Monday, January 28, 2008

Me. Me. Me!

By late Saturday morning, the LTMD household seemed like it might be headed to Normal Land, where the tantrums and crying only minimally cause moments or hours of insanity -- not days, which is where we were for the last 9 to 10 days.

Insanity.

Other than to go to the doctor's office for the routine checkup that turned into the discovery of both girls having ear infections, I did not leave the house all week.

Back to late Saturday morning. The girls went off for a short car ride with their dad and I cleaned and it felt so absolutely amazing. The sun shined in through the curtains I opened and it felt like the Dawning of a New Day. Truly.

I made pizza for dinner and we all gobbled it up with our running noses and coughs taking a slight backburner to enjoy it. We felt anew.

That night we even almost slept through the night. Not quite, but it was better.

Then, smack dab in the middle of Sunday's CVSing, gasp!, I got a horrendous feeling of fever and illness. So much so that I didn't give $6 in coupons and only realized that later in the day. Imagine my disappointment.

But, this post isn't so much about all of that as it is about Me Time and the fact that I have been in need of Me Time for well over a month or two. I can't remember the last Me Time, in fact. I do not count grocery shopping as Me Time. I should be expected to, either.

More than that, though, we are lacking in We Time as well.

So, I want to talk this week about Me Time and We time as part of Mamablogga's group writing project.

My issue is this: How do we fit it all in? Where's the time? The energy? The money?

I had already been ready to pay for a sitter so Dan and I can have a date even if it's to McDonald's (because that McNuggets rap commercial has worked on me). Then, I knew I was overdue in Me Time as well and needed to work that in to the equation as well.

But, week nights after 12 hours caretaking of the tots and neglect of myself, all I want to do is sleep. Usually I have to get some work done, as well. Remember: I work during the girls' naps (when they honor me with such a perk to this job).

So, week nights in the winter, at least, are just not good for me for either date night or Me Time.

Then, the weekends are catch up to everything that didn't get done during the week. The laundry, the cleaning, the errands.

Factor all of that in to the fact that we're finally together as a family for once all week. I want to do things as a family, which is a whole heck of a lot easier than juggling outings by myself.

I just feel like it's an endless cycle and that Me Time and Date night are just not that easy to make happen since we don't have family to rely on.

We are going to hire a sitter as soon as we are all well again and we don't care if the girls stay up and cry all night, either. It has to be done. Our last date was February 2007. We need to get out of this house!

But, I'm also going to make Me Time happen this week -- as soon as I feel better.

How about you? How do you make this all happen? What's your secret? Do you have relatives to help you out with either babysitting or errands or cleaning?


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13 comments:

Krissy said...

Sometimes I take the kids into town and pick up my husband and we take him to lunch. It is a chance for us to have some of that family time I love, and then I don't feel guilty on the occassional weekends that we leave them for our date night, etc. Also, my hubby and I trade off having nights to ourselves. He playes poker with his friends some Friday nights, and I get together with my friends the other Fridays or Saturdays. It isn't a perfect system, and I too usually feel that "I am just too tired to go out in the dark, and cold, when I could be in my pj's," but when I do muster up the energy, I come home very refreshed. And we are very fortunate to have family nearby that dotes on the twins and are willing to watch them.

village mama said...

No secret, just copious amounts of money on our babysitter extraordinaire, and a cleaning lady. Of course I negotiated excellent fees for their time ;-)

bella said...

It's hard. And it does take intention and commitment, unlikely to just show up on its own.
Me? I have my sister. When I was pregnant I called her, asked if she wanted to raise a child together. :) Thank god she said yes.
We also use a sitter. And have found allies in our upstairs neighbors who have two kids and we swap childcare with them.
I think it does get easier as they get older. Leo is in school now and so there is time for work, for me, for cleaning and errands. I promise, they will not always be at home 24/7. :)
And I love what you said about ME time AND WE time. I've found that fi I don't get me time, I'm not that good for we time.
Oh, and we have Family Night every Friday, where we are all together and do things Leo likes. He looks forward to it all week. :)

Shelli said...

Honestly, I do without, but I don't have to deal with some things you have to deal with: TWO babies and a husband who is gone to work all day (is that right?). My husband and I have never had a date night since Aidan was born. If we go out, we take him with us. We cannot afford a babysitter. Fortunately, however, Aidan is an angel baby. He sleeps very well, and he takes long naps. So, I write/do chores during his naps. I read at night. He's easy to take out to restaurants too. My husband works at home a lot. Secretly, I'm relieved when his schedule calls him to work more often! There are things that just don't get done. I don't clean as much as I should, though I'm not a slob either. I just do the basics and let the other things slide.

lesleysmeshly said...

Hahahah. Oh, how I wish I had help. Like you, I work during their nap, I do laundry all week instead of saving it for the weekend. I pick up the house daily and do a deeper clean on the weekends while hubby keeps the crazies entertained. I grocery shop on the weekends while hubby stays with the crazies. I cook dinner each night after they go to bed which puts us eating at 7:30/8:00. We have a date about once every 4-5 months...which sucks...but we do get dinner takeout weekly and watch a movie together while cuddled on the couch after the crazies are in bed.

