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"Me time"

 I just finished the book Ready or Not... There We Go! The Real Experts' Guide to the Toddler Years with Twins by Elizabeth Lyons. I liked the book in a lot of ways (great tips for dealing with two toddlers) and felt the weight of the world on my shoulders in other ways (I will be dealing with two toddlers). One of the things she talks about is "Gotta Get Outta This Place!" on page 37:
"Next to childproofing, the most important focus over the next few years is undeniably taking care of yourself. The phrase 'get outta this place' is meant both literally and figuratively. There is no doubt that you'll need to get out of your home every now and then to get some space, some time to regenerate and reflect, and the opportunity to finish a gossip magazine so you're crystal clear on whether or not Brad and Angelina really are engaged. You'll also need to get out of the place in your head that is preventing you from putting a positive spin on less-than-positive experiences."

She has a few suggestions on places to go when getting out of the house, but I'm stumped. My problem is not that I have nowhere to go without the kids, but I have too many! Even when D was a toddler, I felt the same. My husband was out to sea a lot and I had a to-do list a mile long. My friends, then, were all Navy wives, most of them with husbands (literally) on the same boat as mine. If there was a girls' night with the FRG, who would watch our kids? We are all going to the same girls' night. Then there were doctor's appointments... hair appointments... nail appointments... I had to choose when I needed a sitter (and what I could do myself at home) so that I wasn't dropping D off at my girlfriend's house every morning. Now that I have three kids, including one-year old twins, I feel like even if I wanted to drop my kids off with one of my girlfriends, who would watch them? My friend with one-year old triplets? My friend with a kindergartner and infant twins? My friend with 17-month old twin toddlers? Without an FRG, I made most of my friends through the local multiples group. And, even if one of my friends went temporarily insane and volunteered to watch my boys, there is still the issue of getting them there, will they need a nap at all, and how long they can stay.

The boys "holding still" for a picture.
North Carolina July 2012

My husband is wonderful and is always supportive of working out our schedules so that he can take the boys. But his schedule isn't that open. He has to study to maintain his GPA. He has obligations with the ROTC. He has study groups and group projects. And I feel bad always running out the door as soon as he gets home, "C is constipated; D didn't finish his lunch; O can only nap for another thirty minutes! Oh, and feed the dog! I don't think he ate today! Love you!" I did find a great drop-in childcare place that will watch all three boys for me at a discounted rate of $20 an hour. Dropping them off for five hours while I get my to-do list done-- one of those items being couponing for diapers-- just isn't always practical, especially since we utilize this place often for dinners sans children or to have a little down time (has anyone else dropped their children off at childcare and went home to enjoy peace and quiet?).

I hear from strangers and parenting books alike to make time for yourself to be the best mom you can be. I totally, 100% agree. If I couldn't get out of the house without the kids every now and then, I think my "Love Tank" would be running on fumes. But what qualifies as "me time"? My husband has the ability to stop at the office supply store on his way home, get a hair cut, get lunch with guys in the ROTC, and study in the library. (Listen to this: the library on campus doesn't have a story time hour and you must talk quietly in there! I dream about spending hours in there sipping lattes from the student store... Lucky dog.)

I need a baby-sitter to: get my hair done, visit the "lady doctor," visit my regular doctor, visit my specialist, go to the dentist, work out, shower, do long shopping trips or make multiple stops (have you tried doing a one-hour grocery trip, children in tow, then stopping at the dry cleaners, post office, bank, and pharmacy on your way home? That becomes a three-day to-do list), take one of my boys to to his specialty doctor, take one of my boys to a doctor's appointment just for him (not his brothers as well), and go clothing shopping for the boys. These are things I do regularly. So, throw in time for me to: write in a coffee shop, get my nails done, buy new jeans, a bra, or make-up (having children in tow and trying on multiple items of clothing is a no-no and the make-up counter is not fun with curious hands), or meet a girlfriend for coffee (or a glass of wine). Those are things I want to do or may need to do. I also have a dream list of relaxing splurges: massage, shoe shopping, a weekend away with my husband (or by myself), etc...

Do any other moms feel that their problem isn't "I just don't know what to do with myself" but "I have way too many things I need to do without my kids in tow"?


Anonymous said…
I totally agree. I'm lucky enough to have my in-laws close for those dr appts for me or the twins. But I have to say whenever she offers help to "run some errands" I have to think .. Ok, I'm going to do one fun thing for me and then something else necessary or else I would go crazy. :)
Because like you said we do go to the store, pharmacy, post office, etc all together but it's the trying on of clothes or tricky stroller-maneuvering stores that I can't do with them.
Oh and on the massage note- I got a gift certificate in Dec. and still haven't gone!! :)
Kimber said…
Haha! My husband bought me a day at the spa when the twins were born mid-April. I used it the following March!
Jane said…
Love the blog, thanks for sharing it on my FB!! The answer is yes, I totally get this! I feel like I spend all day thinking what I need to do and as soon as they go for a nap my mind goes blank! Blogging is a great escape (even though it mostly ends up being about them!) and I have really appreciated the little virtual community it has created :)
Kimber said…
Jane, what's the address for your blog?
I've also found that blogging, like journaling, has become a catharsis for me.
Kimber said…
I just realized as I was writing my most recent blog post, titled "Calling 'twins!'" that I commented on a couple of your blogs at: Perhaps it is the toddler years speaking, but, for the life of me I could NOT remember sharing my blog anywhere... :) So, if you are the Jane I'm thinking of, I'm actually reading your book right now, Double Time, and have been keeping your family in my prayers. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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