Snuggled In.






There. That's a bit better. We're still under the weather over here, but the mindfulness of taking a day off from the computer and from the many "shoulds" of our day-to-day was good for us all. We cancelled plans. We skipped washing that load of laundry. We took a hot bath. And there were many books, cups of tea, and plenty of time together on the floor playing.

One of our favorite cough remedies is a home made decoction made of elecampagne, wild cherry bark, licorice root, cinnamon, and pine needles. We also have some homemade lozenges we love, made without refined sugar. While the cough remedy is our own creation, I draw frequently from this book and urge anyone interested in learning how to make tinctures, salves, and other herbal medicine to pick a copy up. SO good. I love Rosemary Gladstar. Trusting yourself to care for your family in this way is both empowering and effective. And gentle in every way. We use homemade herbal preparations almost every day.

~ * ~ * ~

Lupine being under-the-weather has brought up an interesting thread for me: that of making time for myself. As I mentioned here, it is something I rarely do. That usually works for me. Most days I can pour myself enthusiastically into this life of mothering-and-homeschooling- full time. But sometimes it doesn't work so well. Sometimes I'd just like some time for myself, as I mentioned a couple of days ago.

I posed the question of making time for yourself to the people (mostly mamas) on my blog's Facebook page and I was quite surprised by the responses. You don't do any better at this than I. (Expecially the homeschoolers.) You are stealing time if you make time at all. You are likely running on empty sometimes. And I wonder what we teach our children when that is what we model.

It is a conversation that I'd love to participate in with you – how do we keep balance? How do we teach our children that they matter but that we also matter without pushing their needs aside? How do we make time in each day for the many facets of our family's needs, including our own?

It's a conversation that I'm looking forward to having with you. Share your thoughts, won't you? On how you do it, or how you don't.



32 thoughts on “Snuggled In.

  1. The Girls' Guide to Guns and Butter says:

    I think it’s important to NOT make it all about kids (and laundry and nice home), and this is not what they need – they need attention, but they also need plenty of space, even in a homeschooling setting. This approach is what makes our hopes for another three kids (on top of the two we have) seem sustainable and doable. The other part is to go light on expectations, those we hold for ourselves especially, and to relax the standards somewhat. An extra pile of dirty laundry will not make any difference, imo. And the most important thing to keep in mind (and I see this again and again) is that the kids will absolutely feed on the emotional climate in the family, so obviously if we are strung out, so will they. That’s especially when it’s important to pull back. Simplicity Parenting (which I now finished) will tell you this much too.

  2. The Girls' Guide to Guns and Butter says:

    I was going to also add that you just need to ask yourself – how do I spend time with my kids (or spend it on housework), and where can I cut back or delegate (to the spouse)? It’s not about just making the time here and there, but about creating the expectations and the pattern where nobody will expect too much from you, including yourself (you yourself will determine/define what that means to you exactly). It is my conviction that we don’t owe it to anybody to be the best at anything, even to our kids (even though this is what the American culture conditions people to believe).

  3. renee says:

    I was too preoccupied to chime in on your FB post the other day, but this is a conversation that I need to get in on. I’ve been feeling stretched thin and irritable lately, which is just not me. My husband works LONG hours and it was just passably bearable before, but our third baby has put me over the edge 🙂 Lately Ive been carving out (a paltry amount of) time for myself by being a bit more forceful: “If you are running that race Saturday morning then I need a few hours to myself on Sunday.” We mamas need to get over the guilt that this is selfish. Luckily, my husband understands the importance of some me time.

    Ive also resigned myself to the fact that the older two are just going to have to play by themselves more as I nurse the baby/cook dinner/make sure we have SOME clean clothes. Some days I feel like im almost ignoring them, but you know what? They play the most imaginative games when mama is off on the sidelines.

    OK, sorry for the novel! Ill have to check back in later for yall’s ideas.

  4. s says:

    Well, my kids are older, but I will chime in and say that I have no desire to show my family that mama doesn’t have her own needs. Also, I don’t want my son to think his wife shouldn’t do anything but take care of the family. And I don’t want my daughter to think she can’t have her own needs once she becomes a mother.

