Getting Enough Me-Time

14 Aug
picture courtesy lineloff.com

picture courtesy lineloff.com

As the summer comes to a close, I realize how the chaos around me has reached a crescendo.  I need a routine and order to bring some sanctity to my life.   School (or for us, homeschool) provides the structure that brings predictability and measurable progress. I often get a comment that has pricks my curiosity, strikes a nerve, and ultimately inspires a lot of introspection.  It goes something like this, “I could never homeschool my kids.  I need my me-time.”

I feel like answering this common question publicly.

When my children were preschool-aged, I regularly sent them to hourly childcare and part-day pre-school.  I would also call babysitters on days I needed some more help.  Then, whenever my hubby was free, I was happy to leave them with him.  This was my pattern.  If I am being honest, my existence as a mom began to resemble something from a Bravo Housewives episode, revolving mostly around me-time activities: gym, shopping, lunch with friends.

Yet, even after hours of being away, I would come home to the kids, and quickly get irked at how they’d get in my way and distract me from doing the things I really needed (er, um, wanted) to be doing.  I was becoming unhappy–begrudging them and my days.  Where was that peace and refreshment the me-time was supposed to replenish?

Here’s the thing.  No matter how much me-time I rack up during the week….it never feels like enough.  The more I get, the more I crave.

It sounds like I don’t love my kids.  I do.  I just had a warped idea of what my life was supposed to look like.  By the grace of God alone, I’ve recognized my shameful pattern.

Over time, as my outlook on me-time has transformed, I’ve become a lot more relaxed in the day-to-day operations.
The me-time that I DO get to myself, I deeply savor.
It is less frequent, but far more satisfying.  That paradigm shift also helped me have the courage to go ahead and venture into homeschooling.  So, yes.  I am with my children daily.  (So is Heather now!!)  We all have to go to the grocery store together, and I often attend appointments with all of them in tow…completely inconvenient.  But on the other hand we experience ideal days, with full freedom to go to Barnes and Noble for reading and warm drinks, or on a bug hunt to fill their watch-a-bugs.  🙂

Have you thought about what is going on in the world all around us?  Togetherness is a privilege.

It has been such a blessing to change my expectation of my me-time needs.  This is all a delicate balance.  Life’s chaos ebbs and flows regularly; embrace the crazy instead of fleeing it.  🙂  Hear me out—we do need periods of solitary retreat to recharge our batteries from time to time.  But ultimately, we need to look daily to the One who came, so that we may have life and have it in abundance. (John 10:10)  He spelled it out very clearly:

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
Matthew 16:25.

Enjoy your journey!
Leigh

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8 Responses to “Getting Enough Me-Time”

  1. laura carlton August 14, 2013 at 7:44 am #

    SPOT on…love this. I have to pray daily that Jesus will keep His priorities my priorities…otherwise my selfish need for “me-time” just takes over and my frustrations go through the roof. I just can’t keep the focus where it needs to be for very long. My discipline and strength gets used up QUICK. HE graciously supplies strength for the long haul. love you!

  2. Eric August 14, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    Well said!

  3. Melissa August 14, 2013 at 7:53 am #

    I began homeschooling my 3 sons 5 years ago. My 3 boys at the time were in 4th grade, 1st, and kindergarten. I also worked at the school as a teachers assistant and then a substitue when my youngest entered pre-k. Thank you so much for your honesty and transparency in this post. I get that comment all the time!!! And while everyone needs to find what is right for there family, we have found homeschooling to work best for us. It is a gift!

  4. momonthegoinholytoledo August 14, 2013 at 7:54 am #

    Great post! I admire your honesty and I am pretty sure most moms can relate. I went through something similar…it is crazy how the secular world almost encourages this type of thinking, making it easy to get caught up within ourselves at times.

  5. Tracey Flanagan August 14, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    Very well said!! I’m a firm believer that God will give us what we need in our day, if we begin our day with Him and keep Him at the center of our daily life. Happy Homeschooling to you and to Heather. (Let me know if you need anything Heather!!) ; ))

  6. Joy Nicholas August 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    Great words, Leigh!! I can totally relate to all of this! I recently read Kisses from Katie and was so struck by how she views loving and mothering as a privilege — such a far cry from the typical American “When do I get my ‘me time’?” mentality. Keep up the encouragement!

  7. the PRIME pursuit August 14, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    Thank you for your kind comments. Don’t think I have this all figured out, either!! I am just having to recenter constantly to make sure I remain grounded. Funny how I enjoyed my life MORE after I relaxed about my next me-time fix. As my friend Shelly said this morning, “it’s easy to slip back into an escape mode that doesnt truly satisfy”.

  8. Tammy August 15, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    So very true and very well said!! It is refreshing to see more and more people being awakened to the deception in the “me time” mentality. Only God can satisfy, fill us, and recharge us when and how we truly need it. So thankful for his grace and mercies…new every day!

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