A recent discussion has got me frustrated about the same topic of discussion that frustrates me often.
The Dr Sears model of Attachment Parenting calls for “balance.” Balancing your needs and those of your children. It attempts to emphasize the fact that you don’t need to be with your children 24/7 for them to be healthy and attached. And that’s true. At first, I believe you DO need to be there 24/7, but there comes a point when they’re able to live without you for a few hours.
I think we can all agree on that.
But why, then, can we not agree that all parents have differing needs, desires, and abilities to have “me time”? It seems like every time this conversation comes up, I mostly hear people complaining that the Natural Living community doesn’t put enough emphasis on me time. But this always comes up during a conversation in which 98% of the participants are pushing Me Time with religious zeal.
I look at the activities I can’t/don’t participate in within the NL community – all of Willowsong’s groups, for example – because children are not allowed, and the meetings are held at a time when I don’t have childcare (or because I have a baby too young to leave, or because I simply do not WANT to leave).
And then there’s the aspect that I think bothers me the most. Some parents, usually those who need and take a LOT of “me time,” end up pushing the conversation so far that they seem to be saying to those of us with less “me time” that we are doing something wrong. I even said such in a recent conversation and the response was mostly “yeah, well, whatever.” (previously in the conversation there was a hint of suggestion that those with less “me time” are just being myrtrs.)
That’s when it occurred to me that I might have less in common with moms who are “just moms” than I thought. Because it doesn’t matter how much ‘me time’ I think I might need (more on that later), the reality of life is that I simply cannot take 2 hours twice a week. (yeah! 4 hours a week!!) What I can do is think about my “alone” work time (on Thursday nights after dinner – about 8 – until I drop – about 2 or 3 am) as “me time.” Is it particularly recharging? No. Am I free of having to take care of the needs of little people? Usually.
That’s not being a myrtr. That’s being a business owner. (and those of you who live rural and have chores and such that must be done count as business owners, too.) It’s just life. And no matter how much I explain it, there are still people who are “just moms” who do not seem to be able to understand this.
I’m sure parents of special needs kids eventually hit this point, too. The “man, I have nothing in common with those people” point. Because I can’t imagine caring for an autistic child, or a child with MD, etc.