Me Time : Two Extremes

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Me Time - Two Extremes

As a mother, so much is required of us. Let’s face it, mothering is not easy. Rewarding, yes. Easy? Far from it.

It empties us regularly. Not of fulfillment, but of rest and clear thought.

Many of us have been taught one of two things about me time. You know, the time a mother gets alone?

Two Extreme Beliefs About Me Time

1. We believe that we deserve “me time” based on how hard we’ve worked, how many hours we’ve put in, and the stress our “job” as a mother puts on us. After all, we’ve earned it.

or

2. We are fully against the “me time myth” and believe it’s an extreme act of selfishness for any mother to desire such a thing.

Here’s why both these extremes can be unhealthy.

Entitlement Leads to Bitterness

When we believe we’re entitled to this time for ourselves, it’s easy to see how we can fall into the trap of having rights to get it . I mean, we do work extremely hard and need a break, right? Well, yes, this is true. But we have to be careful how we set our minds on this. When we believe we are entitled to, have earned, or deserve something, we can get very upset when we don’t get it. This can put our family in a foul position. They become the target of our irritability when we don’t get what we want. In fact, sometimes we can actually blame them or become bitter toward them because we feel as if they are the reason for our “need” of me time and possibly the result of not getting it at times.

Additionally, when we do get our me time, what we have chosen to do was not very productive at “filling our tank”, so we begin to need this me time more often. We indulge in our flesh and it is never satisfied. Our need of me time is focused on only ourselves and satisfying its desires {which are never really satisfied}. No matter how much time we got, it wouldn’t be enough.

This becomes a dangerous breeding ground for selfishness. This me time can become such an idol that all we can think about is the next time we’ll get some. It becomes an addiction. Yet it lacks substance so it’s not truly fulfilling.

It is a Myth Moms Need a Break

On the other hand, some completely reject me time and claim the need is a total myth.  Any woman who felt she “needed” this me time was just being selfish and trying to feed her own desires. God put us into this role and we should not try to “escape” it. We are to put our children and husband first and learn to sacrifice. It is absurd to think that mothers need a break.

 

Both these ideas of thinking can be toxic. There may be mothers who can go long bouts of time without needing to step away for a breather. And there may be some who need to step away more often than some would be comfortable with themselves. We all carry different needs and to dismiss or degrade one mom’s need over another is dangerous.

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I caution both of these me time extremes. Neither one is healthy. Either we’re “over eating” or we’re “starving” ourselves.

In order for me time to be healthy, it needs to be productive.

Next Monday I will address being intentional with your me time.

What do you struggle with when it comes to getting time for yourself?

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Comments

  1. I find that if I get a break (I’ve never called it me time, but I’m sure it’s essentially the same) I’m more refreshed and relaxed, able to interact more kindly and productively with my kids. I don’t demand the time though, just take it when I can! My husband and I try to go on a lunch date on Sundays after church, and go to the grocery store. This is my main “me time”, I love the one on one time with my husband! I’d rather be with him than alone, though I do have to be careful like you said, I have found myself upset if a few weeks go by and we haven’t gotten this time. I also try to make it to the women’s events at our church. I love the fellowship and there’s often a great message and testimonies that boost my faith and refresh me.

    • Christin says:

      Yes, so true…the label is inconsequential but figured most would know what I meant. :D You seem like you have a good balance, Tracee. :)

  2. Love your point about how we use our free time. I never thought about it but you’re right, if we use it in ways that don’t refresh (my words) then we come away still wanting more, and more… and like you said, it never satisfies.
    I agree that neither extreme is healthy. I like to remind tired women that even Jesus had to pull away from the crowd. Not so he could escape from all responsibility or reality, but so he could get with God alone and be refreshed for his ministry.

    • Christin says:

      Exactly, Beth!

    • Colleen says:

      I need to remember this too! Sometimes grabbing an electronic escape is just a means to waste brain energy (or lack of it more so!) and a book/reading can seem daunting for me…I am so glad God is not limited by just a time of quiet reflection- that’s what I probably need most!

