Ever since having my first child I’ve been incessantly told that making time for myself despite having kids is so important. Its important to help me stay focused, reduce frustration, have a decent state of mental health, refocus, refresh and just be an all-round more centred mum. All the more reason to pursue it right?
The only problem was, EVERY SINGLE time I desperately looked forward for it or pursued it, it escaped me, straight into the hands of cooking, cleaning, ironing, feeding, bathing, sleep making, love making (when you become a mum you don't stop being a wife 😉), changing doo doo’s, cleaning spit up, well, I think you get the picture!
Life was so consumed with doing all this stuff that really and truly, there was NO time for me. Could it be that we are meant to survive without this “me” time we pine for so desperately?
While that may be true our lifestyles have changed so much over time and the climate and pressures under which we live in don't make it any easier. I don't disagree that there are woman who get by without time for themselves for long periods of time, because they have to but if there's anyone that's done it for years on end without taking any time out and is still sane, I'd love to meet them.
I also learned that much of this time needed for yourself depends on the kind of kids you have and the kind of support system you have. Many people are very happy not to have time away because their day to day lives consist of help and/or they have very easy-going kids, while there are others that desperately need that time away since they have no help or have kids that require significantly more from them be it health challenges, or just normal day to day things.
“Me time” means different things to different people. Maybe yours is sitting up late to enjoy the sound of a quiet house, going out with your girlfriends, binge-watching a few episodes of “Bridgerton”, shopping online, reading a book, scrolling on your phone, or taking a long bath after weeks of 5-minute showers……
Personally, MY time has to be alone or just with my hubby…. whether I’m enjoying my tea like the tea snob I am, reading, just sitting around, or catching an episode of my fav series …. basically, NO disturbances.
Granted, the lockdown has made it near impossible to get that alone time but when you need it, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Know when you need it.
Be deliberate about taking time – just do it!
Your spouse qualifies as help, use it.
If that doesn’t work, then ask to for/hire reliable help.
If you’re in the house and need your time, something as simple as letting your kids know gently that its mommy’s time and reroute them to the one who is caring for them at the time may work OR, like me, you could just hideaway in a corner of the house hoping not to be found.
Lastly remember that time for you and caring for yourself isn't only about alone time or spa days or retail therapy, it also means guarding your thoughts towards yourself. Keep them positive and focused on the good. How YOU see yourself matters!
All in all, three kids later, I can safely say “the chase is over”. I’ve discovered that in all the search for the elusive me time, it lies in knowing when you need it and that finding that time means to actually MAKE that time.
Time is fleeting and it certainly does get better, but in this moment, we need to know when our sanity is being compromised, and we must do everything possible to be the best version of ourselves for our kids and if taking time-out helps that agenda, then so be it! As the seasons change, this too shall pass, to the point where one day we won’t want me time and all we will want is our kids nearby.... a phone call or a visit, BUT in this season, it's ok to every so often just disconnect for a wee bit and enjoy one’s own company, and come back refreshed and energized to be a better mum, no guilt!