I love my kids. But sometimes I feel stuck because of them.
When there are outside things I want to do, I have to find someone to watch them. It's great if Chris will be home, but with his crazy schedule that doesn't always work. And sometimes we want to get out together. It's wonderful that the grandparents are always willing and eager to take them for a weekend and give us a break, but that doesn't help during the week or when they just can't. So there are babysitters. And babysitters are expensive and have lives of their own.
When all those options pan out, guess who gets to stay home? Yep, Mommy.
Most of the time, we can work something out. But there are times when I can't do something I enjoy. Is it any wonder moms can sometimes feel trapped? I'm much more than just a mom and need to do things for myself.
When does Mommy end and Meagan start? In those moments when I can be a bit of who I was before I had kids - the person I still am when I'm not focused on that other person (Mommy).
I don't think I'm alone in feeling that need to connect with the non-mommy person inside. I need to read, and go out occasionally, and talk to grown ups, and learn new things for the heck of it or my brain and spirit atrophy. And spirit is important for a parent to have. I can't inspire my boys if I can't be inspired myself. It's rather like the instructions on an airplane: put on your own oxygen mask before helping others - because you can't help anyone until you can help yourself.
There are a few things I really try to do: I try to attend book club each month. I read like crazy, in whatever spare moments I can. I do the crossword and Sudoku puzzles every day. I like to go to Moms Night Out when I can. I enjoy planning with Starrynight Productions (and am bummed that I will likely miss the script reading in a few weeks.) I wish I could have joined the Bike and Pedestrian Safety Commission, but Chris's class has been on Monday nights, the night the commission meets, for the last couple of semesters.
I know it will get better as the boys get older. Next fall, both boys will be in preschool 2 days a week, so I will have 5 hours, twice a week, to do something for myself. In a few years they will both be in school every day (and it will be my turn to get a Master's degree.) It has already helped that we have found a couple of reliable babysitters. It'll be wonderful in the fall after Chris's mom retires since she will be more available for weekends (we will really try not to take advantage!).