Yesterday morning, as I was laying on a medical bed with an IV in my arm, I realized the ridiculousness that motherhood creates when it comes to down time. Between parenthood and work and being a wife, sometimes it's hard to get quiet time alone where there isn't some sort of demand on your time or attention. But it's always surprising to realize what random things--even things that are normally inconveniences--turn into calming "me time". Here is my random list:
1) The five minutes I had to wait for the nurse to take me back for my endoscopy, despite having an IV in my arm and a hospital gown on. At least they let me keep my pants.
2) Waiting at the doctor's office
3) Being stuck in the drive-thru
4) A shower that takes place before the kids are awake
5) Using the bathroom without any kids around
6) Driving/flying long, boring distances alone; Bonus points if I get to stop somewhere cool or have a good book to read in the airport.
7) Staring blankly out the window at work while my frozen meal cooks in the microwave
8) Waiting in the car for anything, like when I get to my mom's group a few minutes too early
9) Working out alone, although this one sometimes falls into the "demand" category as I don't always want to do it. But when it feels like something I really want to get out and do, like when it is a beautiful day for a run or when I need the stress release of a tough workout, it is wonderful "me time".
10) Washing dishes, although some days it is definitely more of a pain than any form of relaxing. But when I need a break from the kids' craziness, sending everyone back out into the living room or outside while I wash dishes can be a few minutes of unexpected bliss.
In all of these cases, just those few stolen minutes of quiet, without anyone calling my name or climbing on me, or asking me to do something, or without me having to worry that the kids are going to destroy something or one another, is relaxing. It's ridiculous, actually, and is probably a sad reflection on how exhausting motherhood can be sometimes. To be able to find joy in daily annoyances, particularly for someone who isn't exactly patient, is pretty incredible.
What's more, despite the sadness of the many funerals I've attended this year, the fact that I've been able to do them without kids--to travel, mourn, and catch up with family uninterrupted--has been its own type of escape. That seems awful given the circumstances, but I think any change from the daily grind can be refreshing, even if it is tinged with sadness. It's not a bad thing to get a reminder of how precious life is, and to remember how important it is to embrace life--despite its challenges--and appreciate what we have while we have it. The chance to get that perspective is so rare, and it took motherhood to get me to realize how necessary it is. So I find moments in which to do it, at the most random of times.
Parenthood is funny sometimes.