I'm sorry to say, without help "me time and us time" is limited, but we squeeze it in where we can.

I try to get out once a weekend if only for a quick errand to get away while hubby stays with the kids. I felt guilty because this was also our family time and his weekend as well, but I'm over the guilt now..I need to keep my sanity.

Good luck getting a sitter. I also want to get one for date nights, but have no clue how to go about doing it.

Jena Strong said...

Random thoughts:

One of our sitters is a college student who does laundry at our house. One load = one hour of babysitting.

We justify the expense of date nights (Saturdays, usually) as being cheaper than couples counseling. We've been going to the same place, with rare exceptions, for years - a low-brow pizza pub downtown. We slump in a booth, clink glasses (diet coke for me, a Switchback for him), and say, "Oh, hi."

Before we had our first kid, and again before the second, we talked a lot about our commitment (in theory at least) to the "hand-off," to time to ourselves alone, with each other. We knew it wouldn't always be easy or pretty - and we were right. There were sisters & friends who rolled their eyes at our naivete.

But the reality is, we do make it happen. Sometimes inconsistently, but the commitment to it is no less than our commitment to each other and ourselves, recognizing that if Mama ain't happy, nobody's happy, and that the same goes for Dada. Mental/physical/emotional/spiritual wellbeing... perfection is an illusion, but the effort goes a long way.

xo Jena

InTheFastLane said...

humm...family time happens and date night happens about once a month...but me time? Usually that means that I get up at 4:30 am to run. Or, I get a little reading in while sitting at swimming lessons. I try to leave Jack Jack with Daddy so that I am not chasing him around the pool deck. Me time is tough to find, though.

LauraC said...

I think you have it hardest than most since you have a full-time job as caretaker and a part-time job as a writer. 1 1/2 jobs would make it hard to find time for everything else!

Friday night is our standing "fun night." We plan an in-home date. Some weeks it's frozen pizza and catching up on TiVo. Some weeks we plan elaborate meals and cook them together while enjoying wine and listening to music. We are not allowed to talk about chores, the kids (except for fun stories), our jobs, etc. It's our sacred time for each other.

We have no family within driving distance, so we have no dependable unhired help. I set up a babysitting exchange through my moms group so that we get real date nights.

Megan said...

This topic is very near and dear to my heart! I don't think we do it very well and we DO have my parents locally to help us when we need help. But with one income, we don't make tons so our "dates" are low-budget and sometimes involve things that need to get done. But at least when we are together, we hold hands with eachother!When we were pregnant, I read in Newsweek about the stress that children can bring to a marriage. As a newly pregnant woman, the article scared me. What would change? The article aruged that young couples with children who often don't have much money, can't afford to NOT go out. The article argued that it is critical to sustaining peace in a marriage. So when we think to ourselves that we don't have enough money, etc, I think about that article...and feel better! So this is long winded way to say that I don't have many tips but I do have good justification for finding that TIME!

marta said...

Just today I was feeling that my life is simply running from one chore/obligation/other-person's-need to the next. I teach 20 hours a week and that's not counting time to make lesson plans, grade papers, and the like.

I do 90% of the housework. I clean the bathroom while my son takes a bath. I clean the kitchen in five minute segments--clean-play-clean-play. It might take all day or not get finished, but something gets cleaned. I do laundry in the two hours between my work and daycare pick up time. I take out the trash when I walk the dog. Between my students, my husband and my son I feel somebody wants some from me every minute of the damn day.

Me time is after everyone goes to bed. I get to write and blog and grade papers (not me time that) between 10pm and 1am. I go to my writing group but I don't see friends. We time? We go on a date about three times a year. My Mom in law s our only babysitter. We can't afford anyone else.

If I'd caught this post on a different day, I might have something else to say, but this last week has just been unpleasant, and I'm a bit cranky.

But you've started a great topic!

RocketMom said...

Take it when you spontaneously find it, or when you absolutely need it and don't care if it means an hour (or two) for the kids in front of the TV. Right now, this afternoon, it's #1 shopping with dad, while #2 naps and #3 alternately sleeps and nurses on my lap while I type. Then dad & #1 are back, I get #1 started on a project and keep him company with half-hearted responses for another hour. Not optimum together time for the kids, but some well-deserved and much needed me time.

As for regularly-scheduled me time ... I'll think about that when we return to our regularly-scheduled schedule.

Jordan (MamaBlogga) said...

What a great discussion you've got going on here. Like most people, I don't have the answers (which is why I posed the question!). But I do really like that you've also focused on 'we' time. One of the biggest shocks when I became a mother was feeling like I would never have time alone with my husband again.

On the other hand, we got to go out last week for DH's bday, and we had the exact same conversation we would have had at home.

Sometimes it just feels like you can't win!

The Surrendered Scribe said...

I so relate to what you share here. You have great thoughts here, and the comments are informative too. I'm glad I found you through MommaBlogga!