with the article, there are parts of me that does not. I don't believe it is so black and white. I also don't think that if you do things away from your family, that you are a bad mom (or dad). I go to dinner with friends, or go shopping by myself. It is nice time away. However, I don't feel I "need" that time. I don't schedule "me time" during the week. If it happens, fine, if it doesn't, fine.

Now might be a good time for "me time" because I am trying to compose this post in the midst of constant chatter. LOL! So if I ramble or don't make sense, understand that.

I have thought about this a lot lately, honestly. I stay home with my kids and we homeschool. So I am with my kids all day, every day. They don't nap at the same time, so there is always at least one child around me all day long. Are there times when I just want peace and quiet? Sure. Are there times when I want to run away screaming? Absolutely. Would I trade my life for a life away from them all day long? Never in a million years. I know people that work full time, and still get a sister a couple of nights a week so they can have "me time". Then on Sunday mornings, they take their kids to church, drop them off in their age appropriate class and pick them back up three hours later. I couldn't live that way. Obviously, that works for them, but it would never work for me.

Haley's comment really made sense to me. When I do get away, it isn't because I am trying to fulfill something. I am not searching for anything when I go out except for some place quiet. Or maybe for a conversation that doesn't revolve around Cinderella or football. Honestly though, it is very rare that I feel the need to not be with my children. I enjoy their company. I enjoy their sense of humor.

I also don't understand the need for "date night". Sure it is fun to go out with my husband and see a movie, etc... but I don't feel we "need" it. We have a great marriage. We spend time together every day. My kids go to bed by 8pm. We don't usually go to bed before 11pm. That is three hours a night that we can hang out.

My husband and I are on the same page with this topic, and that helps. We both believe that we will have plenty of "me time" when our kids are older and gone. I hope not though, I hope even then they still want to hang out with us!

I am just that type of parent. Like I have said before - we are not the norm. We co-sleep (with whoever wants to sleep with us, whenever), I nursed until my children decided they were done (21 months and 17 months), we homeschool, etc... I understand that is not for everyone. However, I like to believe that I am building a relationship with my kids. A friendship. I have always said that I didn't have kids so I could leave them with a sitter so I could have "me time". I am going to soak up every second I can with them. They are only this age for a fraction of a second. My heart couldn't take all the things I would miss if they were with someone else.

Just my two cents. Oh, and Tonya - I don't need a doctor telling me that I am not a good mom if I don't leave them. If my doctor said that to me, I would find another doctor.

7 comments:

Karen said...

I agree with some of the article, and I applaud you for your dedication to your children no matter the hour. I also know that we don't eat dinner until 6:30 (on a good night when there aren't activities at church until 7:30pm), so if my children could go to bed at 8pm, that might allow us about 2 hours a night alone since we go to bed at 10pm. But we rarely have baths finished and everyone in bed before 8:30 or 9pm. Just not an option when we are so involved in our church (either Jason or I were gone to meetings until 8:30 or after on Monday and Wed. this week and until 7:45 on Tues.). Are you and Brad not involved in evening activities at church or are they over by 7:00? With that being said, I do not feel badly for having Girls Night OUt once a month just to talk with other moms about things other than Imagination Movers and breastfeeding techniques. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I'm always in for a good, thought-provoking article. Hope we can agree to disagree. :) Love ya! I think you're an awesome mom and the Lord will surely bless.

Haley said...

I have to say that I do enjoy a "date night" with my husband. We do not get to do it often and that is okay but sometimes it is nice to see a non-animated movie or have dinner somewhere other than McDonald's. I think it is important to me because I want to know that when my children move out to start their own families that I still enjoy the company of my husband.

Michele said...

Karen, I completely understand and respect your point of view. I do believe that as a stay at home mom, you certainly do your part in spending time with your children. I understand that there is a fine line between being selfish, and just needing a little while away to refresh yourself. Honestly, I am not that different in my beliefs (methods?) than you. As far as church goes, yes we are very involved. With Brad being the Associate Pastor there, we are probably more involved than most. Our church doesn't really have meetings in the evenings, aside from Wednesdays. So the 6 other nights a week, we are all home.

I believe part of the reason that we are the way we are is because we have never lived closer than 4 hours to family. We have never had people we really trusted to keep our kids. So over the years, we have just gotten used to being with the kids 24/7.

Haley, I understand where you are coming from. We do take advantage of "date night" when we are in Charleston or when our parents come here. But that isn't often. We do enjoy our time away. However, with Brad's job the way it is, I probably get more time with him during the day than most people do. He comes home everyday for lunch, and we have the evenings. Plus I often go up to the church to hang out. The kids play and Brad and I hang out or work on stuff together. I also talk to him on the phone probably 15 times through out the day (haha). So I spend lots of time with him, I really do. I am so fortunate that we have that opportunity. Plus my kids typically go to bed so early, that we really have lots of time to hang out and just talk.

