I've often wondered what kind of a mother I would be if I was denied my 2 large mugs of ginger tea a day. Answer: The absent kind! :) I'd have run away from husband, kids, everything :) It's my one indulgence (yes with 2 small kids it does seem like indulgence!), my one obsession and I am fiercely protective of my tea-time. I don't like anyone else making my tea because it has to be just so. Freshly grated ginger has to be dropped in boiling water and simmer for two whole minutes; only then do I add sugar and after another minute, the milk - my recipe for that mild honey colour that signals the perfect brew. I'll take the tea my mom prepares because I learnt how to make it from her and now I can't turn around and say - your tea sucks! - and it truly doesn't! It's actually very nice.
So, the reason I am randomly talking about tea now is that tea-time is one of the times (mealtimes are the other) when the kids know NOT to disturb me. I've drilled it into their heads really really well that Amma will not be disturbed during those times, come hell or high water. If they need to go to the loo, they go. If they need to be wiped, they sit on the pot until I am done eating/drinking. If they need something, they jolly well have to wait. I may rouse myself if one of them falls down and starts bleeding, but since that has not happened yet, I don't know what my actual reaction will be :) For all practical purposes, I am deaf and dumb during the 10-15 minutes that I take to sip my tea and the 15 minutes that I take over lunch or dinner.
I wasn't like this until a year ago. After we moved to India, suddenly it all became a bit too much. Y was over a year old, the kids were interacting (and fighting) with each other all the time, S was never there and for all practical purposes, for almost a year, I was a single mom. I needed a mental space (physical space was impossible!) to retreat at periodic intervals and recoup and just be. I didn't want to talk, yell, soothe or mediate. Sometimes I didn't even want to think. I just wanted a little core of silence inside myself for a few minutes. The caffeine helped to calm horribly frayed nerves :) Call it some kind of mental pranayama; I found I was getting back to the kids in a better frame of mind.
I used to feel a little mean that I was denying myself to the kids when they needed me. But I told myself that they need to respect my limits and what better way to start than to start early and start small? Now, I enlist Ads' help to allow me to get my work done by telling him - Amma needs some peace and silence for some time, can you play quietly with Y and not disturb me for such-and-such time? And he always steps up, understands my need and more or less manages to help me out.
I never get to go out and socialize with friends on my own. Not that I have a huge bunch of people waiting to hang out with me - our multiple moves have made deep friendships difficult. The point is, even if I did, it would be hard to do. I don't mind all that much because I know kids get clingy and need mom around all the time at particular points in time and this phase will pass sooner or later. But if I didn't carve out time and space atleast to relish what I'm putting into my body, what's the point?
Okay - I'll admit it - I'm a chai addict and only created all this emotional-need-theory and faff to justify my two (or more) cuppa chais a day!
What do you all do to get some breathing space from the kids (or family members, or husbands, or whatever?!)