“Balloon animals are the best,” said no parent ever.

Yesterday, in my life, something amazing happened; amazing.

I do have to say, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that my mouth moves that way when I talk on video. Guys, I tried it 4 times and it just would not cooperate. I may tell it what to say, but it has its own idea about what looks cool.

But, I went out on my own! After sitting in that parking lot, taking multiple videos to try to get it right, I got myself some Dr. Pepper action and my large cup of ice. From there, I went to Wal-Mart and cranked my worship music while I ate my ice and people watched. I sat there for a good 10 minutes. Then I went to the store and got some things I needed and some things I didn’t, because sometimes you just have to. Of course most of the those things not needed were for my kids.

Just because I want time to myself doesn’t mean I want to forget about them. It doesn’t mean I want to not think about them. It just means I need to think. To be free to not worry about other human beings for a minute. Okay, I’m a mom so I’ll never really stop worrying about them, but at least when I’m out by myself I’m not in hover or spy mode. I don’t feel like I have to see everything at once. I just have to look right in front of me and try real hard not to knock things over. I’m not always successful with that.

Me time, or you time, is so important. It calms you down. It alleviates tension. It relieves stress. How can a walk by yourself do that? See above.

I’m tense in public because I’m watching for that person that wants to take my kid, or that car that’s not going to slow down, or that piece of candy beckoning my child from the public floor. I’m irritable because I’m trying to keep my kid’s emotions in check; I’m trying to make sure they don’t walk out of the store with something I didn’t pay for; I’m trying to make sure the glass shattering wasn’t my child’s doing.

That’s a lot, especially if you’re in that mode 24 hours a day 365 days a year. It becomes something you can physically feel. On any given day you can see on my face that I’m tapped. I’m emotionally and physically drained. I’ll say it again: having time to yourself doesn’t mean you want to forget about your kids or spouse. It shouldn’t produce guilt. It’s not wrong. It’s right. It’s necessary. It’s vital. You want to be a good mom, a good parent?  Take a few hours a week to yourself.

Trust me, I know. My oldest is about to be 6 and I can count using only my two hands how many days (accumulated hours) I’ve had to myself since then. You want to see a volcano? You want to see zero tolerance? You want to see rapid emotional swings? Don’t ever care about yourself. Don’t ever do anything for you.

Do you want to smile more? Laugh more? Hug more? Do you want to feel a little sane? Let’s face it, you’re a parent; you’ll never be 100% sane. Do you want to feel this:

IMG_7917

That’s me on my way out to my kid free errand. I was gone an hour, one single tiny little hour. It enabled me to go back home ready to be silly and go for a walk and laugh and smile. It prepared my mind and body to take my children by myself to the family event my husband’s work put on today.

The family event that offered food and ice cream and games and dwindled piles of toys and balloon animals. All right at their nap time.

That pink thing (look to the picture at the top, not the image of me) is not an exotic animal, in case you were wondering. It’s a cat. A cat whose face popped 30 seconds after we walked in the door.

I can honestly say that if I never see another balloon animal again, I will be one happy Mama. Don’t get me wrong, I love the look of delight on their faces and the sounds of awe that escape them when they see said magical beasts. What I don’t like is the wailing that comes when one of them pops or the screaming when one wants the other’s.

I mean, oy with the poodles already.

Because I don’t particularly care for my own wailing or screaming either, I’m going to try to do better for me. I’m going to try to take care of myself a little. Taking care of me means taking care of them and taking care of my husband. No one wants to be around a ticking time bomb. Let’s do better for them. Let’s do better for us.

What will you do better for you? It’s time. Get out. For you.

 

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