Before he left for California, I had a hard time imagining what I was going to do with myself. I even became a little panicky on the inside thinking about it. I knew that I would go volunteer at the Animal Shelter a few days a week, but I also knew that would not fill all of my time. I thought about trying to get a job, but then thought that might not be the best idea since we do not know how long Allen will be away, and quite frankly, I need to focus on my kids and myself for awhile! I thought I also might volunteer in our youngest son's classroom. I used to teach and thought that might be good for our son and me. Then I realized, I am doing it again. I am trying to schedule everything so that I do not have any time to myself! I had to really take a step back and figure out how much time I really want to volunteer, and how much time I should leave open for just whatever else comes up.
So, I think after almost 2 weeks I finally have it figured out. I am volunteering at the animal shelter 3 days a week for 2 hours each day. I am volunteering at Dreyson's classroom one morning a week for 3 hours. That leaves me 2 days, completely free during the week to do everything else, and to do something nice for me!
This week I met a friend in the city for lunch. It was a great time and I am looking forward to doing it again soon! However, driving up there that morning I had a lot of guilt. I realized that I had taken my time to get ready and actually really cared about my appearance. I put some thought into what I would wear and took the time to enjoy my shower, do my hair, and actually go out looking like I somewhat cared about myself. Thinking about this on the way to my lunch date, I was feeling really guilty. I imagined that people might start thinking and noticing that now that my husband was gone, I was trying to look good! The thought of someone actually thinking this about made me sick to my stomach! It is crazy what these types of feelings and thoughts can do to me!
The more I thought about this the more I understood what was happening. I feel guilty because I do not normally do those things for my husband. It's not because I don't love him or care what he thinks of me. It's because I am simply exhausted and so busy taking care of everyone else, that I never take the time or use the energy to do those things for myself. There is absolutely nothing for me to feel guilty about and if anyone wants to think those things about me, then I can't stop it anyway!!
After I dealt with the guilt, I actually enjoyed myself! I have always known in my head that I had to take care of myself first. However, when I was in the middle of it all, I couldn't really understand the importance of that. I always thought that I would eventually take care of myself and since I wasn't physically sick, I was fine. I would get around to me when everything else was done. It is just that everything else never gets done. There is always something.
I am so happy that Allen is away getting himself better. It is hard not having him here, but in some ways it is also a relief. I am really embracing this time to focus on my kids and on myself! I can't wait to see what happens with my husband, myself, and our family. I have a lot of hope and it feels really good.