“When I have no time for me, I have no time for anyone.”
As a SAHM, finding a block of time that I can completely dedicate to myself with minimal interruptions is rather rare. In order to fulfil this need, I started to stay up after Gavin had gone to bed so I can spend some time writing, reading or just surfing the internet.
Although it means I usually get less sleep, I find filling this need for personal time just as important as getting sleep. On the nights when I am too tired to stay up or if I didn’t get a chance to go online for whatever reasons, I tend to veer off into two different modes during the day. I either feel more agitated and irritated easily, or I start to feel listless and a meaninglessness of my existence. And when I feel either of these emotions, I am unable to give the best of myself to the people I love.
Of course, to say that my existence is meaningless tends to diminish the importance of my son, but in no way do I mean that. If he weren’t so important to me, I would be off conquering the world and chasing after my career like the ambitious Type A personality that I am. Yet, at the same time, when I was on my own chasing careers and rock climbing grades, there was also a lack of meaning in my life.
I guess what I’m saying is that I need balance in order to feel fulfilled and to lead a meaningful life – at least one that is meaningful to me anyway. By balance, I’m referring to a need for personal time, personal achievements and of course family time. As a professional Mum, I don’t have any problems managing the latter, but it’s the first two aspects that I find difficult to fit into my life.
In an attempt to kill two birds with one stone, I try to combine my personal time with some sort of personal achievement. For instance, I spend my personal time blogging because I love to write and having something published online (no matter how trivial it might at sometimes) is about as big a personal achievement as I’m likely to get right about now. With the stigma on SAHMs being quite useless and brainless – at least that’s the impression that is conveyed to me whenever I write down “profession: homemaker” – I’ll relish whatever achievements I can pat myself on the back for and live up whatever past laurels I can hold on to just to stay sane.
It’s difficult to articulate how I feel about being a SAHM. When working Mum friends tell me how luck I am to be able to stay home with my son, I have to agree that I am blessed. But for those to think I get to stay home and do nothing, I seriously beg to differ. Raising a child is exhausting because you have to be a playmate, a companion, a teacher and a mother all at once. And when you have to do this all day and be on call all night, even the most dedicated mother needs a break from time to time just to stay sane.
Choosing to raise a high-needs toddler with a responsive parenting style, especially when he demands a lot of my time, creativity and patience, has been a very enriching experience and it has also taught me a lot about myself. However, it has also made me aware of how important “me” time is. “Me” time is a chance for me to reflect on my experiences, to think about more complex adult issues, and to dream. When I have “me” time, I find myself to be more energised, more willing to give and generally, a happier person.