Adjusting to life with a pre-teen child is unusual. For me it was especially unusual because I "joined a family already in progress," as the lovely Erin of Stepchicks so perfectly describes it.
I had no children of my own coming in to my marriage. My stepson was nearly 9 years old when I met him. In no time flat, my life went from being mostly about me to being much more about my stepson. There was homework to help with, sporting events to attend, and after school arrangements to be made. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the family time, but I didn’t want to lose the “me” I was for the “us” I was becoming.
My husband coaches baseball and soccer, so even when my stepson didn't have a game, my husband's time was swallowed up quickly with phone calls to parents, field preparation, or scheduling umpires and referees. I would suggest an outing to a park or a store to find out that "we have practice from 1:00 to 4:00, but maybe after that."
Learning that my schedule was tied so intricately to my stepson's was a shock to my system. To get my “me” time back I had to make this work. I put the practice and game schedules in my calendar so I wouldn’t be caught of guard.
I continued to attend the games (and now I even understand what's going on most of the time). I do my best to make every game and the boys know that I love them and that I’m interested in what they are doing.
Practice time, however, became my time. During practices I catch up on things I want to do whether it is watching a "girly" television show, reading in a perfectly quiet house, writing in my journal, or wandering a store at my own pace (not the pace of someone worried about boring her beloved boys).
Then when the boys come home, I'm refreshed and content rather than anxious and irritable. By changing my perspective and learning to take advantage of the schedule, I have saved my own sanity.
The funny thing is the boys never really needed me at the practices. That is their “me” time. Time to be boys and play hard.
How do you get your “me” time in?