Sunday, March 14, 2010

Me time, week 8

Eight weeks.  I've been taking time for myself now for eight weeks.  Well, I missed a couple Sunday mornings, but the point is I've been thinking about ME for eight weeks now.  What a difference eight weeks have made.

Two months ago I was angry, tired, and disappointed.  I felt like I was at the end of my rope.  I needed a break.  I needed to reconnect.  I needed a change.  I reached out for help.

I met a new friend who helped me understand that what I was going through was not uncommon, but also not unimportant.  My challenges were just that, challenges, not obstacles.  I could work through the challenges, and I could free myself of the anger, fatigue, and disappointment.  Life as a working mom doesn't have to be an uphill battle.  It can be, and is, fun, fulfilling, and worthy.  I am worthy.  I am fun.  I am not crazy.

On this journey, I've found the inherent truth in the adage, "When Mommy ain't happy, ain't nobody happy".  I've also uncovered, and come to appreciate, the unique aspects of what makes up me and the person that I've become.  One of those things is ADHD/ADD.  I've passed the "honeymoon" period of excitement and relief, and have arrived at the stage where the work begins.  I've spend the last month since my diagnosis piecing together aspects of my life which have been shaped by the ADD which I've dealt with, unknowingly, most of my life.  I've made the connection between things I thought I couldn't do, and living with something that simply makes those things more difficult for me to do.  I've come to see that there is little that I "can't" do, and that I'm really not as inept in many areas as I once thought I was. 

One of the ways I've come to reconnect is by carrying out the assignment my new friend gave me, which is to leave the house each week.  Leave the house, don't just sit in a room with the door shut trying to block out the chatter, cries for Mommy, and sounds that are going on in the house.  Not having any clue how to do this, I finally just picked a Sunday morning and left the house, and headed to a local Panera.  There, I got to know a cast of characters, both patrons and employees, who provided me with plenty of people watching material.  After a few weeks of going there, though, I lost the magic.  I wasn't drawn there any longer.  I could tell that I wasn't really spending time on me, I was spending time listening to the conversations, watching interactions, learning how people order their bagels, and getting annoyed by that damned bagel cutter.  I struggled with whether that was really my just right spot, or if it was time to find another.

Fast forward to today.  After a week off, it was time for me to leave the house for my Sunday morning me time.  Where would I go?  I seriously struggled with what to do.  I finally decided to head to the Panera closer to my house.  I chose Panera because I have a fun toy (which I'm writing on right now) that I wanted to try out.  Now that I've become comfortable with the concept of "hanging out" in one of these coffee venues, I needed a comfortable place to play with my new toy, but one which wasn't as busy as the other place.  I think I've found my just right spot.  This location is slightly smaller, much more open, and tons more inviting.  What a difference.  It's not quite as busy and is not in the center of town.  The staff are friendly, showed me the table where the coffee is, and I've seen most of the customers come in and be greeted with familiarity, as they are obviously regulars, or at least know the staff better than a first-timer like me.

In an area like this, just outside Chicago, it's easy to get lost.  Not just the directionally challenged kind of lost, but, lost in the proverbial shuffle.  On one hand, it's nice to know that everyone doesn't know every time you sneeze, fight with your spouse, or turn without using your turn signal.  On the other hand, it can be tough to have that Little House on the Prairie feeling of knowing your local business owners, knowing your neighbors, and knowing that your community is there for you when you need it.  It is possible, though.  I feel, in this one small spot in this one large city, that I'm comfortable and welcome.  This is a huge business, it's not a local shop (still looking for one of those, they're so few and far between any more).  Still, in this one store, I walked in and felt comfortable.  Perhaps I wouldn't have felt so out of place that first week if I'd been in here. 

Anyway, this time I've been taking for myself has allowed me to recharge a little and refocus on the positive.  It's given the kids time to reconnect with their Daddy.  It's given us all that little break we were all needing.  Now, Momma's happy.  Now I think we're all happy.