When I was first married, I was one of those women. I married when I was twenty-two and by the time I was twenty-five I had three children under the age of four. I returned to a full-time job when I was twenty-nine and worked more or less continuously until I was over sixty. Did I put my family first? I like to think so, but over the years I started to realise that I needed to think of myself too, if only to save my sanity.
My husband took a bit of convincing, as he came from a traditional Scottish family where the women were home-makers and the men went out to work. After work the men went to the pub, and that was considered the norm. However, when I gently pointed out that I would like to go to a Writers' Group just once a month, and that he was able to go to the pub any night of the week that he wanted, he gracefully gave in!
At Newcastle Writers Group I became a writer and wasn't just a working mother . It was a wonderful feeling to meet with like-minded people, who encouraged me with my creative writing. When the children were in bed, and my husband was out at the pub, I could get on with my writing - though I had a bad habit of waiting to write an article or story until the night before our monthly get-together! I was thrilled to win the crime story prize in a local writing competition and delighted when I was invited to read out an article on the local radio station. I even got paid! I owe that writers group a lot, as they gave me confidence in my own abilities and nurtured my love of writing that today expresses itself mainly through blogging.
I think it is very important for women to keep a sense of their own identity. It is too easy to fall into the trap of being just "the wife" or "Mum". Please don't get me wrong, as those are very important roles, but I don't think you should limit yourself. I find it very sad to hear about women struggling to find their own identity after their children have left home. They have probably given up twenty or more years of their life to their family and forgotten who they were in the process.
You may feel that you don't have any spare time, especially if like me you have a full-time job and children to bring up, but it's a true saying that if you want something doing, you should ask a busy person! I bet you could find another hour every week for your family if necessary, so why not spend that time on YOU!
If you still aren't convinced, I strongly believe that you actually become a better wife and/or mother through having some time for yourself. The break from your normal routine will do you good, and you will appreciate your family even more. Even better, if you have an occasional break, they will learn to appreciate all the time that you do spend with them. So go ahead and enjoy your "Me Time": trust me, you deserve it.