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I am a mother to five children and two dogs in a high-octane, "Fast and Furious" franchise family. My husband is a musician by day, afternoon, evening, night, I guess whenever it calls for it. When I married him, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. This, unfortunately, called for many nights of being the parent to set aside a lot of stuff that I wanted to do and make sure that the family was first.
Don't get me wrong, he's a great father. But, in a still somewhat majority patriarchal society that women should take care of home, but somehow bring home the bread too and STILL appease to the needs of her mate, has brought me to the conclusion that they got me messed up. There is NO way that I can pretend I'm superwoman without somehow losing myself to TWO of these titles: WIFE and MOTHER. One will always win over the other. The question of the day, however, isn't one that is asked often; When do I find time for ME?
In order to run this family smoothly, we've determined that this is, in fact, a partnerSHIP. If one finds something challenging, the other picks up the slack. We communicate. We prioritize. We mark shit on calendars. We synchronize dates to ensure the other doesn't have anything going on so there won't be any confusion. The problem with this is, we don't stay consistent. Inconsistency is the proverbial "wrench" in our day-to-day hustle and bustle. And that ain't a good thing. So we have to stay afloat.
With this being said, if all goes well, I can MAKE TIME for me. Here are a few tips that help me stand firm in my goals to just be:
This is the MOST important part of any relationship. I know, it's cliché, but the shit actually works if you put your phone down and use your words every once in a while. Inform your partner that you need some time to decompress, not be bothered, and recharge. I have started using the "spoon theory" and if I say to my husband, "I've run out of spoons or F's to give," he knows I need some time to myself. How and when that happens is my next point.
LISTEN to your partner to resolve, not reply. If there is something that needs to be addressed, determine how are you and that person are going to resolve that situation. We don't have a lot of time to ourselves, due to our jobs and children, so we have to carve out some time where he can enjoy himself, and most certainly, where I can find comfort in my solace. Because as the saying goes, "If mama ain't happy..."
Find the time to prioritize the things that make you happy. Yeah, I married my husband because he makes me "happy." Vanilla coke also makes me happy, but I didn't marry it. Does hanging out with friends recharge your battery? Netflix and chilling by yourself? A nap? Make sure you establish that time for you and ONLY you, so that no one will bother you. That "Do Not Disturb" option is a lifesaver, I tell ya.
4. Keep them in the loop.
If anything happens where you know it's gonna mess up either of your plans, LET THEM KNOW. I can't express enough how thoughtful it is to let your SO know if something came up or if an emergency happened, and they will have to raincheck their "me time." It also shows that you appreciate them, and that it will ultimately be reciprocated in the long run.
We use calendars, both phone and physical, to make sure that we stay abreast to what's going on with everyone's lives. It helps tremendously. And if by some amazing chance we get the opportunity to do our own thing, we do it, no questions asked. Well, of course, we ask, "Where ya going? How long? Who you going with?" The important stuff. It has made our lives so much easier. And has made me a little less stressed, which is always awesome.