Thursday, October 21, 2010

Me Time - Selfish or Necessary?

I was at a meeting the other day and we were discussing moms getting out and doing things for themselves. It made me think about how whenever I bring up 'me time' to other moms there seems to be two camps of moms: Camp 1. Me time? YES PLEASE   and Camp 2. Me time? No, I'd prefer to be with my family.

As a FIRM member of Camp 1 I have a difficult time understanding those moms that like to be in Camp 2. Since becoming a mom I've had a hard time establishing who 'Jody' is and making sure that other's also view me as more than just a mom, being a stay at home mom makes this even  more difficult. Why is it that some moms feel it necessary to distinguish themselves as more than just a mom and some believe the title 'mom' is simply enough?

Is being a mom rewarding in itself? Yes, at times it really is. When I see my kids do or say something I know I helped teach them - it can be a proud moment. Or those times they catch you off guard and say something very sweet, it's a moment to treasure. But there's the rest of the day where you are a chauffeur, a cook, a house cleaner, a human kleenex (if one more kid uses my shirt to wipe their nose I think I'll scream), a craft queen, a teacher, a disciplinarian, etc, etc. All the things you are that you pretty much never get credit for and that goes unappreciated. For me, those are the things that can be very mundane and draining, I will fully admit that I get bored after 2 minutes of playing with playdough!

So, as a member of Camp 1 I find it essential to my well being to get in my 'Me Time'. I volunteer, I read, I get together with girlfriends, join clubs, and work out. It's not about trying to remember who I was before kids, it's about defining myself WITH kids.

Now the question is, is that selfish? I'm sure some moms would jump right up and say that yes it is selfish to worry about myself when I should be taking that time to work with my kids on potty training, or spelling, or how to use scissors. I could be making homemade birthday cakes, making Halloween costumes from scratch and making sure I document all the things that my children so I never forget and can show them in the future. This is where I will fully admit to ANY man, woman or child - I am NOT a perfect mom, nor will I ever strive to be one. I am however a good mom that makes mistakes. I choose to buy that birthday cake because it saves me hours of labour in which I usually spend some of that time with the kids and some of it on myself.  I choose not to hand make a Halloween costume because again, it would take me DAYS to even figure out how to sew. Days I could spend with my kids at the park and nights I could spend doing volunteer work, or reading a book - things I enjoy.

The reason I do these things for myself is I feel it makes ME a better person. It allows me time to breathe, to express myself through my own interests and recharge my batteries that get drained throughout the day when I do all my mom jobs. If some call me selfish for that, I understand but I will not apologize nor will I change. It's simply what I need to do to get through the day and be the decent mom I am. Without those things, I'm pretty sure I'd have to go back to work full-time and let someone else watch my kids as I would be useless to them!

Me & my mom at a breast cancer fundraiser.

Me time or not? I wonder if this is something we are taught from our own moms? What I learned from my mom was to see her as more than just 'mom'. She worked part-time from the time I was 3 and started full-time when I was 6. She had women's groups she belonged to. She played softball. She also went on dates with my dad on a weekly basis. It made me see her as mom and also as Lorraine. So it seems I take after her.

Selfish or necessary? I guess it's up to each mom to decide for herself.

I would be most interested to hear from someone in Camp 2. If you fall into that category or know someone who does please comment and let me know what recharges your batteries, what drives you, and how you feel appreciated for your efforts.

Disclaimer: I personally hate the phrase 'just a mom'. As a mom I know that no one BUT a mom knows what it all entails so I feel able to use that phrase. But just a piece of advice, unless you are a mom I'd avoid using that phrase or you might get the snotty shirt mentioned above thrown at your head.


  1. I totally agree with you Jody. I think Moms who ensure that they nuture themselves as well as their children, teach their children very valuable lessons about respect, self-esteem, and individuality. I think it is important that kids see a family is a team of people, rather than the parents as staff for the kids. Me time is definitely not selfish, it's very healthy!

  2. I am a proud member of Camp 1. I need to make sure I'm taken of so that I can be a better mom to my daughter. It's like the whole airplane emergency thing... give yourself the oxygen mask first before you give one to your child. If I'm happy, rested and relaxed, my time with my daughter will be that much more enjoyable for her.

    However, I have to say I do some of the things that you mentioned (cooking a birthday cake from scratch and sewing dresses for my little girl) BUT I do those things because I like to do them... I love baking and I love sewing; to me it's no different than reading a book, going to a movie or going out with some friends). So if anyone were to say, you make clothes for your daughter??? I would say, heck yeah but it's completely selfish!

    From one proud Camp #1 Mama

  3. Does camp 2 really exist? Really? The only person I know who MIGHT fall into it - well - I offered to host a playdate she could walk away from. She had that sudden look of freedom in her eyes and said "that would actually be really great!"

    I have my suspicions that many or all feel the need to be their own person - just maybe they don't all feel they have the right. Unfortunate, but I believe true.

    By the way, I love the role model you're providing for your children. It's something I can only stive for. :)

  4. Oh yes, they most certainly exsist. I've received some VERY dirty looks when I've made jokes about how anytime someone wants to go out to get away from their kids I'll go with them!

    Usually that's when I get comments about 'I'm perfectly happy with my children, I'd never leave them' or 'we would never consider a trip without our children, the reason you have kids is to be WITH them not AWAY from them'.

    Believe it or not I've even had some comments that were more firm than that last one so it always makes me wonder if they think I'm an unfit parent for wanting space away from my kids.

  5. Since posting, I've actually asked a few people if they know someone in camp 2. Still haven't found any! Either they are WAY in the minority, or it just says something about the kind of people I know. :)

    I understand the point of wanting to be with your children - that that's why you have them. Of course you do! Just not all the time. They can't seriously think you're the mom who escapes to the Bahamas with her Italian boyfriend and never returns . . . . (Perhaps their comments would apply then.)

    I have to admit though, I am wondering if these people are misunderstanding your point, have some sort of warped image to protect, or (especially with the comment of never going on an alone trip) if they'll realise how much therapy they'll need once they have the "empty nest" syndrome.

    I still support that you're once of the best examples of a mom that I've ever seen. If you need references, I'll be happy to supply one!