If you like, you can read part one here.
The necessity of me time is well established.
I actually think we are all too aware of the concept of self care and how you can’t pour from an empty cup.
We have become so accustomed to the calls for me time that they now sound like background noise and are therefore easy either to discount or to ignore entirely.
You may think that me time is for mothers who have more support.
You may think that it is rubbish to call simply taking a shower me time. I would agree with you here.
You may think that it is all too hard when your children are young and that you will return to me time when your children start school.
But the reason we are constantly reminded about me time is because it is valuable.
For me, me time improves my mindset, increases my patience, and generally makes me happier.
Those are all really good things!
So how do you find me time?
You look for it!
You just have to remember that me time as a mother will look different to the me time you enjoyed before you became a parent.
The main difference is now, me time takes some work!
While it seems counterintuitive to schedule free time, me time as a mother does take some consideration and some planning.
You might not be able to get to a regular exercise class but can you practice some yoga at home while your baby sleeps or run laps at the park while your little one plays?
You might not be able to curl up with a cup of tea and a hardcover but can you download a book and read it during swimming lessons?
Using these small moments of time as me time can feel challenging because your me time doesn’t feel like it is actually your time.
The aspect of becoming a mother that I struggled with the most (and that I still struggle with) is that my time never feels like my own. My waking hours (and some of my sleeping hours) belong to my children.
But if I look for opportunities for me time, they are there.
And if I am present during those opportunities, enjoying them for what they are…a moment of me time…then I can appreciate them.
More essential than moments snatched here and there, is a block of regular me time.
To facilitate this, you will probably need to ask for help.
Start by talking to your partner, a family member, or a good friend.
I think you will find those close to you are happy to help…especially if you provide them with suggestions like taking the kids to the park, or to the library, or to a museum, or even riding the bus to the city and back.
Join forces with a mom friend.
One week, you take the kids so she can have some time alone. The next week, she takes the kids so you can have some valuable me time.
Look for creches.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I have come up with a plan that should enable me to go for a swim once a week. On the mornings that Lyddie does gymnastics, we usually go to gymnastics and then come straight home for morning tea. But this week I am going to pack her morning tea and after gymnastics we are going to head to the pool. I will put her in the creche, she can eat her morning tea, and I can swim a few laps. Her routine doesn’t really change but mine does…for the better!
Most gyms have creches and one of the shopping centres in Brisbane now offers free baby sitting!
Consider child care.
I work from home one day a week. I used to have Lydia at home with me on that day. I quickly realised that putting her in child care meant that we both had better days!
And while I do make work my main priority, I also ensure I take half an hour of that child free day to do something that I love.
But the guilt!
But I feel like a bad mom!
I would describe myself as having attachment parent tendencies so I understand not feeling ready or willing to separate from your child.
But part of attachment parenting is balance.
And I feel balanced after I have enjoyed some me time.
I know it is trite, but it is one hundred percent true – when I spend some time away from my children, I come back to them feeling refreshed, ready to focus on them, completely willing to read Peppa Pig Hide and Seek for the three hundredth time (spoiler alert: Peppa is in the car)!
Write a list of the things that you love to do. And as I said above, taking a hot shower doesn’t count!
Visiting a museum.
Going to the movies.
Spend a day or two tracking your time.
Match the activities up with the time you have available.
See where you can fit in moment of me time.
See where you can manage a more sizeable amount of me time.
And if you need to, arrange for some help!
You will probably find once you organise some me time you will start looking forward to it the way you would to a planned holiday.
As the anticipation is almost as good as the me time itself, you might find yourself feeling calmer and more content just knowing that you have some time to yourself in your schedule.
The next post will be about what to do with your me time…tip, it is not folding laundry!