The café hour came at a time when I was doing almost all of the childcare and my husband was doing almost all of the work outside the home. I realized that once a week, I needed him to come home and not only help but relieve me entirely. I needed alone time more than I needed family time. So we put it on the schedule: Thursdays, 6-7pm, my husband would take over and I would take a “cafe hour.”
I was clear I needed to leave the house; if I retreated to another room and closed the door, I would still be able to hear them with their needs, demands and concerns. It would be hard not to step in and be of use. I didn’t want to waste my time away traveling so I chose the nearest café as my destination.
I did not want to use my café hour scheduling, paying bills or even socializing with a friend. I wanted to feel productive but in a domain that had nothing to do with child-rearing or home-making. I wanted to engage in what I was used to before children: a creative activity with results.
I left my home despite my children clamoring for more of me. I took my laptop, arrived at the café, ordered tea and began to write. I wrote about my last year in the music business and my rock and roll memoir took shape. It was such a delicious way to spend the time because it was a complete and utter escape; writing the book was like reading a book; even though all the scenes were real I used ficticious names for all the characters and they became those characters to me. I would dress up for my café hour; wearing heels and lipstick, as if I was off to a recording session or a performance.
I knew that at this juncture in my life, as an attachment parent, still nursing, with children under four-years old, I couldn’t really return to music yet. I couldn’t run weekly band practice for three-hour stretches from 6-9pm or 9-12am (the typical rehearsal hours). I couldn’t be gigging all night: load in at 7pm, wait around the bar and play an hour-set starting at 9:45pm.
But I could do my café hour, writing about that world, reliving that lively part of my life and then return to my family one mere hour later, charged and renewed.
I did the café hour for over a year and eventually completed a 60,000 word manuscript. Then I had a third child and our schedule and needs changed yet again.There are new rituals for renew in place now, and I am now co-writing a parenting book and loving it. As with our children, we go through phases, our needs change and the solutions evolve correspondingly.
What is your café hour? How do you renew these days? Do you know what you need and what you want and HAVE YOU ASKED FOR IT?
About Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams created L.O.V.E. Parenting with a series of techniques for effective communication, deepened connection and more joy in parenting and life. Jessica is also the creator of www.UltimateParentingCourse.com with the best of today’s progressive parenting experts together in one program. Jessica is a featured expert internationally on both Mothering.com’s Ask An Expert and the upcoming www.KidsInTheHouse.com. Jessica is a regular contributor to Mothering Magazine’s All Things Mothering, LA Parent Magazine, LA Mom Magazine & DailyBuzzMoms. She has been interviewed on television and radio and taught workshops at family wellness centers, schools and doctor’s offices. Her BirthKit has helped women have a transformational & empowering birth. Jessica maintains a private coaching practice in her native Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and their three children. “Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss. “All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet. “I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea Bendewald.