(Why yes! That is myself and my three girls taking a picture in a public restroom. Remember, homeschool moms go everywhere with their children. Everywhere. ;o)
Other forms of the same question include, but are not limited to:
Of course, I do have some time all to myself. I try to get up in the morning when it is quiet to read, and there are times when my friends and I try to find the nearest Ikea ASAP and away we go, and my husband and I get a date most Fridays. I consider those all breaks. But, I know the question pertains to the day time, every day.
I am a busy-type person. Even if I didn’t home school three children, or weren’t a wife to my husband…didn’t have a dog and a photography business on the side…and a large garden, I would still find things to keep me busy and have very little “down” time, or breaks. I like to accomplish things and it gives me satisfaction. I would want to be busy even if I weren’t, and I don't feel I am a person who needs a lot of breaks.
But not long after I first was asked that question, I started thinking about it…a lot. “Me-time?” Hmmm. Is that something I really would benefit from? Am I stifling that need for time alone like a grown woman stifles the need to steal her children’s Halloween candy from time to time?
(fingers crossed behind my back).
I didn’t think I was stifling that need, but wanted to be honest with myself, so I kept thinking on that question. I considered it over the course of a couple of weeks and came to a conclusion that brought some closure and put that question to rest—
However, my “me-time” looks different than it would for a parent who has a daily pocket of time when the kids are at school. As a mom at home every day with her elementary-aged children, it has to look different.
My “me-time” is spent painting with my kids at the kitchen table, water sploshing all over the sides of the table. Happy sighs evidence of contentment and the week’s stress rolling off our shoulders. We compare our color choices and we don’t care about the drips of paint that fall on our front, because the paint stains are reminders of the artists we like to be.
My “me-time” is spent snuggled beside my girls while we read our favorite books…silently. We shift and get comfortable three times in a row and she clears her throat, and the other laughs to herself. Sometimes, we break the silence here and there to say, “Listen to how this author explains the phases of the moon…”or, what does “philanthropist” means? Or…”I gotta go potty, mama!” I have spent several reading aloud sessions, spent just for the sole purpose of modeling what that time will look like, and showing our daughters how we can be all in the familiar together and not have to talk to fill the air.
My “me-time” has heightened my ability to relax while working; fielding questions and making small talk and directing independent lessons, all while creating an art piece for our home, or while editing photos I’ve taken of a client, both activities which relax and energize me.
It is a dance party in the living room, singing made-up songs about Leif Erickson and his sea voyages--something we read that afternoon in our History lesson.
It is side-by-side with my girls, chopping vegetables for tonight’s salad, beating frosting for carrot cake, and making lemonade on that hot Summer day.
It is a jog on the greenbelt with frequent stops to identify caterpillars, take pictures of new blossoms, wade in the creek, and buy popsicles at the Jacksons up the street.
It is a trip to the art museum where you stare and stare at one painting only to be able to guess it’s meaning…one that does not sit well with your 9-year-old girl who is full of logic and doesn’t understand the purpose of abstract art.
It is getting together with another mom for a cup of coffee, while the kids play and reenact the Boston Tea Party together, or just play baseball.
It is the ride in the car with the radio blasting, with several voices singing in unison. Then, later, being proud that your daughter loves the same song you danced to in 8th grade.
In short, I have learned the art of “me-time” while not alone--in the midst of everyday life and it is a satisfying journey I would never trade.
Some people say that my “me-time” isn’t “me-time” at all, but a shift in perspective. I smile.