Updated: Mar 9, 2020
I grew up in a busy household. My parents worked and expected us kids to chip in and help with the household chores. That's not unusual, and probably a good thing. But my dad had this way of making me feel guilty every time I sat down to rest, read a book, or enjoy a tv show. I felt like I needed to earn the privilege of just relaxing. I carried that feeling into my marriage. I felt like I needed to "earn my keep". So, I worked outside the home, plus took care of our household and children and rarely spent time taking care of myself. I don't remember my husband ever saying he expected these gargantuan efforts from me, but I certainly expected them from myself.
It came to be, for me, that reading a book, enjoying a tv show or taking a nap was something I did in secret, when no one was home. Taking time out for myself was something I felt I had to justify over and over to myself to the point where I actually got mad at my husband. My father died, and later my husband. It took me awhile to realize how easy it was to blame them for the guilt I felt. It was their voice I heard in my head when I thought I was wasting time and not getting to the end of my endless "to-do" list. To be fair, they had nothing to do with it. If I'm completely honest with myself, my constanting "doing" was just a way to seek approval. I wanted people to marvel at how wonderful and dedicated and perfect I am, all the while telling myself I wasn't wonderful enough, nor dedicated enough, nor anywhere near perfect enough.
We tell ourselves these lies all the time. It's time to tell ourselves the truth. Time spent reading a book, taking a nap or binge-watching Netflix is not wasting time...it's waiting time. It's important time spent waiting for our body, mind and soul to become ready to take on the next task or the next adventure.
Before we can launch into something new, our bodies need to rest. Our minds need to ponder and sort things out. Our soul needs to be inspired. By taking the time to fulfill those needs, we are fully prepared to bring our best selves to whatever it is we are doing. If we don't take that time, and we come to the next task exhausted and bitter, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Ironically, neither my father nor my husband had any qualms about taking a nap when they
needed to, or spending the afternoon in front of the tv, or going for a walk, puttering in the garage, any number of things they did to re-charge. I don't know where I got the idea that my time was somehow less important...and it doesn't really matter. It's time to set that all aside, let it go, and claim "waiting time" for myself.