When I was teaching 5th grade in Room 21, I had just switched from teaching 1st grade…and boy was it a switch!  It was really a fun time, but I had to get used to going from “Miss Jackson you are sosososososo pretty” kind of scribbled notes on scraps of paper to “Miss Jackson, I am sosososososo going to die because Johnny broke up with me last night at the carnival!” (you know, heavy stuff like that) conversations through teary sobs…

The whole time I’m thinking “Um, guys, we have to get moving because unfortunately the California Standards don’t focus heavily on relationship renewal here in the 5th grade”…but they thought I was Dr. Phil incarnate because I did lots of listening…minus the bald head and twang.

The funniest and most dramatic moment of the year (well, almost besides when one of my students cut another student’s braid off during class…another story for another time) was when we had to prepare for parent/teacher conferences.

The kids were “in charge” of their conferences (which basically meant that they rushed through their portfolio and expected me to fill in the blanks) and one thing they had to do was write goals for the rest of the school year, based upon their current report card results.

Well, one girl (ahem, woman) in our class named Paige was standing in line at the end of the day like we did everyday before we reviewed what tomorrow would bring and then dismissed for the day.  Behind her was this really cute, but very squirrely guy named James.  James was not EVEN close to being as mature as Paige (or so she said).

I was standing at the doorway fussing with things like teachers do at the end of the day as though the kids had lost all direction…

And here’s where I witness the FUNNIEST conversation of all – I wish you’d have been there to see the Oscar-worth performance.

James said very nonchalantly, “Paige, can I call you later so that you can help me with my goals?”

(Very ordinary request, I thought)

Paige whips her head around, looks very sternly at James and says, “You know James, sometimes a woman needs some ‘me time’.  And so, NO, I can’t help you tonight because I will be taking my ‘me time’.”  And she whipped back around.

The best part?  James turns around to his friend and rolls his eyes and says, “I am SO GLAD that I’m not a woman!” and turns back around to me to dismiss for the day.

I was DYING laughing…I practically ditched the kids and ran to my teaching partners so I could tell them the story!

After all these years I remember that story because not only was it hilarious and dramatic and SO 5th grade, it was true!  Sometimes a girl (or guy!) needs some “me time”…

If you know me, you know I’m NOT a big fan of fancy naming of ordinary things (i.e.: “dinner party” for having people over for dinner, “push present” for a gift that a dad gives a new mom for being a champ in the delivery room, or “babymoon” for the weekend trip that soon-to-be-parents might take before the onslaught of a new baby in the house)…but I do think that focusing on a little “me time” (even though I’m not so hot on that term) just isn’t such a bad idea…in fact it’s a really GOOD one!

What does your ‘me time’ look like?  For me it’s a really juicy magazine (I’m partial to the intellectual value of a good “People” or “US” magazine) and a pedicure.  Or going to my favorite mexican place (shout out to Pepper’s) and getting some chips and salsa and a (virgin, of course) margarita and lugging along a good book and reading in silence for a bit. If I’m not leaving home, it might be cooking a new recipe or trolling the internet looking at cute hairstyles.  I know what you’re thinking: “This girl is DEEP!”

The whole idea about ‘me time’ in my book is this: what do I need to do to recharge myself so that when I have to give to others I have enough energy and freshness?

I also have learned that lots of people say they don’t have time or money for “me time”…I am calling their bluff on this. “Me time” can be 15 minutes in the car, sitting in the driveway (I’ve done this) listening to a few favorite songs before you head inside.  “Me time” can be taking 10 minutes to read your favorite sports column before you go to bed or right before you start your day before everyone else gets up.  “Me time” can be something on your calendar that says “Read article” but really means, take a walk around campus or around the office to get some fresh air.

We are better for those we love and those we serve when we have freshness of mind and refreshed energy…

…so be like Paige and say, “I just need my me time.”

What do YOU do for ‘me time’?  What keeps you from taking ‘me time’  Leave a comment and let’s talk!