Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Finding Balance
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. For parents who practice attachment parenting, it can be tempting to center our lives around our children – but it’s not healthy. This month we’re going to talk about taking time for ourselves.
The idea of having “time to myself” is a relatively new one for me. Years ago when Hannah was small she would sleep through the night and was so easygoing and sweet-natured that by the time she hit two years old people were lining up around the block to take care of her. I had more babysitters than I knew what to do with. So finding some time to have fun or go on dates wasn’t a problem.
Then came Patrick. He did nothing but scream for two years straight. I never contemplated having any free time, and I was pretty sure I never would again. Just getting through my day with everyone alive was my goal. And then came Willow. By that point Patrick had calmed down… But now I had three and it was becoming a bit difficult to find someone willing to watch all three littles. And it was kind of a moot point anyway, because by that point I had become thoroughly entrenched in the attachment parenting lifestyle- between babywearing, cosleeping, and exclusive breastfeeding I had no interest in going out on the town. I was Momma. I wanted to be with my babies always.
Since Willow was born two major life changing things have happened. We’ve had another baby, and my husband started a new career. It took me a long time to figure out I still needed time off from mommyhood. It started to sink in when Hannah, Patrick, AND Willow were all asleep before nine o’clock. I didn’t know what to do with myself- I was so used to having to be “on” all the time. I soon realized that I needed that time to myself. It actually made me a better and more patient mother.
Now I get time to myself every night- Cooper falls asleep by eight-thirty or so, and he usually sleeps straight through the night. This has become my time to sew or blog, surf the internet or sometimes just sit and stare into space. The huz is a long haul trucker, so I get a ton of alone time. When he first went on the road I often felt lonely and I missed him so much it was a physical ache, but over the years I’ve learned to love it. Don’t get me wrong- I adore having him home with me… But being alone is cool too. Sometimes by the end of the day I am totally touched out… So vegging on the couch and watching dvr’d “House” or “Doctor Who” all by myself is a certain kind of bliss that only other mothers can understand.
The thing that helps me find my center is being creative. I love to draw and paint, to write, and especially to sew. It never fails to surprise me how good it feels to make something pretty. I always forget it when my sewing things are put away, but when I take them out and start picking through fabric for a new doll I remember all over again how much I enjoy the creative process, and how satisfying it is to create something from nothing.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated October 12 with all the carnival links.)