  3. This is so true! I like my own personal space, but being a mama to a 2 year old who’s love language is quality time it’s hard to find the balance between taking me time or giving her what she needs. I’m often off balance with it.

    And yes, what we do in our “me” time can refresh or cause us to get greedy. Quiet time works better than distracted by electronics time I’ve found for myself.

  4. I have learned I need that time to regroup, refresh or whatever you want to call it. I also remind my children and husband that even Jesus on several occasions went off to Himself to be with the Father. So I too deserve that time as well. I feel we are suppose to have that time. To pray, read the word or just need to get our thoughts together. I am trying to over come an anger problem so right now my family knows I need a few moments. Now I am not talking a whole lot of time but at least 10 minutes of not being disturbed.

  5. My biggest struggle with me time is the guilt I feel for needing it. As an introvert, I require time alone in quiet, which is why I get up very early in the mornings to pray and study. But to leave my home alone or to have someone take my kids for a few hours or even the day, makes me feel guilty. I want to use my time very productively and then feel bad when I don’t get done what I think I should have. Lately though I’ve just been relaxing and enjoying the quiet to unwind and it’s been nice.

    Looking forward to your next post!

    • Christin says:

      I, too, am an introvert and really require some down time in order to keep refreshed. But my time needs to be productive. If I waste it, it’s not fair to anyone and it’s not being a good steward on my part.

  6. Colleen says:

    This is such a great topic!! I fall into a gap somewhere in between these two spectrums…I have to constantly remind myself not to act as though I deserve a break but what I struggle with more so is a constant 1-up type thing with my husband. That whole “well I did this and expected you to do that” or “I took them to the park for 2 hours for you to have quiet time and now I should get a break” {exactly the case today} But as I was thinking that way, God stopped me and reminded me that I *wanted* to take my kids to the park- I even enjoyed doing it! So why would I expect something for it?! That darn flesh!

    This is actually one of my biggest fears of struggle when we embark on our first year of homeschool next year! I am not so much in fear of the daily schedule/work load as much as I am in fear of the burn-out intensifying this battle of “me time” with my husband! I can only anticipate a “need” for more alone time once my 3 kiddos are with me ALL day, right?!

    Lord help us all :) xo
    Colleen

    • Christin says:

      Oh you are not alone in those feelings, Colleen! Hang in there. Keep taking those thoughts captive and give them to Him! :)

      I recommend setting something up ahead of time that will allow you something consistent to refresh. Talk it over with your husband so it’s not a surprise and work something out. :)

  7. I certainly do not come from the perspective that I “deserve” me time, or time where I can fulfill some desires that God has placed on my heart that very well may not be able to be accomplished 100% by caring for my children, but I do feel that for me to be the best mom I can be, that there is a balance that is best for everyone in my family.
    I enjoy running, it is good for me and especially good for my family – I can get some fresh air, jump start my body and really keep myself in good physical condition. This would be very hard for me to do if I was pushing a stroller with 3 kids! LOL The reality is that I do need to do this activity without the accompaniment or caring for my kids – so my wonderful hubby helps out. It works great.
    I do agree that if we become wrapped around the thinking that we deserve time away or a break for a weekend that is can pollute our souls. Entitlement is such a nasty word and place to come from…… but I think knowing ourselves, seeking God’s desire for our life and what He has planned and allowing Him to help us navigate really does work out best. Whether it is a “break” at 5:30 AM to be alone, or a 5 mile run to be in my own thoughts….it is all good! :-)

    • Christin says:

      Totally agree, Susan. Balance is important and I think that balance simply comes from following His lead. Great thoughts and thank you for sharing them!! You bless, me Susan–in so many ways. xoxoxo

  8. Looking forward to the next post! I have had such a struggle with feeling the need for “me-time” and feeling guilty that I would need that – and then even when I do get some, I don’t consistently feel refreshed and so is it even worth it? And just what do I do to make sure it is refreshing and fulfilling?? Like I said, I look forward to your input. :D

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