  5. Nahuatl Vargas says:

    I;m about to start homeschool, so I don’t have much experience on that topic, but I’m a single mother with no financial aid from the dad some from my own dad but always in a way of reminding me what a fail I’m so I will like to have to take that help, my point being I have to use lots of time on work, even when I choose to stay at home I struggle with even having enough time to give to my little one. So when you said that you use your computer just when they are sleep I kind of feel bad, I don’t want to teach my son to be in front of a screen all day, and sometimes, that’s exactly what I do. I’m a little lost here, sometimes I work at night but then I’m all sleep deprived, tired and grumpy. All I can say it that I feel blessed that my boy is a very special little one and he feels protective and caring for his mama, and so, sometimes, when I just can do anymore and need to take a nap in the afternoon he’s so good, not only telling me to rest and that he will look after me (he’s 5), but also being the responsible kid he always have been so I don’t have to worry for him doing anything dangerous.
    I don’t enjoy leaving him with any one, specially my mom, who has different ideas of kids than me, even when she is still very good and respectful.
    So my only time is when he goes to an art class on Thursdays, it’s only two hours, hardly time enough to get something done, and I even sometimes feel guilty not to make something productive, but mostly I go to a coffee shop and sit and that makes the trick, I guess.
    I really love to take care of him always about everything, meals etc., but I know how I get better at it, at connecting with him when I get my time off.
    I’m sorry if I gave a too long answer.
    Love to read you.

  6. Robyn says:

    I work 40 hours outside our home, so for me, i know i need some me time, but i just can’t stand the idea of giving up any of my limited time with my 2.5 year old. she’s growing so much everyday that i don’t want to miss anymore time than i have to. i also have huge issues with a lot of young mothers i know that seem to need too much time away from their little ones. i guess isn’t my place to judge how much is too much, but it seems excessive. i want my daughter to know she is always my first priority. i think i’ve gone too far over in one direction though. it probably doesn’t help any that my mother and MIL frequently mention how they wish they had savored their time with their kids more and had either not worried about the house being clean (my mother) or been around more (my MIL).

    but mostly, i really just don’t want to be away from my dd when i’m home from work. it would be great though if i could sew or something while she’s around and not have to have a helper every time. i guess that’s a good place for me to start. i do think it’s important to teach our children that our needs are valid too.

  7. Robyn says:

    I do agree in that when i leave my 2.5 year old to her own devices, the play she comes up with is so much more imaginative. i try to keep that thought in mind when i’m “ignoring” her to make dinner or take a shower. i also remember reading in a parenting book (was it Simplicity parenting?) that parents shouldn’t be constantly entertaining their kids, for that very reason. for me, DD will gladly play by herself if i am in the same room with her and not really doing much, but the minute i try to something exciting like crochet or sew, she’s all over me wanting to help. that’s why i wait till she goes to sleep. i need to find a way to set some boundaries there that mommy can have some time to do things by herself too.

  8. Lauren says:

    ugh. Me time. Sometimes when I just think about it I get resentful. My husband is a video gamer. This has caused alot of grief in our lives together bc while he’s playing the games, I am tending to every boo boo, every hunger pain, water request, wah wah mommy mommy…. I hate it. I talk to him about it and his response is “what do you want me to do, they dont ask me to do stuff for them they always just want you” and I’m like well I wonder why, you’ve always made yourself unavailable. He helps around the house but usually only when the house is starting to stink. So, that’s why when I steal my “me time” it is really stolen. I like to sew and read and I can really only do that if I neglect something. Usually housework. I don’t even care anymore if I neglect the housework, I get so tired of cleaning up the same mess every day. I don’t homeschool but definitely wish I did. If I homeschooled my frustration with not have time for anything would sky rocket and it would not benefit the boys. They are 7, 5, and 16 months. I read that post of yours several times, when you went to the cabin with your friend and your sewing machines… I wish I could have gone with you! Oh it would have fed my soul.

  9. The Girls' Guide to Guns and Butter says:

    I think this is the time when it’s important to delegate (like to your mom), even if the ideas on childcare do not coincide (perhaps can be worked out?). I don’t think you should have to do everything by yourself.

    Re computers during the day – I spend a large proportion of my time during the day on the computer, doing free-lance work (which I love and which is also my “self” time), and I am fine with the fact that during this time, my kids, 2.5 and 5.5, can play together or apart or outside, while keeping one eye on them (though I live in the country and setting them loose outside in our yard is a very safe thing to do, not like in a major city).

  10. amy says:

    I agree, Lauren, with the last comment. Tell your husband to shut off the freaking video games and participate in his life as part of a family.

