Finding 'Me' Time
Tips to Get Some Quality ‘Me’ Time
Finding ‘me’ time as a parent is more important than many mums realise. After all, how are you meant to be a switched on parent 24/7. It’s the same way they tell you on the plane to put on your oxygen mask first. You can’t help your children unless you make sure you are looked after too. That’s the way it works in our everyday lives too.
Let’s stop and think about it for a second. Before you welcomed your first child, had you ever had a job that was 24/7, where you could never guarantee a break, may not get to sleep, where every cup of tea is likely to go cold and no adult conversation for hours on end? Imagining writing a job description for it...I don’t think any amount of money in the world would entice people for a role like that. But we love our children and we would do anything for them, and that’s what gets us from one day to the next. If we aren’t careful though, we will burn out, and where will that leave our family? By factoring in ‘me’ time, you give yourself a chance to stop, revive, survive and do it all over again.
Many of you may be laughing at this notion of ‘me’ time and thinking I am insane to think it is possible in the busyiness of our lives. But it is. I am not talking about days on end in a luxury suite while the children have been shipped off to a willing grandma. I am referring to finding moments in each day to take some time for yourself and to get yourself ready to deal with the chaos of the rest of the day.
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Here are some great tips for finding that ‘me’ time in your life:
- Newborns are demanding, there is no doubt about it. You have to get up through the night, lose hours of sleep and feel like a zombie the next day, yet are expected to function. Instead of dreading those night hours, consider doing something for you. Aren’t we always fighting over TV shows with our other halves? Pick one you love and pop it on while you’re breastfeeding at night. You get a chance to catch up on a series you love while snuggling your precious human. You will stop dreading it so much and enjoy that timeout you have together. This is especially important when you have older kids and the days get quite hectic.
- Treasure naptime. Don’t get caught in the trap of trying to get all the housework done while your child snoozes. The housework can wait, your sanity can’t. As soon as you get your little one down for a nap, pop the kettle on and enjoy a hot cup of tea. If you have older kids who aren’t napping anymore, then set them up for some quiet time. They still need their own time to sit back and catch up on the day.
- Early bedtime. It is a rule I enforced early in our house and we generally have no complaints. Once Cassie was sleeping 12 hours overnight, I started putting her to bed at 6.30pm at the latest. I pop her in the cot with a bottle and she may or may not sleep straight away, but I have time to myself to relax and unwind before heading to bed as well.
- Playdates are important too! They are a chance for you to catch up with some other mums and actually enjoy some adult conversation, which can be very lacking in those early days. Your kids can lie on the floor together or run around and preoccupy each other and you can take a break from the neverending housework and chores that have you running around like a madwoman at home.
- Trade with your partner. If your partner is home with you on weekends, then do a trade. Don’t make it unachievable, start off simple. He gets up with the kids one day and you do the other, that way you both get the chance to ‘sleep in’ on the weekend, while the other enjoys some quality time with the kids. Or perhaps your partner can take the kids out to the park one morning and leave you with the house to yourself for an hour and you can repay the favour on another day. Find something that works for both of you and see how you can make it work.
- Get a babysitter. I know – they’re expensive, they can be difficult to organise, you can’t be bothered and would rather stay in your pyjamas. You can list off a whole number of excuses, but in the end, getting out, whether it is alone or with your partner, will do you a world of good. Life keeps running along after you have kids, so go visit friends, have a drink at the pub, and make sure you are doing something for yourself as well.
- Find a hobby. This last one is important. You need something to focus on that isn’t all about the kids. Whether you love sewing, reading, bike riding, or writing, find that passion and find a way to bring it into your everyday life. You can take the kids on bike rides, or do some writing while they sleep, or sew after they are in bed at night. This gives you something to look forward to each day as well, which is just about you.
Never underestimate the importance of ‘me’ time – I wouldn’t have made it this far in the parenting gig without it. If you have supportive friends and family nearby, put your hand up when you need help, you will be surprised by how many will come running. It doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad parent. It makes you human and in the long run, it will help you to be the best parent you can be.