Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Me time???

by: Joelle Charbonneau

While talking to a friend the other day, I was asked the question, “When do you have time for you?”

Time for me?

The question stopped me dead in my tracks. Perhaps it shouldn’t have. But it did. Which probably isn’t good. Most days, I’m so busy taking care of my son, making sure the house doesn’t dissolve into complete disarray (notice I didn’t say keeping it pristine), teaching voice lessons, getting dinner ready for my family, spending time with my husband and somewhere in the middle of all of that getting writing done. Who has time to take time for hair cuts or movies or anything else that might be considered “me time”?

Now that I think about it, I realize that the time I’ve always considered “me time” is actually writing time. For years, writing felt like a hobby. I sat down and wrote stories. No one was paying for them. Heck, aside from my family and a few brave agents no one read those stories. Was it work to create them? Yes. But the lack of income made me rationalize that the time spent on those stories was time spent on me. It made me feel less guilty when I was writing instead of cleaning toilets or scrubbing the floor. Good plan, right?

Then. Yes. Now…not so much.

Almost three years ago, I transitioned from writing as a hobby to writing as a job. But I never transitioned from thinking about my writing as time spent on me to time spent on my work. And that’s a problem. I mean, we all need time to recharge our batteries. Right? We need to get a haircut (which I only remember to do one or two times a year) and a manicure (which I’ve only done once because my mother insisted I had to) or a massage (which some day I plan on doing). No matter what job you are doing, and how much you define yourself by that job—you need time away from it in order to be the happiest, healthiest person you can be.

Of course, now that I’ve worked that out, I have no idea how to set aside time to spend on me. This is where you come in. I need help. Lots and lots of help in figuring out how to make this happen. How do you do it? How do you spend time with family, do your work, make sure the house doesn’t disintegrate into chaos and still carve out moments to do something you enjoy just for you? Trust me when I say, I will be waiting anxiously for your thoughts!

8 comments:

  1. I'm curious about the answers, too. I'm super bad at finding "me" time, too. And when I try to, I feel so guilty that I spend the whole time stressing over the stuff I SHOULD be doing.

    I guess you need to define what you find as fun and make a point of putting it on your calendar each week. And just like all the other things you HAVE to do on your "to do list" or calendar, then that, too, should have to be done.

    good luck!

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  2. I had some me time this weekend--well, it was more "we" time as my husband and I got away overnight. Now, I'm sick. (Can't stay until 1 am and expect to stay healthy...that's what it means to be middle aged.) I figure I'll get some me time in 6 years when child #2 goes to college...until then, I have to be content to hide in the bathroom, sitting on the edge of the tub, reading old issues of Sports Illustrated and pretending that I can't be disturbed. Maggie

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  3. You schedule it in your planner just like you would a date night with girlfriends or a date night with the spouse. You look at your calendar... schedule a babysitter... and leave. Manicure, massage, shopping, haircut... you plan it and you do it! Or, hire me as your personal secretary and let me plan it for you.

    Me time is very important, sweetie. And I know it's easier said than done. Love you!

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  4. Three words for you: bathroom door lock.

    Apply liberally!

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    Replies
    1. Eons ago when my kids were little we had a rule that no one could lock the bathroom door. As a result I often had visits from little neighborhood kids during my bathroom time. This was in the days when little kids, 3 years old and up, roamed the neighborhood. Certainly a different time. I had no conception of "me time" at all during the day. My kids went to bed at 9 p.m. My time was the couple of hours before I went to bed.

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  5. Joelle, I've always thought of writing time as "me time," too, even when doing it full-time as a career. It took a while to realize that isn't the kind of "me time" I really need. Because as much as I love it, it's still work. I am so not good at offering advice on how to relax because I'm so bad at it! But this pregnancy is teaching me to slow down and to sit down, away from the computer, now and then. I'm realizing it's okay to just take a moment to breathe, pet a cat, watch the birds at the feeder, and recharge for a bit. Good luck finding your "me time!"

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  6. I remember taking up Transcendental Meditation in the 70's so I would have 20 minutes twice a day so I wouldn't be disturbed. Between the children, the house, going to school, and trying desperately to hang on to a marriage that wasn't going anywhere, I didn't know what me time was. I learned to schedule it as has been suggested. An hour at the mall, an hour to hang out at school. But my kids were older than your little one. A lot of the young parents I know switch off baby sitting to get some precious time alone. As some of you know, I just lost my last cat, and I realized I haven't ever lived alone. It's a very strange feeling, not having another being demanding of my time and attention. I'm not really enjoying it right now, but we will see. There's some writing that I want to do. And....

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  7. Lil, I'm thinking some cat will call your name one of these days, and you'll eventually have a fur-buddy again (so sorry about Molly--I know how you must miss her as I've lost several fur-kids in the past, too). Yes, write! Sounds like that might be a good channel for your emotions. And you never know what might come of it. Hugs!

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