For Davida: Time For Yourself

>> Sunday, April 5, 2009

vacation.JPGDavida told me: I told my husband that I wanted to be away for a weekend. I just wanted to run away. I didn’t want to be around him or my daughter. I LOVE THEM BOTH MORE THAN ANYTHING… I just wanted to be by myself. Honestly, a few times I thought I may not return. ( He basically said H-no! I could go away for a few hours, but a weekend was out of the question. I now see his point. I wonder if something’s wrong with me. The house is clean, breakfast/lunch/dinner are always ready, my business affairs are in order, my physical appearance is well-kept and so is my daughter’s, I take good care of her and him–is it normal to want to leave them both??? Normal or not, what should I do about it? I have a good life. What’s wrong with me?!

Nothing is wrong with you, darling. You have a need and you’re expressing it, addressing it now as you need it. I think that’s terribly healthy. There are a few things that just might not strike your husband, or you, for that matter. Whereas men traditionally think of themselves as associated with a profession, women often think of themselves as their roles: wife, mother, caretaker, housekeeper, etc. If they work as well, it’s just one more role to carry. Unlike a job, however, those things don’t have a time limit. You don’t punch a clock and say, “Whew, that’s over. I don’t have to worry about being a mother again until Monday.”

It can and does happen to dads and husbands, too, but, in general, I think they are less prone to it. Historically, women have tended to set their own needs aside in favor of their roles, becoming part of their husband’s family and giving up a piece of themselves, as symbolized by taking on the husband’s name. That’s a generalization, of course, but I don’t think it’s pretty common.

The thing is, it’s hard to be on duty, 24/7, even if you love your family, your child, your husband, your life. When you’re juggling all of your priorities, it’s easy, if you let one ball drop, to let that be yourself. The more caring and giving a person you are, the more likely you are to lose sight of your own needs. And the more you need to push yourself to take care of them.

My aunt Sue takes care of my bedridden grandmother, has been taking care of her for decades, helping other family members, being the rock a number of us depend on, working full time and taking great baby pictures. Last week, she took off for a week to Hawaii and it was the best damn thing she’s done in years. Not because she doesn’t love my grandmother any more, but because she’s entitled to a little preoccupation with herself, a little Sue time. It’s not wrong. It’s healthy. And not only will she benefit by it, so will my grandmother because Sue will be happier and will be there because she wants to be, not because she has to be.

My sister, similar situation to your own. I nag her to take time for herself because she needs it, not just for her own happiness, but because it’s better for her family if she’s healthy. Never taking the time for yourself just isn’t healthy.

My husband is a stay at home dad. When I’m home, I’m on duty, but he’s the one here 24/7. When he says he needs to get away, I listen and do what I can to help him. If he’s unhappy, if he feels that the life he leads is an obligation not his pleasure, he won’t be much fun for the kids or himself. And he’s entitled to that time off, that time when he’s well and truly off the clock. Truth is, when he leaves, he never wants to stay away as long as he thinks he does. He usually can’t wait to get back or comes back early, but then it’s his choice, not his duty. And that makes all the difference.

What I’m saying, as your sympathetic friend is, that there’s nothing wrong with you, that wanting to have some time being just Davida and not everything else you carry around with you all day every day isn’t wrong or naughty nor does it mean that you don’t love your husband, your daughter, or your life. It just means that you don’t want to lose that little bit of yourself that is just yours, that you need a little time to recharge and remember all those other things you are besides a wife and mother. When you come back, you’ll do so because being away reminded you of all the reasons why you’re there in the first place, but also remind you of that little spark of Davida that made you so appealing to them as well.

In order to do your best day in and day out, you need to be happy and you need to know your needs are important, too. I hope you can convince your husband to see things your way. In the long run, you’ll both be happier.

And it might not hurt to make sure he gets some time for himself, too.

12 Responses to “Time to Yourself”

  1. attygnorrison 31 Mar 2009 at 12:44 am edit this

    Thanks, Stephanie. This seems like exactly what I’d tell me homegirl if she called with the same issue. It’s just harder seeing and accepting the situation when you’re in it. I thought about blogging about it, but I know my mother and mother-in-law read the blog and would probably be alarmed. LOL They get so worried. I know you’re right. I need to
    “punch out” on the clock for a little while.


  2. attygnorrison 31 Mar 2009 at 12:45 am edit this

    BTW, that illustrative picture of the beach is exactly what I had in mind…


  3. oldwestmomon 31 Mar 2009 at 1:15 pm edit this

    Once again, a great Ask Me Anything answer. I completely agree.

    For what it’s worth Davida, my hubby and I had the same argument a few weeks ago. I have a hankering to go visit some friends and could really use the break. I was hoping to go alone, just for a long weekend. Hubby took it very offensively, like me wanting to leave was a slight to him. I told him if he wanted to do the same, I would support and encourage him, but it didn’t help. We’re working it out, but sometimes it’s easier to talk to my toddler!

  4. stephanieebarron 31 Mar 2009 at 6:07 pm edit this

    Time to yourself isn’t a luxury - it’s a need.

  5. fliton 31 Mar 2009 at 9:50 pm edit this

    well dang…where did my comment go? I did leave one… must not have gone through from the Blackberry.

    and now I am just perturbed with the recaptcha words! NORDEN… too close to NORDON, y’ask me!

  6. shakespeareon 01 Apr 2009 at 9:02 am edit this

    I might be off for almost a week by myself this summer, to Houston, to see YOU!

    I sure hope that happens. I’ll still be around kids, but they won’t be MY kids…or MY hubby, or MY kitchen.

    Makes a huge difference, if you ask me. No obligations. That’s the only thing that makes a true vacation.

  7. stephanieebarron 01 Apr 2009 at 10:14 am edit this

    I hear you, Shakespeare. I know exactly what you mean.

  8. Aron Soraon 01 Apr 2009 at 11:32 am edit this

    I would say that getting away from your significant other is essential. I remember a podcast I was listening to mention that if you are around each other 24/7 than you experienced the same events and than you might become the same person. People do not like being around of mirror image of themselves.

    Also, you need to get new perspectives, which is gained with leaving your area.

    Nice post

  9. stephanieebarron 01 Apr 2009 at 12:00 pm edit this

    Agreed. I love my kids, but I often breathe a sigh of relief when they go to bed. We all need a little time without obligations or responsibilities or just some time that is ours alone.

  10. Lolaon 01 Apr 2009 at 10:20 pm edit this

    I have given you an award. Please stop by my blog for the details. Congrats!


Post a Comment

Blog Makeover by LadyJava Creations