I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been an all or nothing person. I’m either completely in to something, or I can’t make myself interested. This is something that’s proven a challenge from time to time.
Until I find that something.
Then the heavens open up and the stars align and I am IN MY ZONE. During these seemingly magical moments, I feel a complete peace within myself.
Reading and I are old friends. We have been synonymous with one another since I first put sentences together. Journaling gives me a profound sense of recording my past, and in a way allows me to revisit it at any time. Over my early twenties, kayaking, cooking, and travelling all became an innate part of my identity.
Then I became a mother and suddenly I didn’t have the time for these things anymore.
(Let me pause with the obvious disclaimer that my little boy is much more important than whatever I’ve given up. Because, for lack of a better term, duh.)
It was interesting going through that first year not quite understanding who I was anymore. For so long, so many of these activities shaped who I perceived myself to be: how I spent my time, how I defined myself. I had gone through this slightly when I got married, when I spent more time with my husband and less by myself. But there is a big difference between watching a show together after work and being a full time parent.
In the past year I have read approximately one book and started three others before losing interest because they weren’t worth my limited spare time. Cooking is less of a relaxing pace and more of a race to get dinner on the table before bedtime. While I have travelled, it is far different to go on vacation with an infant than when you can decide to go to Las Vegas and be out the door within an hour. I haven’t even touched my kayak.
I have been able to get creative in several of my friends’ and families’ celebrations, and I pinterested the crap out of Jackson’s first birthday. But these projects were much less a daily (or even biweekly) relaxing time and more of a rush to finish while Glenn took care of Jack. It’s not the same when you’re feeling guilty for spending time on something frivolous when you could be spending time with your child.
That’s the other thing. While everyone says that you need to take time for yourself, it’s awfully hard to do it when your baby wants to spend time with you. (And, of course, laundry. We can’t forget laundry.) So, as a result, you do less.
And that’s where I am, I guess. I suppose I just haven’t decided what is so important to me that I take that precious time to enjoy it for myself. Frankly, I know that I also waste a lot of my day doing things that occupy my time but don’t bring me much joy. While an easy target, Facebook certainly is a good mind suck.
I still miss that all-encompassing passion. The will to stay up all night, losing yourself in a story where you forget who you are and take on the life of the main character. The moments when you can forget all your responsibilities (even the ones you love dearly), even for just an hour or two, and completely focus on something that thrills you.
I wonder if this is something we regain in time, when our babies come to rely on us less. Or is this a rite of passage? Do we lose that ability to completely separate ourselves forever, even if just for a short period?
I don’t think so.