  11. Emily says:

    I too get resentful when I dont get any time to myself. I am a homeschooling Mother of 3- ages 2 4 and 7 with another due in March. I have realizes long ago that this is a full time job and I do have to throw myself into it every day. However one thing I make SURE I get every day is at least half an hour( preferably a whole hour if possible) to have a quiet tea time in the afternoon.I make myself a tea and I may knit or look through a magazine or just sit amd stare! We call this room time for my kids and they go into their rooms and do somthing quiet. They usually enjoy this as it gives them a break from each other too. I do have a problem keeping my 2 year old in his room so I usually sit in there with him. Even so he is still learning about this since he just cut out his naps, but I know he will get it soon if I perservere. It is part of our daily rhythm and we all need it. It is just as important for the kids as it is for me to have time alone.

  12. Mousy Brown says:

    One thing I think is clear is that there is never going to be ONE perfect way to get that time we need…each of us has such different needs, children, support, finances, beliefs…..and the other thing that’s clear is however much or little time we grab, we will always feel bad about it. It took 10 years of running on empty and reaching a very low place indeed, for me to acknowledge that perfection in every area of my life was just not possible for anyone. Now I try and be happy with “good enough” in many areas (housework!) but I have also accepted that there are certain things that other people view as “too much”, that I love doing (baking, making etc) and those things I now see as me time as much (or more) as I would time away from my home. It’s all a learning process and I know sometimes I get it right and other times not so much so but another thing I have learned to do is not to be hard on myself if I do “fail”….If I can’t be kind to myself, nobody else is going to do it for me!

  13. Rachel Wolf says:

    Im so happy to hear that you are starting homeschooling. I know youve talked about it for a long time. Congratulations! It is hard. I have many friends whos parents and extended familia dont see things from the same place as they do. And its hard to leave your child with someone so different than you. I get that. Truly. Your two hours a week sound like a gift, where youve fond a sliver of time for you. Sending blessings, mama!

  14. Rachel Wolf says:

    My heart goes out to you. I have long been the go-to for my kids simply because I am so emphatic and responsive that I tend to beat my husband to the draw. But to have a partner that feel inaccessible is another layer of challenge. If your relationship will support it I would encourage you to work with your husband on limiting on-line time to post-bedtime so that you are both available to your children and he becomes a more valid and connected part of their everyday.

    Big hug,

  15. Rachel Wolf says:

    For me that attention-needs get thick when someone is hurting: sick, processing a loss, etc. and then I spend more time being hands-on than usual. And thats really the only time I awaken and notice – Oh! I havent been taking care of myself! I am striving to make a practice of taking care of myself before I become depleted. In truth, my life is so rewarding in every moment. Canning, hanging laundry, mothering, crafting. I dont want for much. But sometime I notice. There is a missing piece.

  16. Rachel Wolf says:

    I gave up on quiet time years ago and only recently revived it. Its been, um, messy. So Ive backed off. What I realized last week is that I need quiet time. For me. My kids find it throughout the day, but setting aside an hour that is my time is crucial for me being present the other 23. Before I was trying to convince myself that it was about them. It isnt. Its my time. 3

  17. Rachel Wolf says:

    I agree. Except that it depends on the temperment of the child. For Sage it is more difficult. He is more rigid and more needing security from his mama. With age it has eased, but when he was small it was all mama or meltdown.

  18. The Girls' Guide to Guns and Butter says:

    My son too has a lot more mama needs than my daugther (is that somehow a boy thing? My sample study size is too small to determine). Right now he is not even three yet so it’s all sweet and cute and natural. He does have mama meltdowns every time I take some hours (or, very rarely, a day) off (as in away from home) – but then works through them relatively quickly (according to the report from daddy, grandma, and occasional sitters). It remains to be seen what he’s gonna be like as he grows towards Sage’s present age. But as long as I am at home all day (not usually engaged but technically available at all times) he’ll wander off and do things alone for most of the day. In general, I am comfortable to wait for them to push through a meltdown and grow stronger through it (again, both of mine snap out of it quickly).

  19. Danielle says:

    I’ve been struggling with this a bit recently, even posting about it over on the blog last week. One of the commenters on my post reminded me how all the things we do in our day-to-day serves as a model for our children. Taking care of our home shows them that it is a lot of work to upkeep a space and shows them how to properly care for a home of their own someday. Taking that one step further it makes sense that showing them the ways in which we care for ourselves would model not only that we, their mothers, are important but that it is important to take care of yourself. To take time to relax, rest and restore.

