Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Finding ME Time and Finding My Happy

Why does the word "Me" sound so selfish?

I wanted to write a post about “me” time. Because if you’re anything like me, you probably don’t get enough of it. And I’m here to remind tell you, “YOU DESERVE IT and YOU NEED IT.”

Being a mom requires a lot of you, not to mention being a loving wife, a good friend, a great sister and daughter too. I don’t care if you’re stay-at-home or if you’re a working mom—it’s nuts and busy and crazy either way you look at it.

It took me 21 months to figure this out but in order to be the best mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, employee, etc., I have to carve in time for me. And only me. It’s who I am and how I tick. I think I took a test once and as extroverted as I might seem, I’m actually an introvert. I recharge by spending time alone.

Shocking, huh? Seems so simple.

It’s not though.

This Christmas I participated in an online Elf4Health Challenge. Every day I was forced to do something healthy for myself and use the social media world to chat about it. I LOVED it. LOVED. I looked forward to every challenge and I found time no matter where or when to do every activity (OK, so I didn't go to work make-up free, but still…).
I AM POWERFUL! (really, I'm doing wall sits here...2 minutes 22 seconds)


My world. 

I knew if I could do this challenge for four weeks, I could do something like this every single day. We weren’t talking hours upon hours here. There was no more room for excuses. There was no denying that I was happier than I had been in a long time those four weeks and I knew the exact reason why.

I was doing something for “me” and was becoming healthier emotionally and physically because of it.

But the word “me” sounds so selfish, doesn’t it?

Let me explain in a way I know how. So I get asked quite often to play volleyball or to go to happy hours or to volunteer or to set up activities to bring people together—basically all the things I used to do before my son came along. I love doing these things, don’t get me wrong. But my life has changed.  My priorities have changed.

I have changed.

My epiphany?

I was doing all those things for other people. To make THEM HAPPY. As much as I love and live and breathe volleyball, I realized I was playing on volleyball teams that had a hard time figuring out how to even play simple defense. If anyone knows me, I played in college. I’m extremely competitive (so much so that my hubby refuses to play with me). I’d leave super frustrated and unfulfilled. I also knew what I needed was a friend to listen to me and understand exactly what I was going through, but instead I was listening to friends who were judging me and didn't have a clue what was going on. Or I’d volunteer but then go home feeling exhausted and crabby because I’d look around and my own house was a disaster. I’d set up activities so people could gather and grow but I left feeling anxious and alone and hungry for more. My schedule was so packed and loaded with so many great things, and yet I wasn’t satisfied. How does this make sense?

I knew if I cancelled any of these things, I would let someone down and I’d feel like an awful person. So I kept filling my day up and stressing myself out. It was a vicious cycle I could not get out of.

That was until I had my son. Everything sort of stopped for a while. I think the word "overwhelmed" takes on a whole new meaning. I wanted to simply be a mom. Really, I needed to figure it all out. I think “disappearing” freaked out a lot of people, but I honestly just needed to focus on how to be the best “me” for my son.

I thought if I threw myself into being the best mom, I would become the best.

Not so. I learned I definitely need breaks, lots of them. So I started saying “no” more often to others and "yes" to myself. I became very choosy with my time.

Does this make me sounds incredibly selfish?

But how could “me” being happy be a selfish thing?

I think one of the hardest things for me to accept and adjust to after becoming a mom was not seeing Karl (hubby) as much and getting the bulk of parenting work due to his crazy work schedule and schooling. We always did everything together. We made such a great team. And I missed him like CRAZY. Sure, I’d see him when he’d get home from work but I was trying to feed our son or clean things up or get everything ready for the next day while my son was wailing or screaming or repeating, “mama” over and over.

It gets challenging to take the time to ask “How was your day? How are you?” when there are a million distractions. Especially when my brain literally can’t form sentences anymore by the end of the day.

We eventually (14 months AFTER our son was born) started a routine of putting our son down for bed and then watching TV shows on the couch. We hit the sweet spot once that started happening. It was WONDERFUL to spend that quiet time together again, to snuggle on the couch.

I looked FORWARD to that every night.

But more times than not I was still anxious and worn out and full of emotions by the end of night. I'm telling you, parenting is HARD WORK. I told Karl that I needed to take one week night to go to the gym and one weekend day too – just for myself. And NOT feel guilty about it. That took guts to decide. But saying it out loud empowered me. I was going to do something for "me" and only "me". I had a date with myself!

Even if it was 8:00 p.m. and the last thing I wanted to do, I DID IT. I know how great I’ll feel and that wins every time. Let me tell you, I come back feeling AMAZING. I’m recharged and full of ideas and drive and energy and love, and everything inside me feels HAPPY.

My family benefits from this Big Time. I benefit. 

I make the simple choice to spend a little time with myself—no guilt allowed—and if pays off in a HUGE way.

So if you’re feeling anything like I was: unfulfilled at times, stressed to the max, exhausted, disorganized or looking for more, perhaps you need to spend some time with yourself. Remember who you are, what you’re capable of, what is it you want – what is it that makes YOU happiest?  Maybe it’s a trip to the mall or an hour-long massage or going to a movie by yourself, or like me, working out (and then steaming and sitting in the hot tub!!). Find it, find YOU and make the time. You are deserving to be the happiest you've ever been.

You will come out feeling amazing – something you owe yourself. Because YOU ARE AMAZING.

What do you do for YOU?