I don't want anyone to think that just because we don't share the same points of view, that I think I am right and you are wrong. We do what works for us, and you guys do what works for you. I understand that everyone parents differently, and I respect that! I really do! Now if you turn into Angela V., we may have to schedule an intervention! haha!

Anonymous said...

Hey Michele - Loved reading your post :) I think I'm somewhere in the middle on this. I definitely believe lots of people are searching for too much Me Time at the expense of their children. Like you and Brad, Jeff and I live away from family and so our default is always just the five of us at home. Unlike your situation though, Jeff works probably 60+ hours on a good week and travels once or twice a month for a 1-3 days. He loves his job and he works so hard to get home by 6 or so to have a few hours with the kids (ie, he's already been at work for over an hour this morning and it's 6:30 am now!), but the time that he and I get to spend together is limited. We've recently tried harder to schedule in our "date nights" once or twice a month when the kids have a sitter and I have been amazed how much we love it. I love my children dearly, but to have an actual conversation with my husband over a meal without discussing the latest robot invention or what bug we found in the yard today is thrilling :) We have been doing date nights that start around 6 or 7, so the sitter basically just finishes up dinner and puts the kids to bed. For us, it's been wonderful. Yes, we'll have many years together after the children are grown, but our relationship is paramount to the stability and happiness of our children.

On the other hand, we spend all of our time together on the weekends (other than the hours of church on Sunday morning). As the kids get older, we so enjoy their company! Jeff and I always tease that we had children so that we don't have to make friends :) Besides, they HAVE to like us, right? ;-)

Enough rambling for now :) My little cherubs are squealing for me :) -- Michelle

Anonymous said...

Chelly-

Thats how Mike and I both are. We too don't want a babysitter. We enjoy Cameron around. We didn't have Cameron to have others raise him-hence why he has only been watched 2/3 times! LOL.

I also NEVER want "me time". EVER. When I want to do something I do it and 98% of the time I WANT Cameron with me. Call me crazy. Maybe I am like that cause I always have Cameron with me since I'm still home with him. I'm just like you, I don't "schedule" me time and going to get my hair down wasn't really me time that was a must. LOL.

I don't have to go out with the girls-ever. Actually I enjoy hanging out with my friends-with the kids.

When Mike and I do go out alone, we enjoy it...but we talk about Cameron alot, work, school, life and US. It's nice but boy we are ready to get our little man when we are done eating!!!!!!

Cameron is only little for so long...and we really don't want to miss anything-yet our marriage isn't suffering either..7 years in a few weeks! :)

Tonya....

Anonymous said...

ITA with Haley's comment...

It's nice to go to a nice place and eat (which we do alot with Cameron) but it's nice NOT to have him sometime and enjoy a meal and talk with my husband.

One day...kids will all be grown and moved out and I don't want to feel like I lost my husband cause I spent every second with my son.

I get it cause I know several who are older and feel like this now-they dont' want to be alone with her wives/husbands because they can't hold a converastion or feel like strangers.

There needs to be a nice balance.

PS. I agree with everyone's comments. :)

Tonya

Anonymous said...

Kept thinking about this article and everyone's comments all morning - I think just because balance for parents is always so hard and often controversial.

A couple more things I was thinking - at least in my case - is that the more children I have, the the more hubby and I need time together without them. I don't think my oldest even had a sitter until my second child was born :) My parents watched him a handful of times, but never more than 2 hours or so. Now that there are three kids age 5 and under (which, Michele, you totally can relate to!! :)), they require so much more of us - always talking and asking questions, that we rarely can carry on a semi-complete conversation :) Thus our recent increase in date nights now that the youngest is finally weaned (at 18 months) and they are a little more self-sufficient and comfortable with a sitter :)

Also, I wanted to say something about the preschool stuff. I am totally fine with homeschooling and think it is a GREAT option for many families, but it's not for us. The reason has NOTHING to do with "Me Time," so I thought that was valid to bring up. For us, choosing to do preschool a couple of mornings a week is more about the kids getting a chance to learn to listen to other adults than Jeff and I, to learn to play with other peers, and most importantly to me, to allow me to spend a little individual time with the children who aren't at school. If I didn't do that, I don't think I'd ever find a way to play alone with Colleen and/or Paul and play at their pace rather than just at Clark's pace (age 5). Anyways, I guess my reasoning for preschool isn't terribly relevant to the discussion, but thought I'd mention it since it's not that I'm shipping them off for "me time." :)

Thanks again for posting such an interesting article and for mentioning it on facebook :) I've been meaning to look at your blog for months and just never remember when I'm at the computer!! Hope all is well!!

Michelle