  20. Rachel Wolf says:

    I think there in lies the intrinsic difference. Whether or not you (or I) are willing to push through the mama meltdown. Many of my friend are. I (and other friends) are not. And that is a crucial difference as to how easy or challenging it is to make time for self.

    Now that Sage is 9 I am more comfortable pushing through, but not until recently. (For Lupine, 4, it has been an almost non-issue for 1 or 2 years.) Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sofia.~ Rachel

  21. The Girls' Guide to Guns and Butter says:

    I agree that pursuing our interests within the home, and working towards excellence within those interests, regardless of whether or not they fit everyone else’s idea of what’s necessary vs. unnecessary, is a great form of “me” time. I myself don’t think of “me time” as away from home either (except during the deer season, which sustains me the rest of the year). I don’t however agree with the generalization that we all will always feel bad about. Personally, I never feel bad about it, as I know that making myself happy first (as long as nobody is made unhappy in the process) will assure that everyone else thrives (and so everyone does).

  22. Jennifer says:

    I am a homeschooling Mama to 2 little boys, 5 and 2. As far as “me” time,just like most of you I fail at it. My Mother told me once that one of the most important lessons you can teach your child is that you are a person with needs as well. That doesn’t mean being selfish, but that you also have things that need to get done that are important to you and that sometimes you want quiet space and alone time. My Mother rarely took this time, but when she did I always understood it wasn’t because she wanted to get away from us or because we were unimportant to her, it was because she needed that time to come back to us happier and more at rest. It also helped me to be more vocal later on when I wanted my space.
    For me I find it hard when they are so little and need so much from you. My oldest is getting better at becoming a bit more independent, but he is higher needs and requires lots of Mama attention. I am working on asking for help when needed and taking those few minutes when they are off on their own or with Dad to take a breath. Right now, I am trying to really be present with them for a time and then saying that I am going to do some Mama time now and getting things for myself done. It seems to be working somewhat. I am definitely more productive during the day and I am feeling less drained at night as I now have time to sit and knit or write or whatever. I do feel better hearing all of you with the same issue though.Thanks for starting this discussion.

  23. Renee says:

    My newest babe is 3 months old, so constantly in arms, but before she came I would do the same thing with afternoon tea 🙂 My kids don’t do a set “quiet time” so they would sometimes join me at the table, but it was just a time to sit and not think about all the housework that needed to get done. Do some knitting. And just the simple act of drinking the tea is calming, right?!

  24. jeanine says:

    I’m so enjoying reading these responses. Me time is a constant issue that comes up on my radar every few months. Namely when I’m so worn out I discover that I’m actually just tired and seriously need a break. I love the daily tea time idea. I’m all into daily rhythm that models to the kids healthy approaches. I haven’t done “room time” since my first kicked her naps since my two olders (age 4 and 5) play so wonderfully most of the day. But homeschooling/unschooling, I often feel like I should be doing more. Right. Always feeling like in an ideal world I’d be doing more. 🙂 And then when I really take stock in what’s happening here and what I’m doing, it does all add up to a lot of learning, a lot of healthy modeling, and a lot of work.
    Recently I thought maybe I’d start jogging to simply get away for a short while and have silence and fresh air. Not happening right now with the loose pit bull packs issue each fall…but perhaps later in the year I’ll give it a go. Or that lovely tea time idea. Anyhow, thanks for the great conversation Mamas.

  25. Mousy Brown says:

    I’m sorry – you are right that was a sweeping generalization, I should have said ‘most’ as in my experience most mother’s are good at the guilt thing…I look forward to a day when that is not the case!

  26. susan says:

    Carving out time is something I definitely need to work on. But I’ve also realized that how I spend my “me” time makes a difference. And this will differ from person to person, of course. But when I interact with technology during my rare quiet moments, I wind up wondering where my time goes and feeling somewhat unfulfilled. When I use my time to create or do something with tangible results (it can even be straightening up the house so that I can enter the rest of the day with more calm), I feel far more fulfillment. There are a few exceptions to this, of course. For instance, I could spend 5 minutes reading something online that lifts me up for the rest of the day. But more often, I whittle time away on the computer and wonder where it went. Speaking of which… my body is really telling me I need to go to bed at a reasonable time tonight…

  27. Emily says:

    That`s good that your kids will make thier own quiet time. For some reason mine tend to be around each other constantly and there is a bit of fighting so they look forward to the time alone. Maybe as my little one gets older they will seperate a bit more through their day!

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