Parenting worries: You will never have a moment to yourself again
You will never have a moment to yourself again.
I hear this a lot, from every parent. Even the ones I consider rational and chill, the ones who don’t peddle in the “your life is over” cliches that some parents throw around when they’ve given up trying to say anything meaningful. And if the rational and chill parents say it then it must be true.
But you don’t mean it literally… do you?
Here’s the thing – I really, really like moments to myself. They are some of my favourite moments of all. And the thought of never having another one makes me break out in hives.
Maybe this is sanity-preserving denial talking here, but I can’t actually imagine it to be entirely true.
Realities I believe:
1. Parenting is a very demanding job, especially while your kid is young and entirely dependent on you in order to stay alive. You need to be constantly alert to their needs – needs that are many and varied and confusing and occur at inconvenient time intervals.
2. Kids sleep. More than adults.
3. The kid in question also has a father with two capable hands, even if he does lack boobs.
Despite the total overwhelming-ness of truth 1, I would like to believe truths 2 and 3 still add up to some moments to myself. Moments when I can brush my teeth and my hair, when I can linger in the shower for an extra few minutes, when I can stick my face in my dogs adorable fur, when I can soak in some sun at the dog park. Moments when I can indulge in checking twitter and reading the next “22 things that will make you feel like you are understood” list.
But maybe this isn’t what you mean. Maybe you still have physical segments of time that are yours, albeit much smaller ones, but the true cost is a mental one. That even those moments you are brushing your hair you are thinking about your kid. What she might need and when.
This I can begin to understand.
In our household I tend to be the manager. Not the boss mind you, but the manager. The one who keeps track of shit. I try to explain how exhausting it is to John but it’s a difficult thing to communicate; it’s not a chore one can check off a list. It’s not a physical activity that occupies a specified time period. Perhaps this is what parents are trying to express when they say they have no moments to themselves; kids infiltrate your mind even more than your physical space and time. And at that point, the best babysitter or the furthest vacation will not allow you a true moment to yourself.
This might almost be more terrifying, but at least it’s a territory I somewhat grasp. Mental obsessing is well-beaten ground for me.
So parents – be honest. What do you really mean when you say you have no time to yourself?