TAKING TIME FOR ME—NO APOLOGIES
Celebrate Women’s Health Care Month, May 2014
National Women’s Health Week May 11-17, 2014
The Wordpress prompt forMay 14, 2014, was No Apologies: What’s the one guilty pleasure you have that’s so good, you no longer feel guilty about it?
“It’s no problem. We understand, and will only expect you to officiate over new member ceremonies if you will continue to chair the membership committee.”
The speaker, Virginia, was a woman dressed impeccably in a green silk blouse, bronzish-brown suit, and thick-heeled chocolate brown shoes . Not a stray hair snuck out of her salon-styled red-dyed hairdo, not a smear escaped from her bright red lipstick, not a run snaked up her nude-colored stockings.
It wasn’t my preference, but being a responsible person newly elected to the membership chair position I saw it was a compromise.
I had just informed Virginia, the woman’s group president, that I needed to back out of chairing the membership committee because my life circumstances had changed dramatically since I’d accepted the position the previous spring. Not only was I pregnant—due in mid-January—but we’d added a 15-year-old emotionally and socially challenged boy to our family that already included our 15-month-old daughter.
This life reorganization meant I was no longer able to fulfill the responsibilities involved in chairing the membership committee.
By spring members of the group were growling about the lack of effort I had put into encouraging new membership. I reminded them about the compromise but it didn’t matter. I was not, according to them, fulfilling my duties. Therefore, I was irresponsible.
It was the beginning of my metamorphosis.
Years later the phone rang.
“Are you busy? We need someone to make cookies for our meeting.”
I wasn’t busy—at least, I wasn’t busy doing a task for the house, the family, or an organization. I wanted—needed—to relax, regroup, and unwind from the pressures following a stressful time, and baking cookies would take the time I needed.
It was the time before self-care was emphasized as a positive mental/physical benefit. It was a time that, if you weren’t performing a task for the family, church, an organization, or whatever, you weren’t “busy.”
However, this time the proverbial light bulb flashed brightly in my mind. Was I busy? YES. I was busy preparing myself to better care for my husband, children, and home. I felt a spasm of selfishness grip my chest as I said “I’m sorry, but I am busy.” I didn’t explain—I knew if I did I’d be told “Then you are available to do our task.”
Thus, I must admit that my one guilty pleasure is self-care—yielding to the need to take time to read a book, watch a television show, nap, or whatever tickles my fancy, whatever I feel will help me relax, regroup, and unwind from the stresses of the family, the community, whatever…
Wait a minute—did I just admit that my one guilty pleasure is self-care? Wrong! Let me reword that statement: my one pleasure is the time I claim for myself whatever reason. Notice: no guilt attached. I have learned to enjoy my time without the pangs of guilt I used to feel.
Hold on a minute. My phone is ringing.
“Hi Rosie. What can I do for you?”
“Well, we’re having a m meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Will you be there?”
I pause. I have a very busy Tuesday and am tied up on Wednesday morning and evening. I had planned to myself on Wednesday afternoon—time to recuperate and regenerate. Did I want to sacrifice that time? Was I already scheduled for that time?
“I’m sorry, but I can’t make it then. I already have plans.”
“I’m sorry you can’t make it. You always have good things to contribute.”
“I’m sorry too. Could you let me know what goes on at the meeting?”
Our conversation continued on mundane things.
I have preserved my schedule and my sanity. The meeting will go on without me just fine. It’s done so in the past.
On Wednesday afternoon I choose a television program, call my favorite cat, stretch out on my bed, and settle in for a siesta. Ahh, just what I need to preserve my mental health and maintain my blood pressure.
With no guilt. With no apologies.