Monday, August 5, 2013

Mine Your Me Time


This past weekend, my husband went on a guys-only camping trip, leaving me to do whatever I pleased. A mini-staycation! I couldn't have asked for better. Because as much as I love my hubby, sometimes...well...he just gets in the way!

If he's reading this, he's probably frowning and worrying that he doesn't do enough around the house, or is hindering me in some way. Let me assure him and readers that this isn't the case at all. He does the majority of the cooking and grocery shopping, all the heavy lifting and half the laundry, on top of earning a living as a freelance writer. He is my other half, and I could never dismiss him.

That said, sometimes, you need a break from your soul mate. I'm talking about me time—the freedom to do as one pleases, to be spontaneous without consultation, to get things done on your own schedule without feeling like it has to be done now, now, now!

Parents know about this precious resource. That half hour while the kids are napping can be used for anything: using the toilet, showering, clearing away that sinkful of dishes, even—gasp!—reading a few pages of that book that's been on the bedside table for six months.

With the weekend wide-open and giving me that come-hither look, I was tempted to just blow it off and do whatever I wanted. But there was so much piling up on my to-do list, I was afraid I'd never get around to it. 

Not just chores and personal grooming, but fun times, too.

When I realized I had to schedule fun, that it had become a part of my to-do list, I knew something was seriously wrong.

One of my favorite Beatles lyrics comes from “Girl”—“A man must break his back to earn his day of leisure/Will she still believe it when he's dead?” I couldn't not do all that stuff I needed to do. If I ignored it, I'd only feel worse later. But if I didn't want to spend my whole weekend being a martyr, either.

So I compromised. I cleaned and organized the house, took out the tools and did some repairs, gardened, cooked, and blogged. And in between, I indulged. Had lunch with a friend, went shopping, got my nails done, and played tourist in my own city. I filled every minute with things that I not only had to do, but things I wanted to do.

No consultation. No interruptions. All on my own terms.

The freedom to do as we please is something we take for granted. Women especially seem pressured to fill their time with productive tasks, which is perfectly fine and normal until their lives are nothing but to-do lists. Off time is something we all need, not only to stay healthy and sane, but as writers, to keep our creative energy flowing.

After a packed weekend that cleared my to-do list, I whipped through a big chunk of editing and even got to plotting ahead. After all that mental decluttering, I even allowed the plot bunnies to overtake my brain for a while.

The moral of the story: make your significant other go camping without you more often. Mine that precious me time resource. Take a day for yourself now and again to get things you want to do done.
Time is rarely free anymore, but it can be invested for better return.


What does your me time include? How do you get away from the daily grind? How can you get more me time in your life? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Her Son's Hero.
Draw takes place Friday, August 12, 2011, 9 p.m. EST

28 comments:

Kaelee said...

Since my husband retired I have very little me time. One of the first things I do when he leaves the house is turn on the radio. I used to be able to sing along to a lot of songs but now I barely recognize any new ones. I love taking a bath in the middle of the day if it's cold outside as well. somehow that never happens when my husband is home.

scarlet wilson said...

My 'me' time almost always includes reading! It's the one and only thing I won't compromise on!

Anonymous said...

My "me time" is spent reading and playing games on Facebook. And posting on blogs too!!

Anonymous said...

My "me time" is spent reading and playing games on Facebook. And posting on blogs too!!


Tammy Yenalavitch - helps to post my name since I am anonymous this morning

Helen Brenna said...

When I have me time like this, which doesn't seem to happen much any longer, I do the same thing as you did, Vicki. It's amazing how therapeutic it can be to clear a to-do list first and then go on to the rest.

Maybe I should pack up my dh's gear some day and just tell him he's taking a camping trip! lol

Virginia said...

My me time is in the evenings before hubby gets home from work and I read. My favorite time if the day.

Jeannie Watt said...

Hi Vicki--I love it when my husband and I have some time apart. We pretty much spend 24 hours a day together, since we work together and live in a rural area with few neighbors. (Good thing we like each other so much.) So on the rare occasion when I get some me time, I like to sew or work on my mosaics with TV shows/movies my husband doesn't particularly like playing in the background. I watch Perry Mason, Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice, Simon and Simon, The Rockford Files. It's great.

Kathleen O said...

Although I am single and can really do what I want. The last several years a lot of my me time has been taken up with caregiving of my parents. My dad spend months in and out of hospital before he passed away and my mother, who passed away just this past May kept me hopping. I live a fare distance from her by car, if I had one, but I didn't and had to travel 2hrs by bus to see her. Some times this meant just for the day and returning home at night, again a 2hr return journey or staying the night with a family memember or a friend.
So when I had my me time, I like to read and listen to music. Go get my hair done or had my pedicure. But now that she is gone, I still have a lot of time I spend on her estate and other family members issues.
So i appricate that although I have a little bit more ME TIME, I would rather have her to talk to everyday and see a couple of times a week..

Summer said...

My me time favorites would have to be reading, or watching some soapy television with a sense of humor and fashion, like Gossip Girl or Sex and The City reruns.

Debra Salonen said...

