Based on the title, you can clearly see that I am a child of the 90s. Regardless of how cheesy it is, I can’t help but think of “Ice, Ice, Baby!” at least once a week in some random context, but that is a topic of another day.
Today, let’s talk about space. Not just physical space, but mental space as well. Very few people can be completely alone. I personally love being around people. I love being around my kids. But sometimes, I just need a break – some quiet alone time that is truly alone. I have always been this way.
A few months ago, I came across a couple articles through friends’ Facebook feeds that I loved. They revolved around signs that you are a outgoing introvert or an extroverted introvert. “That’s it!” I though to myself. ” This makes so much sense now.”
Growing up with a HUGE family, you have no choice but to be surrounded by people all the time. When you are surrounded by people, you have no choice but to engage and talk. Ironically, immersion into this huge family surrounded by LOUD and very vocal cousins, aunts and uncles, and friends, changed me forever. It was the catalyst that taught me how to play two roles – the public Diana and the private Diana.
Public Diana is smiley and loud and very vocal. She’s not afraid of saying what she thinks, and ironically, she LOVES getting up in front of a crowd. Private Diana wants nothing but to be alone, sitting on a couch, reading a book or catching up on the new TV series she found.
Being a mom and personal space: ha ha…
So for someone who needs their time alone, who needs quiet and separation, what the hell do you do when you get married? When you have kids? When your third child and 3-year old crawls into bed with you every night and wakes up the minute you move from the bed to try and find 30 minutes alone at 6:15 am on a Saturday morning? He’s like an adorable blond magnet connected to my hip that can only be removed with great force, only to be forcefully pulled back as soon as he can after being extricated from your hip.
It’s the question for any mom – regardless of who you are. But for a mom who is inherently introverted, it is one of the hardest things to cope with as a parent. When he, or the other kids, or even a husband you love, demands your attention when you desperately need space, you have to fight so hard not to push them away. What the hell do you do?
Let’s Get Real
Well – I’ll admit that there is a little internal dialogue/mental coaching most days. “Okay – Diana (public or private), you are a mom with three kids and married to the biggest extroverted extrovert in creation (seriously, my husband is 38 years old and has never lived alone in his life – chew on that one!). It’s time to get real. You got this and you will do it. You will deal with this! “
There are songs and books about peeing alone. The world of mommy blogging may have been created for the sole reason of venting to the universe about the fact that “me time” as a mom is virtually impossible.
This is my life and I have the strength to fight my instincts and be the wife and mother that I want to be. I know that I can do this. I know that I can try.
So What Do You Do?
I rely on the wisdom of prayer known to almost everyone – the Serenity Prayer. This is not a religious message, but the words are so empowering, simple, and honest that I fall back on them:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
The truth is this is my life. I can’t change it and I don’t want to. It’s a life that I have always wanted. A husband who loves me. Three beautiful kids. A full-time job that I am proud of. Life isn’t easy and it’s not meant to be. Through challenges, you become stronger and you grow, right?
What I can change is how I react in the moments when my loved ones truly need me. I can also make sure that I talk to my husband and find a way to carve out the time that I need for me to keep me strong – 30 minutes a day to jog or walk. A few hours on the weekends when I can be alone in my own house to just “be” even if “being” means laundry and dishes in peace and quiet.
The truth is we own our own happiness and peace. I recognize what I need, and what I can control is how I get what I need while giving my kids what they need. It definitely doesn’t work all the time, but if it works 75% of the time, then I’m taking care of myself.
The funny part
Honestly, this blog was very different in my head at 6:30am. I was frustrated and tired and even a little angry. But as I wrote it, I realized that I do have the power to give myself space. My husband will support me. I have a job that sneaks me out of town a few times a month. As I reflect on this, I realize that I’m actually quite lucky with the support that I have. I just have to recognize it and also allow myself to ask for that space. It’s not wrong to need a little space from your kids, or your life. It’s healthy.