My calendar is getting full. Every January when I get back from the holidays, I buy a new datebook … a new datebook for the new year. I keep track of the kids’ school days and their days off, their weekly classes and play dates, and birthdays and birthday parties. I jot down the daily pick ups and drop offs of my kids at school. I schedule doctor and dentist appointments, and I block out the hours that I teach, write and see patients. This year I scheduled special weekly time with each of my children, special one-on-one time. And this year my husband and I will try for one date night a week, “try” being the operative word.
As my datebook fills up, finding time for myself is a challenge. If I’m lucky, I can schedule a workout or a walk, but even then, those plans are often the first to be scrapped if something unexpected comes up during the day.
So I’ve made a little promise to myself. I will make a date with myself once a week in 2016! I thought I would share this promise that I have made to myself in my Mommy Tune-up blog, just in case any other moms wanted to join me … not on my date, but in scheduling their own date with themselves.
There is often one relationship in our lives that suffers the most; ironically, this relationship may very well be the most important relationship we have in our lives. This is our relationship with ourselves. It feels quite natural to nurture and grow our personal, professional, romantic and familial relationships. It is accepted and quite expected that we devote time and energy to the relationships we have with the people closest to us. But what about the person that is closest of all?
We’re not taught as children to have a relationship with ourselves. I hear comments made about children like, “Isn’t that great that she can play by herself?” I am not sure that comments like these actually celebrate a child’s ability to spend time with him/herself, rather I think it is meant to celebrate the so-called freedom that this allows mom and dad to get things done around the house. When I watch my daughter happily playing by herself (dancing, pretending, chatting, singing, swinging), I can only hope that she will remain that at ease and that comfortable in herself and by herself as she continues to grow and mature.
On our way to adulthood, we learn about and experience the things that take us away from ourselves. We become distracted and anxious, nervous and overwhelmed, and busy and stressed. We feel our bodies less and less, and we become self-conscious. We become aware of being observed and noticed, and hence we become aware of how we look and especially how we look to others. We feel criticized, judged, insecure and ashamed, and as a result, we develop a sense of ourselves that exists outside ourselves and feeds our critical voice. We feel anxious, judged, frustrated and stressed out.
The overall effect of becoming self-conscious, critical and anxious is that it becomes not so much fun to spend time with ourselves. It is much easier to be distracted by television, Facebook, a video game, or food. A party or a night out with friends is much more attractive than a night to ourselves; don’t get me wrong, I think our connections with our families, our friends, and our communities are of the utmost importance. But those relationships are no more important than our connection to ourselves.
I have a date scheduled this week with myself, and I plan to make it a regular thing. A lunch date, a coffee date, a hiking date, a yoga date. In February I have a weekend away date with myself. I will block off the time, and I will make it happen. If I have to take a rain check one week, I will make good on my promise the next.
I invite you to join me … to make a date with the most important person in your life. Who knows, you might find that you are very good company and a whole lot of fun?
Together let’s prioritize ourselves in the new year. Let’s make connecting with ourselves, feeling ourselves and growing and nurturing our relationship with ourselves happen. Mark those calendars!