“Free Time” is different when you are a mom.
I reflect on my pre-baby days with a bit of amusement. I remember feeling so busy in those days, like my days were overfilled to the brim.
But now – I laugh at how much time I really did have. I had time to read novels and go to the movies and spend hours in the bookstore. I had time each day TO MYSELF: time to take a shower, to listen to the radio in my car, to browse the cards at Hallmark for the “perfect” card for a friend.
Things are different now. My free time is “scattered,” disjointed, rare. Stolen moments of alone time are treasured. Only a mom can understand that a trip to the post office (sans kids) or a hot shower after a long day is almost equivalent to a beach vacation in Jamaica…almost.
The funny thing is that I don’t really need/want much “free time.” Most of the time, I am blissfully content in my chaotic little world of building blocks, blowing bubbles, eating Cheerios, singing the alphabet song, and making dinner with a little “helper” by my side. The truth is that I LIKE to be home with my girls and my husband.
That said, sometimes it’s nice to be by myself.
Sometimes its good to be able to hear myself think, to not have a 2-year-old saying, “build a tower with me, mama!” or “I want a snack!” or “I need to go potty!”
Sometimes I just want to SCREAM at the end of a crazy day, “I want just 10 minutes without anybody attached to me!”
In those few, fleeting moments, you’ll usually find me doing one of these five things:
I run. Something about the fresh air, the pumping of my lungs, the beating of my heart, the monotonous rhythm of my shoes hitting the pavement…refreshes me.
I write. For me, writing isn’t optional. Writing is like breathing. Without it, I feel breathless and blue. So. I write blog posts. I write thank you cards. I write to-do lists. I write book proposals. Sometimes I abruptly jump out of bed at three in the morning to jot down a phrase, an idea (which never fails to startle my husband…but I think he’s getting used to it).
I take pictures. The art of photography is much like writing a novel. It involves the same skill set: finding the best and most creative way to capture personalities, to create backdrops, and to bring every day experiences to life.
I read. Back in my pre-baby days, I devoured books. Sometimes I read a book a day. Or, at the every least, a book every week. Post-baby, I still have a few books on my nightstand at all times, but I pitter-patter through them at a slower pace – gobbling up the text while I’m nursing the baby or right before bed.
I work. Can working be considered a hobby? For me, it most certainly is. I am blessed to have two “jobs” (this blog and a 10-hour work-from-home contract with the local school district) that I really love. It’s nice when you love your job so much that you would do it even if you didn’t get paid for it…like being a mom, for example.
The ironic thing about “free time” is that – as soon as I’m away – as soon as I finally get what I ask for – I find myself missing the little voices. I find myself wondering what my 2-year-old is doing, picturing my 12-week-old’s perfect gummy smile.
So, then, I rush back to the chaos and take pictures with my iPhone to remind myself that these wonderful times will only be here once:
***Stay tuned for articles, product reviews, and giveaways related to “free time.”
YOUR TURN: What do you do when you have free time?
Note: Yes, my 2-year-old does have marker on her hand in the above picture and, yes, it is permanent marker.