When one becomes a mother of 3 energetic little boys, one discovers a world a possibilities that lie just beyond their reach. For me free time is nothing short of an impossible dream…a wish upon a star that will never come true. I suppose that all depends on your definition of “free time” though, doesn’t it? Before children, free time was after coming home from work when dinner was cooked. I could sit down and relax, eat dinner, watch television, read a book, have prayer, workout; I could do what I wanted. Weekends were literally all free time back then. My husband and I would take a trip to West Palm Beach or Atlantic City on the fly, whenever we felt like it, no plans necessary.
Today, a little over 8 years later, free time has taken on an entirely new (and somewhat pathetic) definition. Today free time is when the older boys are at school and the baby is in childcare for a few hours. Free time is when the older boys are playing outside and the baby just happens to be taking a short nap. Free time is that 30 minutes to an hour I spend awake after everyone in the house has fallen asleep, and sometimes (although this is quite rare) free time is when my husband decides to gather all three of the children and take them somewhere with him. I like to think that last one is just as impossible as the idea of having true “free time”.
The worst part about rarely having free time is what I do – or don’t do- with the time once I’ve got it. In my mind I’d like to study a little German, read a good book, eat a light snack, and catch up on a show I haven’t seen in a while. Or maybe I could run to a cafe and have a bite while enjoying the scenery of the town and reading a good book. Free time should be enjoyed right? Well, in most cases, I end up scrolling mindlessly on Facebook until my eyes are numb, then I grab some random (and likely unhealthy) snack from the pantry before I turn on some TV show I’ve seen a billion times and sit there on the couch like a log for an hour. By the time I remember something that I actually WANTED to do, the baby is awake, the children are back in the house and my “free time” is all but gone.
I don’t know how many moms out there experience this but I hope I’m not alone. The very second I’m allowed a moment to myself my brain begins to run, like a slot machine in a casino. of all the possible actions I can take in that moment. Shopping, reading, exercising, blogging (tee-hee), studying…why do I always end up doing nothing?! It’s a plague really, and it grows with each day that goes by. The problem is not that I have nothing to do, it is simply that I have not planned what I will do in the event that “free time” occurs.
I must say though, I am quite proud of myself today. Today I took a step that could possibly end the “free time” struggle for good. I went to a volunteer orientation. With my 2 year old not being in full time child care (because it’s super costly and I don’t work) I shy’d away from the idea of volunteering for fear that I wouldn’t have anywhere to take him, but today I decided, what the heck! I might as well go for it. My older children are going to be back in school in a month or so and I am going to be in the house all day every day with a 2 year old, resisting the urge not to rip my hair out. I know he’d much rather be at a day care playing with children his age and I would most certainly like to be doing more than crying about how depressing the gray German skies are, so I took a leap and I hope it pays off.
In fact, taking the time to write this blog today was another pretty awesome step towards curing the plague of “free time” that has overtaken my life. Who knows, maybe another 3 months from now I’ll be back here again.
…til next time