Like it is for many professional women, my life is an extremely busy one. Between my three kids, my job, running the house and everything in between, there is often very little me time.
This past weekend, I learned something about myself which I suspected for a long time but was never quite able to label or put my finger on. Some would say that I had an AHA moment.
The weekend was a particularly crazy one in our home. It was my daughter’s 6th birthday party. And although between my 3 children I can put together parties in my sleep, for some reason this weekend was a tough one for me. Maybe it’s because I had 26 five year-olds running through my house, or maybe it is because I am getting older. Or maybe it is because my patience is growing thin. For whatever reason, by 6 pm on Sunday, I had transformed into a very short-tempered, exhausted and don’t talk to me wife and mother. Precisely the type of person I dread becoming. I hate that I was pushed to the point where I was taking my exhaustion out on my family.
I realized that I was missing my me time. And for the record, for the purpose of this blog, me time is not defined as going to the gym or the spa or out with friends.
I am referring to the need to be able to breathe.
Rather, I am referring to the need to be able to breathe. I need, for just a few moments a day, not to be talked at, interrupted, called for or whined to. I need my personal space. And when I do not get it, even for a few moments, I get fidgety, easily annoyed and extremely uncomfortable in my skin.
A typical day in my home looks like this…I walk into the house. With the sound of the front door opening, I hear the pitter patter of feet running to greet me.
Along with the delicious hugs and kisses that I receive, I also start getting the complaining and the whining, and the stories about who did what to whom at school…all this information is important and I want to hear it all. But, I would first like to enter the house, close the front door, hang up my jacket, take off my shoes, and maybe go beyond the foyer area before I get bombarded.
(I guiltily admit that on occasion, I take the long way home from work just so that I can have a few moments to myself, uninterrupted, in order to wind down from the day.)
So is a little personal space really too much to ask for?
Am I ever allowed to be off duty just for a few moments? Do I have the right to ask this of my children, or did I give up the right for personal space the day I became a mother?
Research has shown that there are, in fact, detrimental effects on our minds and bodies when we do not feel we have our space, or if we feel as if our personal bubble is being invaded. They interfere with our responses, our behaviours, and the manner in which we communicate with those around us.
The Detrimental Effects of No Personal Space:
So what is the moral of the story? We all need a break at some point. We all need our space. We need to figure out a way to take it. Whether it is by asking our partners to cover us for 10 minutes, taking a walk, locking ourselves in the bathroom or taking the long way home from work. Taking that space will make us better listeners and communicators in the long term. Hopefully one day, our children will thank us for it.
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