I have been spending a fair amount of time on myself lately. The kids are a little older and better able to entertain themselves without too much risk of anyone being tempted to stick a fork in an electrical outlet while unsupervised. And I finished that bloody degree last summer. So I have had some unstructured time to kill for the first time in years. Of course the kids are involved in multiple activities which require chauffeurs, chaperones or spectators, but really, I have been kind of looking for things to do.
So I have been taking some yoga classes, and I enrolled in a Creative Writing course.
At a social gathering recently, a friend asked what I have been doing with all my spare time. When I told her, she made a little joke. Something like, “Well how dare you do something for yourself!” She made it sound as if she was joking. But since then, I have been feeling extra guilty abut my Jenn-time.
The problem is, there are lots of things I want to do, and so many days pass without me doing many of them. They just get prioritized out of the schedule. I know I am very lucky to have a husband who cooks and drives, but even working part time, there are days that I feel like every minute is spent in the service of someone else.
So I have been making it a priority to spend some time doing the things I want to do. Like yoga and writing. And in the back of my head, I keep feeling the need to rationalize it.
I tell myself that a balanced, fit me with external interests is a better spouse and parent. I tell myself that someday the kids will move out and I will have a much easier transition to Empty Nester than one who lived her life enslaved by her children.
But today I missed a choir performance (I was working) and dinner with the family (I was exercising). That makes me feel guilty. I spend a disproportionate amount of time planning my week so I can fit in everything I want to do. We have a designer coming on the weekend to give us some home decorating advice. I am trying to figure out how I can fit 2 runs, a yoga class, grocery shopping, pick-up from choir, delivery to piano and guitar lessons, a hockey game (watching), a creative writing assignment, and a house cleaning around 16-24 hours of work (between 2 jobs), in the 4 days before he arrives. Oh, also on my mind is a lecture I agreed to give which is related to neither of my jobs, so I will need to prep that on my own time, over the next few weeks.
According to my new 99 cent iPhone app, I average 7 hours of sleep per night. I also average a bottle of wine per week (that’s all, I swear).
So while I will not apologize for spending time on me, I acknowledge that it does make me feel guilty. I try my hardest to do it all… and I think I do a decent job of it (although not to hear my pre-teen daughter tell it, on days when the moon is full or the hormones are raging). I guess I will need some more yoga classes to help zen me out of that. In the end, I do think it will make me a better person. And that is my rationale for being selfish.