Time. As a mom, it is always time for something. It began when I found out I was pregnant- it was time for my doctor appointment, time to find out the sex, time for my baby shower, and good Lord don’t forget the time for labor. Then with this fresh baby in my arms at home, it was time to nurse, time to burp, time to pump, time for her diaper change. Time.
As my time became more and more accounted for, I noticed that my self was less and less a priority. At the risk of sounding selfish, there was never a moment where my time came into play. Once we were out of the confines of the hospital room and on-call help, my time ceased to exist. There was no recovery time. Now I was officially Mom and I guess it was time for me to suck it up and join the ranks of all those who proceeded me.
As Nugget moved into toddlerhood, it became more and more apparent that my time just wasn’t a thing anymore. My time is now considered to be running countless errands, playing with the Nugget and managing a house full of unruly dogs. This left me wondering, when is it my time to clock out for my break? When I worked in a union I was guaranteed two 15-minute breaks and a 30-minute lunch. Now, I am lucky if I get to brush my teeth and choke down a yogurt, standing up hiding in the kitchen.
What about naptime you say? That’s when everything else gets done, and when your title is Mom, you begin to fall lower and lower on the “to-do” list. Why does it seem I am ungrateful for my position if I say I need some me time. And to be clear, I’m not talking about the unrealistic yet oft written about Eat Pray Love shit. My time would be called Shit, Shower, Smoke- how profound, I know. Screw the massage. After being pulled at and prodded all day by a curiously sweet toddler, I don’t want to pay some stranger to touch me. Give me a beer, a cig, and a jukebox and I’d be happier than shit.
Why is it that those who work outside of the home can bitch about their jobs all they want and that’s deemed normal and healthy, but a stay at home mom does the same and we seem like ungrateful assholes because “every moment is precious?” And in sets the ever-present mom guilt ready to take over your brain like some sort of illness where we feel guilty for how much we enjoyed going to Target alone or for having a mom’s night that starts at 6:00pm. How much self is there to give away? How much is healthy? When I worked, my job and my time was appreciated and respected. Now it has fallen into some dark crevice of my closet where my skinny jeans have taken up residence, neither of which are likely to be seen again.
Another question I find myself asking lately is why does the “mismanagement” of time seem to be my fault to others? When I was Professional Sarah, I spent countless hours after my big girl job at happy hours, drowning my woes into my glass and into any ears that were available to hear my cries. That was considered socially acceptable. My time now seems to be everyone’s business. God forbid I mention I am a mom, much less one that stays home, to someone when I happen to be out enjoying a drink. I immediately get the judgmental look along with comments implying that my place is at home and not enjoying my “me time.”
To be clear, I do not hate my job. However, at most jobs, you get to clock out when the whistle blows and you become You again, the You that you may have suppressed while being “professional” You. The job title of Mom never ceases. I do not miss much from my previous career life, except for the part where venting about a shit day seemed more worthy and socially acceptable.
Coming from a career where I had to bill out in six minute increments exactly what I was doing with my time, the importance and severity of time was constantly thrown in my face. Thank God Nugget doesn’t do that to me, but still, where is the release? Where is the right to say, “today sucked” without having to apologize for our honesty and to make sure the listener knows just how much we do love our child?
It seems as though because I “stay at home” people respect my time less and less due to their June Cleaver mentality that I don’t do much during the day but have time to myself and just dick around the house watching my stories. One of these days I will put “Me” on my to-do list that is never quite done.
Someone once told me that you teach people how to treat you. I wonder if I began to respect my own time and began making myself a priority, that others would follow suit? Something tells me that I’d just get lost amongst my list along with the photo books I’ve been meaning to make since July and the baby book still in the wrapper. Sometimes the most basic of tasks are the most difficult to complete for reasons I have yet to figure out.
Until then, I will be snuggling with this sweet girl before she won’t let me.