Before I get into the specifics of what I've been doing for "me" time, I'm going to rant a bit about our society's obsession with busyness and martyrdom. When asked how we are doing, when don't we answer "super busy!"? How often do we complain about "not having enough time" for XYZ or scoff snarkily about "who has time for that?"
I really like the attitude expressed in this quote by Laura Vanderkamp in the Wall Street Journal (full article here):
Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels.
Her blog is full of practical advice on money & time management, with a focus (as I see it) on abandoning this cultural narrative of the frazzled working mother with no time to herself. Some of the research on these topics is fascinating (especially fascinating is the fact that people do research on these topics!) One statistic that struck me was from a lame internet poll asking working moms "when was the last time you had "me" time?"---51% said they "couldn't remember". This was taken to mean that it's been so long that they can't remember (what a great mother! what a great worker! always on the job). I call BS on that. How many people go even 3 days without doing ANY of the following: watching TV, reading, surfing the internet, talking on the phone? The problem isn't that the "me time" is so infrequent, the problem is that the activity was so unsatisfying and un-energizing as to be unmemorable. I think most people do have free time, we just tend to fritter it away and then wonder where it went.
So I've been trying to make my limited leisure hours more meaningful. Less time on i-phone scrabble or random internet surfing and more intentional and restoring pursuits. Ironically, though I originally pegged reading as my go-to activity, I simply have not been able to get into any of the fiction I've got piled on my dresser right now.
But I've actually been sewing! I made a skirt for myself, and a pillowcase for B. My seams aren't quite straight, and the pillowcase is completely ridiculous because I forgot to plan for the 4th side.I decided to do buttons and brought a big bag of buttons (oh my, that could be a tongue-twister) online--oversized primary-color ones in "fun shapes" for kids. I tried using the "buttonhole foot" & it was a mangled mess so I just (oh the shame) CUT little slits for buttonholes & hand-sewed the buttons. Even 2-year-old B, while happy with the pillow overall, looked at the buttons and said "i don't like this mummy, fix it". I also have been doing something I have heretofore REFUSED to do, and that is bake complicated desserts for no particular reason.
Its actually been fun, and tremendously satisfying, to create things that can be enjoyed by myself and others. I never considered myself the "crafty" sort, but I am starting to see the appeal. Yes, there are many evenings when I want to just veg out and be passively entertained, but I definitely plan to incorporate more sewing projects and dessert-making into the mix. I want to sew a skirt for my 2-year-old niece (I have no girl children to sew for, sigh) and try my hand at making a pie (no I have never made a pie).
"Who has time for that?" I do.