Finding ways to make time for myself
It’s been a crazy, few weeks here. The holidays wrapped up and my football season kept going and ended at the Super Bowl. It was another amazing experience with an outcome we didn’t expect, but none the less I was so proud to be a part of the Eagles family again. The whole time we were in Arizona I was dealing with an eye sty that turned into an infection and got bad quick. If it wasn’t for my cousin April checking in on me every day and giving me pointers on how to bring the swelling down, I don’t think I would have made it through Super Bowl. I made jokes when I saw friends and colleagues about the look of it, but I was a real-life Quasimodo and was camouflaging the good eye to match the bad one with purple eye shadow when I couldn’t sport shades. My sty turned into cellulitis in my eye and I needed to go see a legit eye doctor, so my friend Krista hooked me up and gave me an excellent reference. Dr. Brown got me all fixed up and on antibiotics, so slowly but surely, I was on the mend.
However mentally I was not…
I had been working more than usual in preparation for the Super Bowl. I wasn’t feeling myself with my eye issues and even in downtime in Arizona, John and I were checking in on kids and multi-tasking. After we returned, we were given a week off and I made the decision to really focus on myself that week. I started meeting with a new therapist remotely, she’s located in New York and a lot of my feeling of being overwhelmed stems from not focusing on my own needs.
Did you ever have a moment where your just so busy you forget about who you were “Before Children” (B.C.) not “Before Christ” in this instance. I know I’ve brought this topic up before but trying to find the “me” time between “mom” time was becoming harder and harder.
As most of you, I work full time, I’m a parent, I volunteer in the community and I talk to students about the importance of design and the arts. But in the middle of all the chaos I never really have a time to re-center and focus on just “Loraine.” The past several weeks opened the door to start the process on self-discovery, but it was a long road to get there. My therapist said I needed to start doing something for myself no matter how small it was just to show myself self-love. The realist in me felt like it wasn’t possible and the guilt was present but each day I pushed through bit by bit.
I started waking up 15 minutes before everyone to have a hot cup of coffee alone. I could journal, read or do nothing but for 15 minutes I couldn’t worry about the life obstacles that surrounded me. It was so freaking hard... for the first few days I would look around at the things undone, but by the end of the week I was looking forward to my “me time.” Once I crushed that goal, I started trying to remember who I was before I had my kids, before I got married, but the irony was the last time I was alone I was 22. That was basically two decades ago, it was literally 2004. It took everything in me to try to remember things that I liked to do, or where I liked to go? I know it sounds ridiculous, but I had to really think on it. So, I did for hours, and I made a list of what 22-year-old Loraine liked to do.
1. Sculpture Class – loved the feel of the clay
2. Caramel Coffee
3. Boardwalk fries at Stockton
4. Bohemian jewelry and clothing
5. Ripped flare and wide leg jeans
6. 7th Street Surf Shop
7. Ron Jon
8. Pucca Bead necklaces
9. The Beach
10. Jack Johnson
11. Car Rides with the windows open
13. Incense and body shops
I started slow and took a trip to Ron Jon surf shop, there is now one in OCNJ. I took my oldest (Ava) with me and when I walked in the smell of surf wax, leather and new clothing filled the air. My heart felt so happy and just thumbing through all the different color hoodies with every single beach novelty you could think of made me so happy. I walked out of there with a Rastafarian shirt Ava was mortified by, a hoodie and some board wax-scented car air-freshers. For the first time in a long time. I decided without judgment. I thought as Loraine, not as mom, which made my choices easier.
The next stop was the boardwalk where I grabbed a slice of pizza, planted by big butt on a bench and listened to the ocean waves for a few minutes. I almost forgot Ava was with me until she started with the whole… “Mom, it’s kind of cold, how much longer are we going to sit here.” Looking at the waves I remembered trying to surf, and skim board and I remembered just how awful I was at it. But I smiled because it may not seem big, but I was starting to remember Loraine BC.
When we grow up, we have these preconceived notions about how mothers, wives or adults should act. In my mind I believed when I became a mom, I had to stop shopping at certain stores because I didn’t fit the mold. But I was forcing myself to shop at JC-Penney as a 26-year-old wife and mother because I though that’s what moms did. I was stuck between too young and too old and being myself just felt so foreign. I often say… “I’m a mom now.” But what I forgot was that Loraine was always in there, regardless of being a mom or a wife, Loraine should exist too.
Finding myself has been harder than ever. I’ve had to let friends go to grow. I’ve had to do things out of my comfort zone like get my nails done monthly to just have time to myself.
When I do these things for myself, I feel better about me. With change growth happens and it takes time, but you just must keep pushing, no matter how weird it gets.
In the next couple of weeks I’m planning to get back in the studio somewhere and start sculpting, and maybe just maybe I will wear some ripped flare jeans, with a tee shirt, bohemian jewelry and listen to Jack Johnson so I can get the whole Loraine experience.
Loraine Griffiths is a fifth-generation Hammontonian, graphic designer, wife and mother of three. She can be reached through email at LifeWithLoraine@gmail.com.