What was I doing with my time pre-child? No, really. What on earth was I doing with my time? Because I must have had a lot of free time. Why wasn’t I super-skilled and uber-talented in some cool skill or cut like a diamond from all of my time spent at the gym by the time I got pregnant because in retrospect I had HOURS UPON HOURS OF NOTHING TO DO. Right? I have no explanation for what the hell I was doing.
I had a child, and suddenly I want to be exercising more, learning new skills, participating in various activities. I want to spend time with friends, whether it be in person or on the phone. And since having a child, I also feel the need to make sure that my daughter spends time getting to know extended family, so that means fitting in time to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Oh. And then there’s work. And going to work tends to make me feel a little guilty sometimes. Well, doing anything that doesn’t include my nuclear family causes me to feel guilty.
I realize that this may seem like a silly thing to complain about, and I’m very grateful for having options and the ability to pursue my interests. But leaving my daughter for hours at a time on those “precious” weekends – because that’s exactly what they are when I’m working a Monday through Friday job – to do something that I’m interested in feels a bit selfish.
So, my husband got me a gift certificate for a sewing class for Christmas. I’ve been wanting to learn the basics of my sewing machine and dreamed of making little toddler-sized sun dresses for my daughter and funky skirts for myself for years now. So I signed up. I also took a coupon class with The Crazy Coupon Chick recently. (Back when I wrote this post I had mentioned I was planning to go. It was awesome, by the way, and I highly recommend going if you’re not plagued with a severe case of mom-guilt and dig saving a few bucks.) I’m also focused on running a half marathon next month, which requires getting some longer runs in on the weekend. And then, of course, every five seconds I’m seeing a class or event or activity that I want to participate in.
I try to remember that for me, a healthy, happy mom is a mom with her own interests. I want to be able to model for my daughter how important it is to set goals, try new things, have hobbies, and fill time positively. And I want to be a balanced mom. Most importantly, I want to be a mom that is free of a tons of guilt. Because, well, guilt sucks, man. And although I feel that I’ll always carry around some extra guilt (cause that’s how I do), well, I have to draw the line somewhere.
So, here’s where the balance comes in. I’ve been banking a lot of my accrued vacation time and have decided to use those days for not just “me” time, but time to spend with my daughter. So last Friday, we went to a ladies’ luncheon with my older cousins. And then we went to visit Grandma. Maybe another day off to get in that long run? Sure, why not? And it takes some of the pressure off of those “precious” weekend days. I’m even trying to talk girlfriends into taking a planned hooky day! So, who’s down?