One of the most common pieces of unsolicited advice mothers get is to “take time for yourself.”
I’ll admit there was a time when I viewed this recommendation as well-intentioned but misguided nonsense. That was when my children were babies. I believed in an in-arms phase—in breastfeeding-on-demand, co-sleeping, and other attachment parenting practices. Not only did my baby need me, but I also did not want to be away from my baby. Not at all. I wanted no breaks, no babysitters, no “date nights.” Then again, maybe that’s why I’m no longer married.
One advantage, though, of being no longer married, and of having kids who are no longer babies, is that it’s easier to embrace that old advice about “taking time for yourself.” A single parent whose co-parenting partner enjoys visitation rights may find herself with longer and more frequent, structured and more consistent “alone time” than ever before.
The battle shifts from obtaining time to using it wisely. The moment the kids leave for a weekend with their dad, I often find myself standing in the middle of my apartment, making false starts in every direction, as immobilized as a deer in headlights.
The options are overwhelming. I want to get things done, but I don’t want to spend the whole time working. I want to have some fun, but it’s hard to throw together a social life at a moment’s notice.
Carla and I have been talking about the rewards and challenges of time for one’s self. She told me of another single mom so influenced by a high school teacher criticizing her for not making good use of her time that, decades later, she cleans her whole house, washes all the clothes, files all the papers, shops for the week, washes the dog… then opens the door—exhausted—to her son, back from a one-day visit with his dad.
Carla admits that she, too, ignored the “take time for yourself” advice when her child was a baby. She tried to follow its adjunct adage, “nap when the baby naps,” but was sometimes so in awe of her newborn’s existence that she just couldn’t wait for him to be awake again.
Now that our “babymoon” phases are long past, Carla and I have learned the importance of indulging in some self-care. She’d been telling me for some time about the miracles wrought by her massage therapist, Miles Hutchinson. So, when my kids went to their dad’s again, I knew exactly how I wanted to spend those first few usually-overwhelming-and-indecisive moments: I got a “Miles Apart” massage—a healing, rejuvenating, relaxing massage—perfect.
Carla discovered Miles when he worked at Burke Williams; she was assigned to him when redeeming a gift certificate. Her son was still quite young, and she felt tired, depleted, and alone.
“Every moment,” she said,” brought me to a deeper degree of letting go: a combination of physical and primal nurturing—of being cared for down to my psyche and soul. When you spend all your time giving, and then you lie down and allow someone give to you, it’s transformative.” Through his generous, loving touch, Miles brought her back to life.
Carla has continued to get massages from Miles for more than ten years. He somehow knows how to balance intimacy, generosity, and respect and to find a way to connect her to new energy and compassion for herself.
Now Miles Hutchinson is moving to South Pasadena. Offering the healing powers of a creative, nurturing soul, Miles is truly the patron saint of single moms. His to-your-door service—aptly named “Miles Apart”—will soon be arriving from right around the corner. Thank goodness! I seek time for myself with religious fervor now—ah, the enthusiasm of the converted!
Take some time for yourself and get a massage. Miles Apart can be reached by phone: (818) 786-0088 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.