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Whether you are a first time mom, working mother or stay-at-home mommy, ‘Me Time’ is essential to your mental and physical health. However, it appears as if moms are hard-wired to feel guilty about not doing enough for their kids. In addition, they have a tendency to extend their responsibility to people around them.
Think about it. Can you turn down requests to serve on this committee or bake another dozen cookies for that event? So, between this, that and something else – What are you doing for yourself? Taking essential ‘Me Time’ will refresh your body, mind and spirit.
Positive self-talk about getting rid of guilt feelings is like trying to talk a duck out of water. Instead, try this: give yourself permission to carve out time for yourself.
‘Me Time’ is essential. You deserve it. You need it. Time spent paying attention to ‘you’ is a right, not a privilege.
Simple Guidelines to Baby-Stepping it
Have you forgotten what it’s like to indulge in just-for-me moments of solitude? If so, perhaps baby-stepping it through mini-retreats is a good starting place for you. It’s important to start somewhere before you lose sight of self. If not, you’re likely to become one of those mommy martyrs, who have forgotten how to love herself.
Baby-steps are all about grabbing 15-30 minutes for yourself when available. For example, after you put the kids down for their naps, light a candle, make a cup of tea or coffee and cozy-up in a comfortable chair. Listen to calming music. Meditate or just go into deep relaxation; write in your journal; knit or crochet; sketch – or any soothing activity you prefer.
A couple of hours of freedom after you drop the kids off for a play-date can work miracles on your mood. Wander around a garden shop and inhale beauty; sit in the lobby of a 5-star hotel and people-watch; go to an exclusive boutique and try on designer clothing; sit on a park bench and watch nature.
Grabbing little increments of alone time is good. Finding several hours to rejuvenate, recharge and restore is better. Taking a few days away from the normal place and pace of life where you can pursue your passions and feed your soul is best.
The getaway of 1-2 days minimum is all about serenity. Pack a couple of books you haven’t had time to read. A slow walk in the woods or on the beach will begin to empty collected stress from your mind. A soothing bath with essential oil, such as lavender, will begin to melt away physical stress.
Read those books. Getting lost in another world will turn off your maternal worry button, at least temporarily. Novels are entertaining, but you may consider reading a spiritual book also. Just watch your soul open-up and satiate itself!
Take yourself to a real restaurant, preferably one with white-coated waiters and white tablecloths. Savor every morsel of the meal you didn’t prepare. Relish the peace. You won’t have to admonish the kids to “be still”, “don’t chew with your mouth open” or “no, no a thousand times no”.
A restorative getaway may sound delicious, but first you must figure out childcare arrangements.
Don’t wait until you’re on total burnout to make an action plan. Start an ongoing list of babysitting ideas something like this:
- Husband – Let guilt go. Kids need Dad ‘N Me time
- Family – Who is willing? Who is available? Survey grandparents, siblings, aunts,
cousins and so on.
- Drop-in Nursery – Is there a place nearby that accepts drop-ins for several
hours? Investigate it!
- Babysitters – Qualified, trustworthy babysitters can be expensive. It may be
more cost-effective to hire a sitter for date nights with hubby. Don’t hesitate to
call a sitter in the event of a real meltdown emergency.
- Start a Mom Co-op – Are there neighborhood mothers who could use a break
too? Consider hosting a coffee klatch to set up simple co-op rules.
Action Plan: Making “Me Time” Happen
Are you beginning to realize the real value of spending more time with yourself? If so, set your intention now. Nothing elaborate but it is a good idea to solidify your intention in writing. Date a journal page or clean sheet of paper. Write an intention in your own words.
Here is a guideline:
I intend to take two days of ‘Me Time’ every other month. I intend to find four hours of solitary time every other week. I intend to grab 30-45 minutes of alone time every other day.
You know your life is crazy-busy. You now know you are entitled to a relaxing slow-down. You understand it’s all about restoring balance to your life.
Giving yourself permission to be solitary will reward you with a greater appreciation for your little ones and husband. Most of the time, it’s all about them. Some of the time, it’s gotta be all about you!