Or, How I Learned to Have Me-Time
The time has come.
The time is now.
I don’t care how.
-Dr. Seuss, Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!
Dr. Seuss is a genius. In his loose anapestic tetrameter, he teaches kids about believing in themselves, saving the environment and the meaning of Christmas. He reminds parents about the beauty of make-believe, the joy of reading and the importance of teaching our kids. Dr. Seuss taught me an important lesson: sometimes you just need to go. Go. GO! I don’t care how.
I need me-time. Yes, I had to learn that.
In the days, weeks and months after my daughter was born, I gradually lost my own identity. I wasn’t Chryssy: Monty Python fanatic and lover of tempranillo wine and long baths. I was Mama: moo-cow and post-op cripple. My body wasn’t my own any more. I could barely walk after the C-section, and I had a small human who loved my breasts more than any man ever did. It was a perpetual cycle of eat-sleep-clean-cry. I was wading through the muck of postpartum depression, which is really hard when your C-section incision isn’t healing properly.
But this isn’t about postpartum depression. This isn’t something you’d read in Chicken Soup for the Soul. This isn’t a plucky tale about how I learned to love myself by staring into the eyes of my beautiful baby and it was all better. Screw that noise. It’s not like that. Postpartum is rough, but I got through.
I didn’t come through postpartum the same person I was when I went in, though. I was still frustrated, flailing and fried. The life-consuming nature of having a newborn doesn’t go away as they get older. It just gets different. I still make her meals. They don’t come from my boobs anymore, but I still have to make them. I’m not teaching Binnybeans to crawl; I’m teaching her to read and write and add. I still wipe my son’s butt. We’re at least a year off from potty training. And Budgie still doesn’t walk independently.
Which is where Dr. Seuss comes in.
My daughter’s favorite book is Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! She can recite it. Show her a page, and Binnybeans can tell you the words that go with that picture. We read it to her almost every day. The entire point of this book is to tell this pesky Marvin K. Mooney to get lost. Or so I thought for the first half million times I read it.
We don’t know what the deal is with this Mr. Mooney. Is he a guest who has overstayed his welcome? Is he a child who will be late for school if he doesn’t leave RIGHT NOW? Is he a mischievous toddler whose mother just needs a break? Is he a workaholic who needs to be told to take a break?
Better said, is he me?
I’m that workaholic. I’m a butterfly in a shoebox: always moving. If I’m not doing housework, I’m blogging or doing freelance writing. If I’m not reading job postings, I’m reading to my kid. I’m always writing grocery lists, computer programs, and articles. I don’t stop. I don’t remember the last time I watched Monty Python or slowly enjoyed a glass of tempranillo and a bubble bath. I’m lucky if I can take my sweet ass time slowly dumping out without my kid pushing through the door.
It’s sad that my idea of me-time is taking a dump.
So I’m taking a page from Marvin K. Mooney. (I’m not sure which page it will be. I rather enjoy the idea of getting on my way in a Zumble-Zay.) I’m going to go. Not forever. Not even for long. But for long enough to enjoy a TV show, a long walk, or a few chapters from a good book. Long enough to paint my nails without smudging them as I terminate a toddler’s tantrum. Long enough to have lunch with a friend I’ve lost touch with during my self-imposed mommy-sequester.
I am Mama. But I am also me. The time has come for me to realize that. The time is now for me to do something about it. So I will go, go, go do something that has nothing to do with my kid, my classes, or my house. Something that is for me. Like going for a ride on my bike. Or a zike-bike, if I like… and I think I might.
The time had come,