As a Stay-At-Home-Parent (SAHP), we have a tendency to give unconditionally to everyone but ourselves. Our kids, "Mom/Dad, can I do this?" "Mom/Dad, can I have this?" "Mom/Dad, I need money for this."; or our spouses or significant others, "Honey, will you do this?", "Honey, I know you made plans but I really need us to do that.", "Honey, could you help me do this?" We do a lot of things for everybody else, but where do we fit in to this puzzle? Where are we on the totem pole in our own life? For many years, I know I've been on the bottom and no where near the middle or the top. I put my family at the top and my needs last, and that's where we as SAHP's fall short.
Last week, I was sick with itchy& burning eyes, runny nose, chest congestion, and going hoarse, but guess what everybody in my household depended on me to get everything done. Get the kids up, get them on the bus, walk the dogs, clean house, do laundry, and cook dinner-all of that and I can barely see my hand in front of my face with those itchy & burning eyes, but I pressed on and got my house in order. When I finally laid down, my kids were coming in from school and of course I had to help get homework done (believe it or not, my kids have correct answers more often than not). Attempted to lay down again, and it was time for us to eat dinner as a family. This is the time, I willingly give my time and attention so that we can have communication with each other. So, after I have to ask if someone will load up the dishwasher, I make an attempt to shower and get into bed, only to be disturbed by the yelping of my dogs needing to go outside. However, since I am the dog whisperer and I'm the only one that understands what there yelps and cries mean, they waited until I finished my shower to address their needs.
Finally, I attempt to lay down again only for my daughter to pick this time to have some mommy-daughter conversation time. Of course, being the only adult she cares to talk to I acquiesce and permit her into my bed to have the conversation she suddenly needs. I let her ramble on as my eyes start to close, when she finally decides to say "Mom, you look like you're getting sick, I'll let you rest." Even when I'm sick, my time is not my own, so when do I get the time to focus on being the best me possible?
We're too busy being everything to everybody, that we can't focus on what we need. My S.O. says, "You're home by yourself all day, that should be more than enough time for you to spend time by yourself." See, that's the biggest mistake and conclusion people tend to jump to when they hear that you're a SAHP. We're classroom volunteers or classroom parents, I have a child that has Asperger's, so I spend a great deal of time at his school in meetings with his teachers and counselors and that's just me checking in on him. Did I, also, mention I have dogs? Yes dogs, two loving beagles, that I'm going to probably let be someone else's happiness, because I just don't have the time anymore. But, they're both overweight which means walking them, since I no longer have a huge backyard, and one has the audacity to be allergic to grass so he is supposed to get weekly allergy shots like my child (I say supposedly, because times are hard and my concern and dollars are for those I share DNA with and not mere animals). Time to do with as I please is something that happens as often as a blue moon and a leap year, it's a rarity.
And now, in the next few weeks, I won't be a SAHP for awhile, but an income earner (getting an opportunity to work in the field I will be in the pursuit of obtaining either a second Bachelor's or Master's in and paying those student loans back). With me becoming an income earner, I can afford that time to relax away from home and be pampered by the strangers at the spa, being as they are paid to pay me attention. I can take that time to runaway from home for a weekend and spend time with my like-minded sisters. Better yet, I can stretch my natural hair so I can let it down to it's actual length and not it's shrinkage length, eat my favorite foods, and toast the life that I can't wait to live on my own terms. Right now, I only have the time to be one of the many hats that we SAHP's wear and hope that soon I'll get that much need time off.