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I think that for many of us, "Me" time is a myth. It is so much work to eke out the time and motivation to put ourselves higher on the list that we would simply rather not struggle with it.

Few of us have good role models of this behavior, because we didn't see it from our mothers. They worked hard, they kept house and raised children and possibly went to work as well. There was always something that needed doing, often two things at a time. My memories of my parents watching television in the evening were these: My dad in his chair, watching the show, and my mom in her chair, watching the show and folding laundry.

It seems like the only way to find "me" time is to let other things go undone, and that's very very difficult. It doesn't seem as difficult for men, possibly because they're wired differently and possibly because they had different role models growing up.

There is an enormous amount of guilt carried around by women who don't think that they are doing enough, being enough, earning enough, caring enough, and accomplishing enough. I know I feel it, despite the fact that (cognitively) I know I am working hard and I am a worthy soul.

On some basis, this pattern must work for us. If it wasn't working for us in some way, we'd change. I think that we actually feel better when we're last than when we're first. I think it must be more natural to put others first.

And I think we're overly optimistic. I know that we believe, in our hearts, that if we JUST work a little harder, we actually COULD get the to-do list finished, cook healthy meals, work out, manage the household, get the kids from school, watch all their games, enjoy a relationship with our husband, keep in touch with friends and find some meditation time in there somewhere.

Those things I've listed right there? That's a fulltime job, and I haven't even mentioned working outside the home.

I think the best we can do, sometimes, is baby steps. To figure out one small thing we could do and do it. Maybe it's scheduling a workout in our calendar, like you suggested; or maybe it's just being determined to work on our guilt.

See the things you already do. Give yourself credit for them -- and it should be at LEAST as much credit as the things that go undone. If you first balance the way you think about yourself, it will be easier later on to try to balance your life.

Really. We have to get off our own backs first, I think. And that's a lot easier said than done.

May 11, 2009 - 8:36am


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