Monday, January 11, 2010

Making Time for "ME"

Photo from Moroccan magazine Tourism & Gastronomie

Last night I had a long chat with a young woman online. With the exception of a couple of key factors, this woman bore a striking resemblance to me just a few years ago.

As a woman, we are naturally inclined to take on the role of nurturer. We do everything in our power to make sure that our children, our husband, our family & friends are happy. We spend our day in a whirlwind of activities, running to and fro, making certain that we do not miss even the most minute detail. We think we can do it all! In the interim we begin to ignore crucial aspects of ourselves.

"I only have 15 minutes to get Johnny to baseball practice and I want to make sure I bring those surprise goodies I bought for his team that is sure to make them all smile. I don't really need to put on some makeup...."

"I have to go pick up husband's dry cleaning, and go to the market for the ingredients for tonight's dinner, then pick up Sue from dance classes. It's just so much easier to pull on the sweats sitting in the corner of the bedroom floor, than looking for the perfect top to go with those jeans....."

It starts off as neglecting the little things. Who really cares about an outfit, hair and makeup anyway? But gradually we begin to let go of little things that brought us great joy. Whether it be painting or reading, or going out for a drink. Because we feel being Supermom and Alluring Wife must take precedence over those things. What we don't realize is the fact that in order to even attempt to be on top of our game as mother and wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend.....we must make "ME" our top priority. No one is going to make us their #1 concern, so we need to make sure we do.

I remember one day in late spring 2007, I walked over to my full length mirror and looked at my reflection. It wasn't me looking back at me. Sure the person in the reflection had my dimples and my eyes. She even had something resembling my smile. But this person in the mirror was not ME. And then I began to assess in what other areas had "me" disappeared?

I am an avid writer. I enjoy writing screenplays most of all. Yet, when I looked at my laptop, the last time I had written anything to completion was in the Fall 2002. Five years!!!! Sure, there were a couple of 3 sentence ideas for screenplays haphazardly written throughout the years. But they were just that. Three sentences with an idea....nothing else. I didn't discard writing altogether. I had written in my blog about my happy family life. Because family life was indeed happy. But writing for pure enjoyment? That had been on an extremely long hiatus.

I noticed gradually throughout those 5 years I had slowly let "ME" to take the back seat. I'd only dress up when I knew people were coming over. I'd pull my hair back in a tight bun and dab on a little lip gloss on every other day. I stopped subscribing to my favorite magazines and buying things for me, because I money could be used better on something for the kids or the house. Never once did I realize back then that I was losing sight of myself. To the world around you, they see the smile and hear you laugh and think "Hey, she's great". But on the inside "ME" was battling to get out.

So on that balmy Spring 2007 day, the real "ME" finally emerged and told the me that was in there presently wrecking havoc upon my reflection. Time's up! I have been dormant for too long and it is time to let me use my wings to fly again. That was it. At that very moment I turned around, marched to my closet, took out my favorite pair of jeans, Nine West boots, a pretty fitted top and went to work. I showered, got dressed, donned my makeup and literally took every sweatpants and sweater I owned and ceremoniously dumped them in the recycling container for unwanted clothes. Enough was enough. And when my husband arrived home that evening he took one look at me and said "Wow, you look great."

Of course, the re-emergence of of me didn't happen over night. I slowly started getting myself back into the hobbies I loved.....scrapbooking, reading, writing. Especially writing....that was the one I missed most of all. I was in complete awe. I sat at my computer and feverishly typed away. Three days later I looked down at my laptop and realized I had written a whole 98 page screenplay. I also began letting my hubby know, I need to dedicate alone time to myself. Keep in mind people really do get accustomed to changes that become the norm so having him on board with my re-acquaintance with myself was very important. And sure enough that know, the one that truly reaches your eyes, began to appear more frequently. I learned to set limits. I can't be Superwoman. And I learned to accept that fact.

What is most important is not losing sight of ourselves. We do not want to become a person we don't recognize in the mirror. Staying true to ourselves and the things we enjoy not only make us happy, but everyone around us happy as well.


  1. So many women are guilty of this! Make sure you set aside some "Me" time, even if it's only an hour a week to have a bubble bath and read. It is so important for your state of well being! Fab post!

  2. I agree with you and English muffin !
    It's important to take time for us only and forget the others sometimes !

  3. Well said, CJ! Tis especially easy for us mothers to forgo making time for ourselves. That being said...excuse me while I give myself a manicure, followed by some Godiva choccy munchin' :)