When was the last time you had “me-time” and how did you spend that time?
I have to admit, being pregnant with a toddler and a kindergartner smack dab in the midst of the holidays, “me-time” seems like it’s pretty hard to come by! I do, however, find it so important that we DO try to find some time for ourselves- to preserve our sense of self and to simply recharge our “Super-Mom” batteries. As moms we are constantly giving and doing for others and putting ourselves last. But that can wear us down after a while (…or like an hour!) and a worn-down Mommy/Wife isn’t really much good to anyone…including ourselves. I used to feel super guilty about wanting “me-time” but it wasn’t until I realized the connection between taking care of myself so that I could properly care for my family that it all clicked. That being said, the last time I had “me time” was last week when both the girls were at school. (My littlest only goes twice a week for 2 hours, so it isn’t much time and I usually spend that time running errands or working- I’m a photographer in my “spare time”…not to be confused with “me time” ;)) But last week, I took those two hours, threw away my to-do list (ok, but not really…I’d be lost without that list!), made some hot chocolate, cranked up the Christmas music and wrapped some presents in the kitchen. I know it doesn’t sound very relaxing and I wouldn’t technically categorize this as “me-time” but I did find it therapeutic… decorating each gift, remembering the fun little things I had bought for the girls, singing at the top of my lungs- all without ANY interruptions. Plus, it felt good to throw aside that dang to-do list and do something of my choosing. When “me-time” is hard to come by, sometimes it’s just a matter of doing something you find enjoyable- it doesn’t necessarily need to be taking a nap or a luxurious bath (although those do sound pretty good right about now!).
What are some of your favourite ways to practice self care?
Like I said, I’ve felt pretty guilty about taking me-time until recently. I decided to take the plunge last year and I found a local spa and signed myself up for a monthly massage/facial package. I would go on a weekend morning, so my husband could spend time with the girls and I could enjoy some time with….my lone self!! I dreaded it the first day and almost cancelled my appointment but my husband pushed me to go…and that was the very last time I ever needed convincing! I’ve stopped going recently because things have been so busy with the holidays and this pregnancy, but I try to find other ways to take some time for myself. Once a week or so I’ll ask my husband to handle dinner/bed for the girls on his own (something we usually do together) and I’ll go take a bath. I light my favorite candle, bring in my book (and a glass of wine when I’m not prego!) and I come out feeling like a new person! Another thing I love to do for myself is to schedule “girls’ night” with my best girl friends. Going out and chatting about life with your best friends over dinner or drinks is completely underrated, I tell you! Another thing I’ve done for myself (and this might sound crazy) is to take on some creative work: my photography. It may seem like I added MORE to my plate by doing this, but it actually provided me with the creative outlet that I needed and craved. Having my own “thing” on the side really gives me a sense of self and although there are times when I DO feel like I’ve got too much on my plate, I feel like if I took away my hobby/passion I’d just be a shell of myself. Being a mom and a wife are honestly my dreams come true…but there is more to me than just those two things; setting aside time to explore those interests makes me feel complete.
What advice would you give to mamas struggling to create “me-time”? How do you make time in your schedule for yourself?
I totally understand how hard it is to a.) get past the guilt and b.) find the time! I have to say, having a supportive spouse on board makes life a million times easier. My husband understands how much I do and he knows that when I’m happy, rested, and fulfilled- we all are! 😉 What is the saying…”happy wife, happy life”! For those of you struggling to find the time, first of all- I hear you! Know that you are NOT alone! I highly suggest starting by sitting down with your partner and talking it out. Do you think a day a week or month would be enough for you or do you need more/less time? Is it in the budget to hire a sitter once a week or is there a local mother’s day out church program or day care you could sign your littles up for? If those options are off the table, just talk to your spouse about days when he can help take over- even if it’s only for an hour on his lunch break, after work, or on a weekend! Try to schedule that time and put it in your family calendar. Then figure out what you can do for YOURSELF during that time…and grocery shopping or doing laundry don’t count! 😉 Try to think of fun little things you can do to relax and recharge: grab lunch or coffee with a friend, walk around your favorite shop, schedule a massage, or plop yourself down on the couch with a pint of ice cream and turn on your favorite guilty pleasure tv show…kid and interruption free! If having a helper or partner to take the kids off your hands isn’t in the cards- consider the time after you put the kids to bed at night as your own. Sometimes when the calendar is just too full and my husband and I are just both too busy- I’ll use those few hours after the girls go to bed for myself. I keep journals for my girls and writing in them (when I can find the time) is one of my favorite things to do. I also love to read. Simply laying in bed by myself with a good book for an hour or so will do the trick! There really are so many ways to carve out some time for yourself, it doesn’t need to be fancy or elaborate, that’s what I’ve learned. Just try to get creative and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’ll thank yourself later…I promise!