I survived the 17 days of in-lawdom. The last few days were a bit hairy, but no one was strangled or maimed, so I count that as a success. Now, I have a visit with my own sweet mom coming up, a seaside vacation, and a quick trip to NH for some swimming, hiking, and biking. Then, it'll be back to school and work, back to soccer and swimming lessons, back to the craziness and routine that make the days and months fly by too quickly.
This weekend, though, is my immediate reward. My boys are off on a little adventure, and I have most of a day to myself! I have no set plans yet, but they will definitely include a visit to the gym, some school supplies shopping, some cleaning/organizing at home, a haircut, and (Lord willing) a nap. I'll be missing my boys by the end of it, but for a few blessed hours, I'll be enjoying my sweet reward.
As a mom, it has taken me a long time to appreciate having time to myself. Until pretty recently, I never wanted time away from R. Even when he was an infant, I didn't want anyone else besides A and me to hold him. I wanted to be with him constantly.
Part of that was probably guilt at spending so much time away from him while I was at work. But I felt even from day one that he was MY RESPONSIBILITY alone and that even taking a shower was being a little bit selfish. How crazy is that?
I don't really regret it now, although I do wish I had been a little kinder to myself. If I had allowed myself breaks more often, I might have been less stressed and moody and less ready to get angry at A.
What opened my eyes for good was joining a gym a few weeks ago. There was a deal through work for a gym that has many locations around the Boston area, including one two blocks away from my office and one just down the street from my house. That was hard to pass up. So, my friend at work and I made a pact to join and go together.
I finally understand why people love going to the gym! (Or, at least why moms do.) I have an hour where I can pop in my headphones and block out the world - no one needs me, and I can focus on my own health. The exercise is exhilarating. I love feeling like I'm getting stronger and healthier each time. And, my mood has improved so much overall!
It's an addictive feeling. On the days where I plan to go to the gym but can't make it because of work or other things that come up, it makes me sad. So far, though, my friend and I have been able to squeeze in time here and there during lunch, after work, and early on Saturdays. We try to go at least 3 times a week.
So, I'm going to enjoy and treasure my time at the gym this weekend and my time on my own without my boys - without guilt. The alone time makes me a better mom, a better wife, and a better person. (Plus, my house will stay clean for at least an hour, instead of the usual 10 seconds.)
And, on the flip side, my boys get to spend some great father-son time together. It's a win for everybody.
Happy weekend, everyone! I'm off to pack my gym bag...