It’s the little things that keep you sane.

by Monica Pitts

I remember when weekends meant getting lost in a book and lounging in the sun. I consumed chapter after chapter for hours on end. Now, I often feel guilty when I take 15 minutes before bed to read five pages while struggling to keep my eyes open.

There was a time, just five and a half years ago, when I would craft and watch movies until the wee hours of the morning. Now, I keep all those awesome art supplies hidden away in a cabinet, concealed in hard-to-open containers to protect them from my children. I dream about using them once again in Someday Land.

Gone are the days of lingering in whole weekends and evenings of “me time.” I now consume it in daily fragments. I could mourn the loss of hours of crafting and page turning, but instead, I try, like so many moms do, to find gratitude for the little moments I find. Those moments, if I’m present for them, can be fortifying, leaving me ready for what’s next. It’s not “me time” in the same way that is was before children, but my life isn’t the same either.  Like everything else, “me time” has evolved.

Running without pushing a stroller

Once or twice a week, I go running with a friend, and we try with all our might to leave our kids at home. Stroller-free running is liberating. I can swing my arms. I can run without stopping to break up fights or distribute snacks. The workout is just an added bonus.

The car ride from preschool to work

Each morning is its own rodeo, and I’m the bull rider. Sometimes, I get bucked off; sometimes, I joyfully ride ’til the buzzer. The five minutes it takes to get from preschool to my office are some of the most peaceful moments of my day. Red lights and road construction don’t frustrate me — they’re liberating in the aftermath of a hectic morning.

Showering

Time and water conservation go hand in hand when trying to get in bed early enough to function the next day. But some nights, I sacrifice bedtime (or literally start bathing my kids at 6 p.m.) so I can have a hot shower all to myself. I won’t lie: I’m an overachiever, and I multitask to maximize the moment. I can be found watching “Downton Abbey” or listening to a Janet Evanovich novel while in the shower. Isn’t that where all moms watch TV?

Doing the dishes

Yes, there are nights when my husband and I actually squabble over who washes dishes and who puts the girls to bed. The coveted dishwasher position grants a moment of “me time.” I put in my headphones, dance around the kitchen, and have the opportunity to accomplish a task uninterrupted. I think I actually get an adrenaline rush from the clean counters. 

A workout class I don’t have to lead

Occasionally, I show up for workout classes and the teacher asks, “What does everybody want to do today?” On those days, I want to cry a little, because the best part of going to a workout class is that I don’t have to make any decisions for the hour I’m there. From start to finish, someone else tells me what to do. It’s amazing.

Lights out

My husband asks me, “What exactly do you do up there for 45 minutes when you’re putting the girls to bed?” Answer: I’m taking “me time.” I find few things more relaxing than rocking in a comfortable chair with a sleeping child in my lap and reading a book. I think it’s my version of heaven. Although I’m doing a routine that’s fundamental to the livelihood of my children . . . it’s still all about me. 

Yard work

Yard work isn’t even work; it’s just plain awesome. I love weeding my flower beds. When Aveleen was a baby, I put her down for naps on the porch so I could spend the entire nap time pulling weeds. Later, when she got bigger, she sat in the baby carrier on my back while I gardened. We called it Pitts Family CrossFit. Now, I have to be a bit more inventive. Fortunately, a bucket of water or the garden hose can occupy the girls for at least 30 minutes so I can bliss out in the garden.

Cooking without burning

I am not a gourmet cook, but there’s something incredibly peaceful about chopping vegetables. You’ll notice a pattern here, but basically any time I can complete a task uninterrupted, I feel like I’m getting a slice of “me time.” It sometimes seems like cooking involves more running kids to the bathroom or breaking up fights than actual meal prep. While running interference, the water never fails to boil over, or the food gets scorched. Eating a hot meal without burn marks should constitute some type of award.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in doing everything for everyone else. There aren’t enough date nights and girls’ weekends to keep my glass half full. I’m working to find little moments of peace every day that remind me of the things I love and the people I love so I can continue to be peaceful and loving towards them.

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