Last month, my husband was not home much. His job required him to go in early and leave late. Most nights, he wouldn’t be home until close to 9:00. So for a while, it was just me and the baby. And it normally is just me and the baby, but my husband usually comes home earlier, so I have assistance for at least some of the time and as my son gets older, he gets more active and more daring. If I am not on top of him, I’m not entirely sure what trouble he will get into.
Plus, he was getting his first year molars. Active, teething baby.
Towards the end of the month, I started to lose my focus. I began to worry about what I wasn’t getting done, instead of what I was doing.
What I was doing was being a parent. That’s an important job. If I was paid for being a parent, I would be making major bucks. There’s a chart.
But sometimes, I forget that. In the midst of not going food shopping when I should, not getting the laundry done on time, the crumbs that are all over the floor and the tears and the falls and the constant-ness of everything, I start to lose my focus.
And I don’t always redirect well. Without my husband around to take some of the responsibilities of child raising, I found other activities to do. I went out and bought frames for all the pictures that I wanted to hang up. I made a Family Celebrations plaque– with well meaning intentions, as it was a gift. I made a shadowbox with wedding mementos and have another planned for our son. I designed quote frames, and photo books. I made a schedule for my son’s day and a chart that tracks what happens when he misbehaves. When I couldn’t do anymore, I sat down and began watching The Tudors and Call the Midwife on Netflix.
And as I kept finding more and more things to fill my time, I realized that I was pulling away from the two people that I should have been giving my time to. I acknowledge that parenting is a full time job, one with no sick days, no vacation time, no breaks, no rests, no days off. Being a wife is more than a title; it’s a lifelong commitment.
But, from this experience, I can recognize that every so often, when I feel myself losing focus again and trying to fill my life with more stuff and busy-ness, that it is all right to look up and ask for a few moments– okay, I would like hours — so that I can recenter myself and not forget who I should be focusing on.
I have to remind myself that it’s okay to take time for myself; it’s okay to want ‘me-time.’ I just didn’t realize how much I needed it, until I didn’t have it.