I was beginning to notice the undercurrent of crankiness. Every little thing they did was driving me nuts. I was slamming and clanking my way through dinner prep, with that twitchy, hemmed in feeling that happens when I haven’t had any time to myself in a while.
I practically ran from the kitchen as I heard his car come up the driveway. I grabbed a coat and my wallet and just about bowled him over in the hallway in my hurry to get out the door.
“I need some broccoli and cauliflower” I yelled over my shoulder as I got in the car… alone.
When was the last time I drove anywhere on my own I wondered as I headed down the drive and into town. When was the last time I did anything without a child in tow?
A trip to the supermarket at freezing o’clock on a Thursday afternoon doesn’t really qualify as quality me time, but I knew our schedule was stacked so I took the only chance I had.
I wandered up and down every supermarket aisle, even the ones I rarely go down. I browsed the shelves, read ingredient lists, and pondered items there was no way I would ever buy.
There was no one pulling my hand in the other direction. There was no one arguing over which biscuits we should buy. There was no one telling me they wouldn’t eat that for dinner, or didn’t want this in their lunch box. There was no chatter about school, or questions about dinosaurs, or lying on the floor in the middle of the aisle and screaming.
It was lovely.
Eventually I put the broc and cauli in my basket, along with a carton of chocolate milk and a packet of straws and went through the check out. I really know how to party on my own!
I drove the long way home, an extra 5 minutes onto the 10 minute trip.
I listened to Radio National and pretended I was interested in grown up things.
I drank chocolate milk through a bendy straw without having to share, which kinda confirmed I was only pretending about the grown up thing.
I sat in the car for a moment when I got home, in silence. Who knew I would miss silence so much?
I took a deep breath, and headed inside… back to dinner prep, back to a floor scattered with legos, back to my kids and my husband, and back to my life.
Finding time for myself is not easy right now.
With four kids, and shift work, and commitments coming out my ears I often put myself at the bottom of the list. And I know, realistically I won’t have a big block of time myself any time soon, and I’ll choose sleep over a night out with my husband, and I’ll only dream about a weekend away with my girlfriends. But that doesn’t mean I will give up all together.
I’ll take the micro me time opportunities when I can, because even small chunks of space, little moments to breathe, and snips of time to regroup are worthwhile.
And I will remember that I am important.
I will remember that I am a better parent when I am not feeling stretched and hemmed in.
I will remember that finding time, and space, and silence to regroup is essential.
I will remember to notice the warning signs and take the small opportunities for space when I can.
And I will remember to keep dreaming and planning for bigger breaks… because I am important.
You are important too. Don’t always put yourself at the bottom of the list.