Today I had a very nice lesson on why Solo Self Care Time is so very important to parents.
Please note that I did not say "Alone Time". Because the sad fact is that all too often, "Alone Time" turns into "Oh shit I can finally get through scrubbing the bathroom/folding every article of clothing in the house/paying bills without someone screaming for my boobs!" time. And in fact, that's what "Alone Time" has been devolving into a lot, lately. Which is what made today's lesson so timely.
Last night my friend Dr. Mess texted to see if I wanted to wanted to go climbing today. Did I! I've been managing to get to the gym about once a week, but definitely for very limited time periods- I try not to be gone longer than an hour, since Nathan is working during that time, which means actual time on the wall is closer to like 45 minutes. Today, however, as I was leaving Nathan with a long list of "Here's what you do for Neeps at this time and that time, and this other time," he said, "How long are you going to be gone?"
"Probably an hour and a half," I said, "Since it takes about fifteen minutes to bike there, and I'd like to climb for at least an hour." (because it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood, just perfect for biking)
"Why don't you just climb for as long as you feel like climbing?" he suggested. "I've got this."
Readers, I didn't need telling twice. I hopped on Zuri, pedaled my way through all the construction (mentally apologizing to the cars stuck behind me on the hill- I'm still not back in fighting form yet), and bounced into the gym with a flourish.
Climbing time, bitches.
Dr. Mess (also a parent, and also not able to get away to climb as often as he might like) showed up shortly thereafter, and we hit the wall. I've been working on an overhung 5.9, and while I didn't make my goal of "no takes, no falls" today (I totes fell), I did figure out the proper hand-position to make that goal a reality next time. That particular route requires a lot of brute strength, which is why I've been working it (I am weeeeaaaaaaak), and it was super gratifying to see how much progress I've made on my ability to do it and not be completely worthless for the rest of the climbing session. In fact, immediately after that one I flashed a 5.10- on slab, which was very good for my morale, because it sort of drove home the fact that while I've lost strength and endurance, I still have technique.
All told we spent close to two hours climbing (and then messing around on the new "treadwall" in the fitness area- very strange) before I called it a pleasantly exhausted day and slowly cycled home.
It's only then that the best part came.
I walked into the living room, where Nathan was hanging out with Neeps, and damned if my boy didn't break into a giant-ass grin when he saw me, and then start giggling when I crouched down to talk to him. It was the most rewarding damn thing you can imagine. Like, you know how dogs (and certain cats) get super excited when you come home, and how gratifying that is? Well it's like that, but better. And I felt such a surge of love and affection for the gibbering little monkey, to the point where I felt like in that moment I honestly loved him even more than I had when I kissed him goodbye that morning.
Spending time doing stuff just for me isn't just good for me- it's also good for my relationship with my son, because I come back to him a refreshed and refilled individual, better able to be a positive presence in his life. This is something I already knew was necessary in terms of my romantic relationship, but had somehow forgotten beneath the pressure of overwhelming, unending need an infant can spew at you. But! Thanks to said romantic partner I received a much-needed reminder, and will try to make a conscious effort to refresh and refill more often, bathrooms be damned.