Balancing act

I had the day off work Monday, and Noah’s daycare was open, so I had a nice chunk of time to myself, a rarity these days.

I took advantage of the time to spend about an hour browsing baby clothes and Target and working on a freelance assignment. I had the luxury of sitting and chatting with my interview subject for two hours over coffee.

As I was driving home around lunchtime, I started thinking about how rare it is for me to have (mostly) guilt-free time to myself.

Oh, mommy guilt.

Don’t get me wrong. Bobby does a great job of making sure I can take a break when I need one, but that doesn’t keep me from feeling bad about leaving the baby with him. Or not wanting to spend every free waking moment with Noah.

And honestly I could have kept him out of daycare on Monday, but it was an easy choice for me to send him. I can’t get as much done when I have him with me, and leaving him with Bobby wasn’t an option because Bobby had to work.

So what I was thinking as I was driving toward home was that maybe I should start taking a day or a half-day off work occasionally, just for me. The idea seems so extravagant.

My average weekday goes something like this: Get up, shower, get Noah up and dressed (alongside Bobby), feed myself and Noah, stuff diapers, pack him in the car. Drop him at daycare, go to work, eat lunch at my office (parking is a pain on campus while classes are in session). Pick Noah up from daycare, come home, cook dinner or part of dinner, play with Noah, Skype with Bobby’s parents, feed Noah, help get him ready for bed. Once Noah’s in bed (usually no later than 7:30), I typically spend some time catching up on writing for my blog and freelance and also housework and bills. By the time all this is done, I’m pretty much ready to just spend some time with Bobby or veg in front of the laptop. It’s pretty rare for me to go out and do anything on weeknights.

The weekends are a bit different since I don’t have to work, but they are often the time to catch up on all the stuff I’ve let slide during the week. And while Noah has become a bit more independent, he still requires (and, at times, demands) a lot of attention. The weekend just never seems quite long enough to get everything done.

There are so many things I want to do, and now that there’s a baby in the picture, it has gotten a lot harder to make time for those things. But I know it’s important that I continue to work at it.

Other moms, how do you manage to balance everything? Do you ever just take time off for yourself?

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6 responses to “Balancing act

  1. Wow… your days sound just like mine. To answer your questions I JUST DO. I know and David knows that if we both don’t get a little me time we are not fun to be around. I schedule GYM time for right after work. At first I felt guilty because this meant that Madilyn had to be in Day Care for at least an extra 1.5 hours. After a few weeks I did not feel guilt because going to the GYM helps the entire family. I also utilize nap time. For example yesterday while Madilyn was napping I went and got a mani/pedi. It was guilt free. David does the occassional night out with his friends and I am good with that because we both need our down time. Think of “me time” as required therpy, its not only good for you but for the entire family.

  2. Glad you had a relaxing day yesterday!

  3. Sounds like you had a great day. I always end up staying up late to get some “me time”, but I also attend a dance class most Mondays then once a month I have a “moms get together” at our church, where it’s kid and husband free. During dance and the get together, I don’t feel guilty, cause I let Joe know about them WAY ahead of time.

    As for balancing everything, I just have to realize that some things are not getting done or can wait. I decided this is the year I’m going to enjoy my little family and not worry so much about other crap that doesn’t matter. It’s all about perspective. :o)

    I think taking a day or half-day every once in a while sounds like a great idea and it will be totally refreshing.

  4. I used to just get breaks during nap time, which are really a terrible time for breaks because there is SO MUCH that I could be doing during nap time I would run around doing stuff I NEEDED to do instead of stuff I wanted to do and never really got a break at all. Now I try to take some time on the weekends for things like a manicure or solo shopping, but life (and my husband’s schedule) often get in the way. I actually can’t remember the last time I did something REALLY RELAXING instead of rushed.

    I think taking some time for yourself while Noah is at daycare wouldn’t even be an ISSUE if you were a dad instead of a mom. Don’t beat yourself up about wanting the time or about taking it. As soon as I can bring myself to hire a babysitter or get Evan into preschool I’ll be doing the same.

  5. We do “us” days off work all the time. It usually correlates with another errand but it isn’t all day consuming. Like carpet cleaning guy is coming…so I take the day and veg out by myself. Sometimes we take it off together and go to the movies in the afternoon or just go home and watch TV. We both feel better, Landon gets his schedule and we are all happier long term.

    One thing I found for the guilt with leaving LT with K was to set a standing appointment. Like I volunteered with a running group in the fall. Once a week I would be out of the house for 1.5 hours. I found I didn’t feel as guilty when it was just set in stone. Same thing with a photography class I took. I payed money…had to go. Helped me cope. I even feel guilty for the random GNOs because K doesn’t do a guys night but I have slowly come to realize that that isn’t my problem. He is welcome to…I can’t own that guilt.

    Also I work out at lunch…get pedicures..do me errands. It helps.

  6. Yep – I take days off from time to time – just to go to a yoga class, as I don’t seem to find the time on the weekends!
    When I was studying for my recertification last fall, I took days once or twice a month to study. Is it weird that that felt like me time? I’d go to Panera, which was a stone’s throw from Kohls! So, for “study breaks” I got breakfast & lunch out + a little shopping too. 🙂 Hmmm … I think I need to do this for my projects now!
    About every 2 months, I have to work a Saturday morning. I usually take a couple hours afterward to do something on my own – wander around Target mostly, like you! 🙂

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