March 22, 2006

The Virtue of Selfishness

I don't know why it took me so long to figure this one out: Kid Swapping. Basically I swap babysitting with another mom once a week for a few hours so we can have some baby-free hours in the sun. I did it for the first time today and didn't know what to do with myself so I just walked around my little town grinning at everybody for about an hour. Then I ate lunch by myself at a sidewalk cafe while pretending to read the paper. After that I lay by the pool gossiping with friends on the phone. I feel like a real live person! It was phenomenal.

I have had a few of these renewal moments in my life. One was when Pixie finally started sleeping through the night and I got my first real night's sleep in over 8 months. Another was in college when I took a trash can filled with ex-boyfriend letter and gifts and burned them in my driveway. Of course my most significant one was the love-at-first-sight moment when I first met Spike. Baby swapping - although a seemingly small thing, has once again re-energized me and made me feel like an interesting, interested person again. Being able to walk into a store without worrying about the "break it and buy it" rule or not having to juggle my baby plus 4 bags of groceries while I go up the apartment stairs. These are the things that make me happy. And now for 2 hours every week I can indulge in them.

Everyone needs a break from their roles for a while. Otherwise you play the part for so long that you end up tricking yourself into believing the role is all you are. As much as I love being a mom, luckily I'm more than that. It's something that I'm good at, and spend lots of time doing, but I never want my "mommy" side to kill my "self" side. Selfishness is essential to self-preservation in my book. I don't know why selfishness gets such a bad rap. You can't give to anyone unless there is something there to give. I'll use my baby-swapping days as expeditions to find myself and hopefully I can spend the rest of the week giving back to everyone when I reassume the mommy role.

This post is getting a little vague. But just consider what your roles are and if there are parts of you that aren't exercised in them. You'll go crazy if you don't let your true self out into the sun every once and a while. Take it from me - the schizophrenic, hypochondriac, selfish woman who never sends you a birthday card.

1 comment:

Kaff said...

I am glad you had a few hours of freedom, I will have to give you a call when I am in Cali over Easter. I am sure I can you show you all kinds of selfish stuff :) I have been practicing for years... it could be my unselfish act for the day!