Reading. That's my me-time escape. I feel completely self-indulgent when I ignore the daily chores and hunker down with a book. Ah...bliss.

Enjoyed your post, Vicki.

Deb

liztalley said...

Ah! I live for me time. With three men in the house (and I use "men" losely since two of them are 9 and 12) I don't get much time to myself. I usually get some evening time after they've gone to bed. Usually, I catch up on my tivoed shows that no one else wants to watch or I play on twitter or FB. I'm not a good late night writer so I usually don't bother with writing late at night, so it's perfect for me time.

Also, getting my hair cut and colored is a little me time because none of the guys wants to go with me there :)

Kaitlin (ahmymarriedlife) said...

Me time usually includes catching up on the shows that my husband hates and having some nice quiet reading time!

Linda Warren said...

Vicki,
This last weekend my dh went on a three day fishing trip with a couple of his buddies. The first day was heaven. I didn't worry about meals or anything else. I wrote when I wanted to. Read when I felt like it and watched streaming reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond, which he hates. By the second day, the fun was wearing off and it was getting lonely around here. By the third day, I was waiting for the back door to open and hear dh holler, "I'm home." I'd had enough of "me" time.LOL

Vicki Essex said...

Getting some terrific answers here! I love not having to worry about what to eat--I think I ate a lot of Oreos that weekend. Also, I had ice cream, which I shouldn't have since I'm kind of lactose intolerant, but with no hubby, I didn't have a voice of reason telling me I'd regret it.

It's true, though, I definitely started missing him by the second and third day. I guess Me Time is really something that needs to be rationed out.

Kristina Mathews said...

I take daily me time by reading in the tub. A big reason I haven't totally jumped onboard the whole Kindle thing. That and I could end up homeless if I downloaded every book I wanted to read.

My kids are now old enough to go fishing with their Dad. He takes them so I can write.

I already have Her Son's Hero--loved it--so you don't need to enter me in the drawing.

chey said...

My me time usually involves reading! I get more me time by listening to books while I'm doing chores.

Snookie said...

my me time is reading also. It's hard to find me time with work, an active 16 yr old and a hubby :) I also read Her Son's Hero, so no need to enter me in teh contest :)

Laney4 said...

My me-time is scheduled three or four times a year when I get together with two of my high-school buddies (from 35 years ago, gasp!). We each bring easily made foods to eat for lunch and supper, and we gab constantly when we aren't eating or drinking.

Jackie S. said...

I enjoy reading when I have ME time; also getting hair done and a monthly lunch with high school classmates. We are both retired so are together a lot! Would love to read your book, Vickie.

Laura Russell said...

Vicki,
Me time is limited but I do read every night. At work, I can squeeze in lunch with a friend every few weeks.

linda s said...

I love doing nothing, just sitting in my chair pondering and lost in the bliss of silence. I think it is one of those lost arts and I need to pratice it more just to keep it alive. lol
Really enjoyed your book, Vicki. I've never even heard of a cage fight... What I learn reading SRs.

Donya P said...

I love just playing games on the comp and or reading. Both are great past times that help me relax and just loose myself.

Jo's Daughter said...

Being Single I have plenty of me time. Which I spend reading romance, writing poems, cooking, crafting, keeping my own blog & daydreaming.
Of the time when I'm so busy being happy that I rarely think back on all those ME hours that I tried to fill.

JV said...

My friends often comment that my husband and I must be joined at the hip or something. Rare indeed is the occasion where one of us goes out with friends without the other of us. This is one part of the reason that I have not gone back to work full-time since our daughter graduated from high school. It gives me the opportunity to go out to lunch with friends and have a little girl time without my husband feeling left out. (There are other reasons, including that my father became ill and passed away and, now, that my mother is not doing very well. Also, it seems to make our lives go more smoothly and less stressfully that I'm home to take care of things that are difficult to do when you work full-time. I don't know what I'll do when DH retires.

And I also agree that much of my "me" time is spent reading. I'm addicted. What can I say?

jcp said...

Reading almost every night for 2-3 hours before bed.

Vicki Essex said...

So many great answers! I definitely need to find more me time to read in the tub...

The winner of a copy of Her Son's Hero:

Laney4!

Congratulations! Email me at vicki@vickiessex.com to claim your prize!

autumnmacarthur.com said...

Hugs, Kathleen O!

I get a lot less me time than I crave right now. I work long hours, and when I come home my husband, who's been home alone all day since he was made redundant from his job, is desperate for some company.

His idea of marriage is a lot more like Siamese twins than mine too. He's an extrovert who can't actually understand why anyone would ever want to do anything on their own! As we live in a tiny house, it's not that easy to ever do anything on my own.

My me time is my long commute, I walk 45 minutes so get some exercise, and I have 45 minutes on the train when I read and catch up on emails. To write, I get up an hour early- I can get a lot done while he's still asleep.

Of course, if I do ever manage to get some time at home on my own I miss him, but boy, do I make the most of it! Long soaks in the bath, listening to the music I like, getting out the sewing machine and making a mess.

Laney4 said...

Just sent my email, Vicki. Thank you so much!
I hope you get more stay-cations in the near future!

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