Mmmmm, Saturday. Mine’s been a bit different than usual. Yours?
This week Miss Sarah gently tossed the term “burn out” in my direction.
It kind of stuck.
Once in a while being a self-employed single mom juggling an over-the-top load of freelance work and a non-stop schedule of R-kids’ ball games, concerts, and end-of-the-year award ceremonies, not to mention a house to keep and food to find and dishes to wash, catches up with me. As in complete body shut down accompanied by getting sick, losing all interest in pretty much everything, and feeling somewhere around the deeper depths of a depressed loser.
“But—” I protested, “but I intentionally took a break last weekend and went out with a friend and treated myself to a movie. And I didn’t even go to every game R-kids had this week. And I went to bed as early as I could manage. How can I still be burned out?”
But even as Miss Sarah offered her gracious wisdom, I already knew the answer.
Because what I have been needing is an absolute, 100% mental break. The kind that might find one staring at reruns of the Cosby show, as Miss Sarah put it. Or sleeping for hours. Or disappearing into a book. Or just disappearing.
I’ve known this. I’ve known that’s what I’ve been craving. But I’ve talked myself out of it and this week it finally hit me that my reluctance to give myself these kinds of desperately needed breaks stems from more than the cruel voice in my head that screams, “Selfish!” “Lazy!” “Waste of time!” Yes, I have to fight through all that noise, but there’s something more and I finally put my finger on it.
There are at least three things have been keeping me from fully sinking into my free Saturdays and soaking in the nothingness.
One is that there are so many fun things to do out there and so many fun people with which to do them! I don’t want to miss out!! Today alone I missed out on garage sales, a killer estate sale, a local art fair, and at least eight coffee/lunch/dinner dates I’m dying to have.
Ok fine Julie, so you don’t need to wile away every Saturday. Maybe just one here and there. What else is the holdup?
Well, there’s this. Not all, but most of my closest friends are married with children. For any one of them to have an entire day and night to herself in her own home during which she could choose to do absolutely anything she wanted—including nothing at all—is essentially unheard of. Some would do anything for a treat like that. Some have rented hotel rooms to experience that kind of freedom. And yet I have this opportunity every time R-kids spend the weekend with their dad, which is frequently.
So I’m left with this: If my married friends can keep functioning without a full weekend of rest, why can’t I? They don’t seem to need it, so I must not either. And plus I feel a little guilty getting this treat when my main girls don’t.
Seriously? Did you just say that? When has comparing ever been a good idea??? Especially comparing kumquats to avocados?
Let’s move on, sister.
Right. Alright, I think I can do that. But I finally unearthed a third thing that’s kept me from letting down my guard on these weekends. It’s this:
I don’t really want to be a single mom.
This was not my first choice. And, although this is a bit vulnerable to admit, I’d like to think it won’t be my reality forever. The problem I’ve got going in my head, though, is that if I get too used to certain perks of single momming, like the weekend breaks, I’m not sure how I’d be able to readjust if my life shifted back into married mode someday and there was at least one person who didn’t leave every other weekend. I think somewhere inside I decided it’s best to just “act married” and keep my Saturdays busy and productive.
So anyway, now that that’s clear….
Here’s what I did with my Saturday.
Slept ’til almost noon.
Drifted back to sleep for a few more hours.
Got up around 3 p.m.
Showered, deep conditioned my hair, and super moisturized my skin.
Cleaned the kitchen while listening to This American Life (felt the urge to do one productive thing, at least).
Chatted outside with some neighbors as funnel clouds skirted our ‘hood.
Cracked open some wine.
Turned on some dumb TV shows.
Did a little catching up here at the computer.
And I think I can truly say something has been restored.
Might need to do this again sometime.
(R-kids, it’s safe to come home again. Mom is back.)
by julie rybarczyk