Guilt free me time?? Is it possible? It should be! Taking care of yourself should not be seen as a luxury. It is a necessity! Parents need kid-free time to take care of themselves. Couples need alone time to maintain their relationship. I hate that having “me time” can be viewed as unnecessary or as a treat. Yes, it is a treat, but it's not something we should be skimping on! Every week we should get some time to ourselves to relax or pursue an activity, something that rejuvenates your mental health! It's not the same for everyone, for some it's a night out with friends, a trip to the coffee shop, a mom's group meeting, time alone to read a book, it should not be just running errands without kids. I enjoy getting those things done without extra helpers, but “me time” really needs to be about you! You also should not have to sacrifice sleep to get it!
You should figure out what it is that really helps you feel good, what gives you the mental and/or physical energy to keep going? Once you have that figured out, ask for time to do it. Husbands and significant others should step up and support you. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Family members or close friends can also babysit to give you a break. Maybe you have a good friend in the same situation, you could trade time to give each other some much-needed relaxation. Most of us don't have a “village” to help raise our children so we need to create one. It could be in your neighborhood, church group, extended family, and friends. No one should feel guilty that they want and need a break away from their children and household duties. This applies to all caregivers, those that work out of the house and those that work at home, (Yes I mean stay at home parents too, they are definitely working!). Maybe money is tight, there are still many ways you can get some time for yourself.
Go to the library. It's often quiet, at least in the adult sections, most have free wifi so even if you don't feel like reading, you can bring your computer or smartphone and play games or chat with friends. Go for a run or walk around your neighborhood, if that is not an option, perhaps a mall or big store, (as long as you are not grocery shopping!!), just relax and stroll along. Go to a coffee or ice cream shop and sit and enjoy the quiet or invite a friend so you can chat. If you have a gym membership go and enjoy the amenities or get in a good long workout. Maybe your just want a quiet bath or shower, ALONE, without little hands sticking under the door, have your significant others read this, explain that they are in charge and are to pretend like you are not there, tell the kids you are leaving, walk out the door if you have to, then sneak back in and go hide in the bathroom!! Find a MOPS group (Mothers Of Preschoolers). They are generally affiliated with a church, but they are open to everyone and make everyone feel welcome, even if you are not a church member. These groups offer childcare during the meetings and you can develop great friendships and have a community of support. Basically, there is no specific thing you have to do for self-care, just do what feels good for you. But you HAVE to do it, even if that means hiding in the pantry, closet or bathroom for a few min several times a day, just do it!
When my kids were young enough that they took naps, I loved nap time, but it often wasn't enough or wasn't at the right time. Sometimes I needed a break at 10am! Those times I might have put my kids in their high chairs or ensured they were safe and went into another room and read a few pages of a book. Sometimes it worked better than others, sometimes I was followed, but sometimes I got some reading in. Sometimes you have to be super creative to find ways to take care of yourself, but if you aren't taking care of you who will? You have to take care of yourself first, then help those around you. You are no good to them if you are too tired and stressed out to think straight. It is not a luxury, but a necessity! What are some creative ways you get your self-care? I'd love to read your ideas! Post a comment, share those great ideas!