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Mama Me-A

Parents need to find their 'me' time.

Every morning, my alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m., to remind me that the craziness of my day is about to begin, yet again. After feeding the dog and letting him out, taking a shower, getting my son up and moving, and rushing out the door to take him to school, I realize I’m half way to work and I’ve left my laptop at home. 

My veins are throbbing in my neck from the stress and I haven’t even had my first cup of coffee yet.

I trudge through the day by jumping meetings, managing project teams and staying on top of deadlines. My small reprieve comes from the drive home at lunch to let the dog out. But as I walk into the kitchen I catch a vector of the green “done” light on the dishwasher and I end up unloading and reloading dishes. Then starting a load of laundry and giving my floors a quick sweep. I can’t help it. It’s my multi-tasking mantra and it’s killing my mojo!

After picking up my son from after-school care, I speed home to pull together dinner. Then race to soccer practice or scouts and deal with tired kids with a long night of homework ahead. If I’m lucky, I’m walking the dog by 9 p.m., which is followed by folding laundry, picking up the house, signing school agendas, making lunches and finally a shower by 10:30 p.m.

Shaving my legs has become a luxury these days and not so much a necessity (a big benefit of being in a long distance relationship). I’ve learned to invest in a lot of dress pants just to buy myself that extra 20 minutes. 

Sound familiar?

I’m an attentive mother, a hard-working professional and an over achiever to a fault. My days tend to blend together and sometimes I think I’ve lost myself and, perhaps, my mind in the process. I am not “Super Mom” I just haven’t learned to say “no!”

By the time Friday rolls around I’m pretty much brain dead and socially incapable.  I want so much to get things done, write my book, cook great food and actually relax, but I’m mentally and physically freaked. 

It’s time to trade in a few moments of mom time for a little bit of “me” time, without feeling guilty. My kids are 14 and almost 11, so it’s taken me a bit longer than others to figure this one out. But it’s important for parents to do things for themselves without their kids. We all need to recharge and by doing so we can become better parents by being refreshed, calm and eager to participate.

Beth Munger of Seminole, a mother of two, values making time for herself. Munger said, “I think it is extremely important to incorporate me-time into your weekly routine. It allows me to reflect on the past week and look forward to the following week to be able to plan accordingly, whether it be focusing on my children and their schedules, work or things that need to be addressed by me.”

Every parent should discover what it is that revitalizes them. This may be going out to dinner with other adults, treating yourself to a manicure and pedicure, playing poker with the guys, sleeping in a bit longer on the weekends, a day at the beach to read a good book, or going out for a date night with your partner.

Munger further explained, “I believe in a good mix of me-time, relaxing at home having a simple glass of wine and watching an old movie alone, shopping, relaxing in the warm sunshine or catching up with an old friend. To make life less stressful, I firmly believe that one needs me-time, couple-time, girlfriend-time and especially family time. Each element reaps its own rewards.

I’m beginning to realize that for me it’s not so much about what I can do for myself, but rather what I don’t have to do, that makes a difference in my daily life. Not doing the laundry when a pile beckons me, not finishing all the dishes before going to bed, not running out to get things my kids request, not taking the last shower, not structuring my entire weekend around everyone else’s plans, not bringing work home with me, not making lunches one or two days a week and letting the kids buy — are all sacrifices that give me the opportunity to have time for me.

So the next time you stop by my house, you may notice a stack of mail that hasn’t been filed, dirty clothes piled in a heap and dishes needing to be washed.

You may see me out enjoying a nice dinner with my girlfriends, shopping for new clothes without my teenage daughter or notice I’ve rented all the Brat Pack movies at once so I can have a Molly Ringwald weekend marathon. I assure you that my kids will still be clean and fed, but my toes might look real pretty.

I encourage you to do the same.

Here are some places and ideas in Dunedin that will help you find your me-time:

For the artsy-crafty type, sometimes it's fulfilling to create something.

  • is great for those who enjoy quilting, knitting or other sewing crafts.
  • hosts paint-your-own pottery themed evening for adults and kids almost every night of the week. Watch for their Parents' Night Out, Kids' Night Out and Girls Night Out events.
  • always has art classes to choose from.

For the sporty-type type, sometimes it's great to feel empowered by endorphins.

  • Take an exercise class at the .
  • Get a jump on the day and ride or run on the or the Dunedin Causeway.

For the more reserved parents, sometimes it's nice to relax.

  • The has authors visiting frequently, or just check out books or music.
  • Escape to , Weaver Park or .

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