Today I went to the Y with the girls. As usual, I dropped J off at her preschool program, C at the babysitting/nursery and headed into my Zumba class. This routine’s been going twice a week for about 4 weeks and has been great for giving me a chance to exercise (helping to ward off the postpartum depression), feeling stronger and overall happier.
After the Zumba class I checked in on C in the babysitting – she was fast asleep. I decided to take advantage and have some “me” time. It was a gorgeous day so I pulled up a chair near a big window in the lobby, ordered a quiche from the snack bar and settled in to enjoy the sunshine, a snack and read the book I just borrowed from the library.
I was relishing in the thought of eating a meal with no interruptions. Tickled pink to enjoy some Vitamin D from my seat. And almost giddy to be able to read my book. While sitting there I saw a group of moms heading into an early-year’s program with their infants & toddlers in tow. Strollers abound and kids running to-and-fro, excited just to be alive.
Just then, my friend came up to me – surprised to see me sitting, enjoying a blissful meal in the sunshine without my 2 kids.
“What do you think you’re doing?” she said.
“Oh, I just finished my class and thought I’d have a bit of me time and enjoy the weather and a snack.” I replied.
“Must be nice to have the money to have a Y membership and ship your kids off to daycare so you can be by yourself. Not really a real mom, are you?” she retorted.
“Guess not…” I mumbled, shocked but also ashamed to be caught enjoying some time to myself when I know there are moms out there struggling, feeling overwhelmed by their 2 or more kids.
“Don’t you also send J to an at-home daycare 3 times a week? Why would you send J to daycare 3 times a week if you’re on mat leave? What do you do all day?” she continued.
“I do,” I replied meekly. “Part of the reason is to allow J a chance to socialize with her friends, but it also gives me a chance to spend some one on one time with C and run errands.”
“Sounds lazy to me.” as she sauntered off.
I sat there – ashamed and embarrassed of the mommy life I was living. I slowly ate the rest of my quiche and tried to enjoy the sunshine and book, but was left with a lingering feeling of hurt and guilt.
I know what you’re thinking – what a horrible friend…who would accost someone like that when they were just trying to enjoy an hour to themselves?
The truth is, that horrible friend was me.
I was the one saying those things to myself. I was the one who doubted whether I deserved to have “me” time. I was the one who bullied and took away my own happiness in that moment.
How many times have I said horrible things to myself, doubted myself at home & at work, bullied myself into thinking I’m not good enough and that I don’t deserve to be happy in life?
At least once every single day…and I’m sure I’m not alone.
Today and going forward I commit to being my own best friend. I commit to treating myself with decency, respect, love and encouragement. I commit to treating myself the way I would want my daughters to treat themselves. I commit to being the best person I can be, starting with being kind to myself.
And I invite you to join me.
I’m happy I had the chance for some “me” time and to be happy. I’m thankful to have had a conversation with a good friend on the weekend, who helped me identify times when I was being my biggest bully. I’m hopeful and commit to being my own best friend and recognizing my own self-worth, so my daughters will see me and model the same behaviour.