Finding Me-Time

i am realizing more and more how much i’ve neglected to take time for myself lately. it is entirely my fault, and i know that, so i really have no room to complain. but in the last week, it has become blatantly obvious that i need to step back, and take a breather. even if it’s for an hour, just one day a week. i think even that little bit would make a world of difference.

the last 4 years being on my own have made me realize how much i truly need me-time. since we had caylin, neither of us have had the down time we were used to having, obviously, and that’s fine. but i think that makes it even more crucial that we make an attempt to meet our own needs. the past several nights, i’ve been so dead tired and out of it and cranky by 9PM that i can barely keep my eyes open and i am no fun to be around. which is unfortunate for brett.

i’ve been trying to go go to bed at a “reasonable” hour. reasonable being between 11 and midnight, since she’s been up until 9:30 lately. i still want to spend time with just brett. an hour or 2 a day hardly seems like enough.

i’m waking up an average of 2-3 times per night for caylin (not bad at all, it’s fantastic comparatively). then i’m usually up around 7, depending on when she starts to stir. i entertain her until my mom gets to the house around 8. shower/get dressed/etc at 8:15. leave for work at 8:50. work until 5. when i get home, my mom usually hangs around an extra 20 minutes so i can tidy up, change into something comfortable, make all of caylin’s formula, and get dinner at least prepped. i put caylin down for her nap (ideally) around 6. make dinner while she’s sleeping, and usually around 6:30-6:40, by the time it’s time for me to eat dinner, caylin wakes up. so brett and i entertain her and switch off and on so we can both eat our food. and then the whirlwind begins–toys and jumper time and bouncer time and formula time and dancing and doing whatever it is to make caylin happy until it’s time for her to go to bed. she stays awake for like 3 and a half hours at a time now, sometimes 4. last night she didn’t go to bed until at little after 10. oh. my god. i was beat.

lately, i consider work my “down time”. down time means i’m not doing everything with caylin on my hip or swinging her around or trying to keep her busy and happy or worrying about her every need every second of every hour. i am fully convinced that i am not built in such a way that i could ever be a stay-at-home mom. i’m pretty sure i would die of exhaustion. i LOVE spending time with caylin, and i thoroughly enjoy our full weekends with her, but having 8 hours at work is my “relief” for the day. i need it. i NEED to work and be out of the house and have my mind elsewhere.

however, it still doesn’t allow me any me-time. which is totally different from down time. me-time is just that. time alone. SPARC is not time alone. SPARC is team time, and i love it. but it is also mentally exhausting, being around so many people. it only took 26 years for me to figure out just HOW introverted i really am. this company really makes it obvious.

home? home is not me-time either. when caylin was a few months younger, her nap schedule was completely different. i could come home, cook dinner, and by the time brett and i had eaten, caylin was ready to sleep for an hour, and she would still be ready to pass back out at 8 or 9 for the night. during that hour i would zumba and shower, brett would go run and shower, and that was our me-time. there is no longer a nice convenient window for that.

sometimes, on the weekends when she’s taking a long afternoon nap, i’m able to go to the grocery by myself or make a target run. this is sufficient me-time for a while, but it doesn’t always happen. right now, i’ve been reveling in my drives to and from work with skid row radio on spotify. that has been my sole outlet. kind of sad when i actually put that in writing. even more sad that i don’t mind the bad traffic days anymore because it gives me more time to unwind.

and i know it is as easy as asking brett to watch caylin for an hour, but every time i think of doing that i either feel guilty for asking him, or i feel guilty for neglecting an hour that i COULD be spending with caylin, since our time with her on weeknights is limited. and brett absolutely loves being with caylin. i KNOW he doesn’t mind. he is a freaking awesome daddy to her and can do absolutely everything she needs. but for some reason i feel so bad taking that window of time and “forcing” it on him, like he’s on the clock or something while i go do something for ME, and i’m not there sharing it with them.

lately he has been taking advantage of the half hour window where i’m putting her down for her last nap before dinner to go run. i am so envious of this. because he doesn’t feel bad about doing it–he just does it. he knows i don’t mind, and i know he needs it. so why can’t i allow myself to do the same? it makes no sense. at the expense of my own energy level, happiness, and overall well-being. i should be able to buck up and be like, LOOK, i need to do this.

i don’t know if it’s one of those things that will eventually work itself out, or if this is just parenthood in all its glory. or a bit of both. i know it will get easier (and probably harder in every other aspect) as she gets older. she is growing so fast that i hate the thought of missing any amount of time with her. and at the same time, i feel like if i don’t take some time to myself, i won’t be able to enjoy all my time with her (or brett) as much as i should. i can’t tell which is better or worse.