Q: I'm a big fan of your blog and of tranquil space (I come from the church days). Before I became a mother just under 2 years ago I had all the time in the world. I practiced regularly at Tranquil Space, and did all the other things listed under how to "retreat" in yesterday's post [refer to August 27, 2006 post]. Even with a husband and nanny I STILL have no time for any of these things. I am a huge fan of yours and mean no disrespect, its just that I find myself growing increasingly frustrated with entries for people with much free time. I would love to see a post on how mothers of babies/toddlers can fit some "me" time into a very tight schedule.
A: Yeah for the church days! Thank you for writing.
Wow, you raise a very good question and I empathize with the inability to find "me" time with or without babies/toddlers. I believe it is an ongoing battle and one that we as women often tend feel like we're losing. You know the saying that you teach what you most need to learn? Well, I'm a huge believer in self-care but have to consciously carve it out in order to make sure it happens. Literally, I schedule it! I.e., hot bath, massage, pedicure, blank time.
I think this is the same for women in college, with newborns, with businesses (which are like their babies), in transition, and with caretaking of elderly parents. We have to make it happen or we're sure to implode. I recall a girl in college saying how she wanted to get a part-time job because she knew she would be more regimented with her study time if she had more on her plate and a schedule to follow. I found that fascinatingly odd. Now I get it. As I add more things to my plate, I somehow make them happen and it isn't that I've found more time in my day, it's simply that I've made it all a priority. Sure, I get frustrated at times by not having enough blank space but I also thrive on the challenge of juggling it all.
I hope that this helps as I can only imagine the energy that another little being consumes. It is crucial that you refuel with tips from the retreat post or other suggestions by readers as self-care is a must-have for our health. I encourage you to reflect on the possibility that other people may not have more time than you, it may simply be that they're playing with "reatreating" as a way of figuring out the juggling act that comes with a lot of their plates. Leave your loved one with your nanny or hubby for an hour or two this weekend and savor getting lost in a local bookstore (even if it is the parenting section that you're "escaping" to) or hitting a nearby museum. Keep me posted.