Once upon a time I had lots of time. Time to myself. Time to do whatever I pleased, be it clean the house, read a book, watch TV, or even just sit.
Then I had kids. And my time was gone.
Then the kids reached an age where they could entertain themselves by playing in their rooms or the playroom. And it was so nice, but they were still there all the time.
Then they went to preschool. My oldest went until noon, 5 days a week. My youngest went until noon, 3 days a week. And while I did cry when I first dropped them off, it was so nice to have that time again. Time all to myself. (It was only 3 hours, but 'only 3 hours' is like manna from heaven when you have little kids.)
(And while I worked off and on during this time, it was always part time, and I always managed to have the time I craved.)
When we moved here in November, I had a good deal of time to get settled in, unpack, and just be in our new house. But my daughter was with me the entire time. She didn't resume preschool (for many reasons) and it drove me crazy after a while.
And now, now that I babysit kids, and my daughter is still here, and my son is out of school for the summer, I have no time. No time to let my mind wander. No time to let myself relax and do whatever strikes my fancy. No time that is mine alone. And I miss it so much.
I have come to the realization that I need that time for my sanity. I am a solo being - introverted and quiet by nature - and I crave that solo time. It is really hard for me to constantly be listening for children, to constantly be interacting with someone. It is very stressful on my mind, and consequently, very stressful on my body. I have been sick more often, tired all the time, and I get cranky. Very, very cranky. It seems to me that someone is always asking something of me - whether it's help they need, or just attention - and it is a strain.
(Yet I feel as if I should tell you that I enjoy children. I enjoy their laughter, their thought processes and the way they view things. I would much rather be working with children from home than be working full time in an office somewhere. That would surely be the death of me.)
Hopefully the strain on my psyche will lessen when school starts in the fall and (ohmygod) both of my kids will be in school. Until then, just know that my psyche is barely holding on. Just understand that if I don't keep up my standard of friendliness (or cleanliness, for that matter), it's because some days I am barely holding on to my standards, period.
I just never really knew how much I craved that solo time. And please don't call it 'me time' because when I hear people say that it makes me cringe. I don't know why, it just does. I don't want to spoil myself in any way. I don't want a manicure, or to go shopping - I just want to be alone. To not be listening and to not be needed. I don't want to talk to anyone or solve any problems. I just want to be.