Over the weekend I asked my mom if she ever wished she had gone back to work when my brother and I entered school. She very quickly replied no, that our entering school all day was the first time she had for alone time and she didn't want to pass that up.
This statement coincides with a book I've been reading, in which the author talks about women's profound craving for alone time - time for quiet, time for thinking, time for browsing, time for doing our own thing. It's not to say that men don't experience something like it, but women, with all we do for other people each and every day of our lives, in particular desire space of our own. I guess that's why so many of us with little children stay up late at night, savoring those hours of quiet solitude.
I wonder what we can do to make sure this need is being met. I don't want to wait 8 or 9 years, until Arlo and Elsa are in school all day, for me-time. And I don't want to choose between a career / finances and quality time for myself. Here's a quick brainstorm of ways to find time TODAY:
*go to bed early (9:30! agh!) to wake up refreshed at 5:30 am, and then you have at least one hour of quiet uninterrupted time to write, paint, practice yoga, go for a run (because, to be honest, my late-night time is completely wasted surfing the Net or watching TV because I'm too tired to write or practice yoga)
* take advantage of free time during the day, like nap time, by avoiding time zappers like the Internet and email and instead using it to feed the soul
* work while the children play, at least sometimes - cleaning and doing laundry while everyone else is sleeping or out is a form of spoiling your loved ones - they need to understand that the house doesn't magically get clean/uncluttered and they need to participate! Let's make our work VISIBLE. So take the children to the park and roll around with them at times, but also get your work done while they play independently, as it is good for everyone.
*if you work outside the home, use lunch breaks for a quick stroll through a museum or art gallery (easy enough to do in DC if you can break away from the desk during lunch time) or get some tea and browse a bookstore
*if you have a commute on a bus or train, use that time for meditation or listening to music or sketching
We must do what we can so that we have time for ourselves. Seize it - nobody is going to give it to you!