As a mom, your life is full of responsibility. You have to make sure that your children are well looked after, that their emotional needs are met, and if you are married, then there is your husband to worry about too.
But even in between preparing lunch boxes and bath times, you still need to find time for yourself to just unwind, and get some relief from the rigorousness that is parenting.
Granted if you have small children, than locking yourself in the bedroom to enjoy a session of yoga may not be as enjoyable as you imagined. Since this is very likely to end up with your children knocking at the door, begging to be allowed in, which goes against everything me time is meant to achieve.
But nevertheless, every mom can find some time to just be with herself, and according to mental health experts you shouldn’t feel guilty for craving some alone time, away from even your cute kids and gorgeous hubby.
According to clinical psychologist Joannna Kleovoulou, this is especially true for a mother with a new baby. “Mothers with a new baby need me time as it is one of the most important gifts to give yourself during this major life transition.”
Who am I?
“Me time is a mindful way of being that helps you, as a mother, to minimise overwhelming emotions, to cope with your new role and its changes and to feel more balanced, It’s important to do, think and feel in a way that eases your mind, makes you feel more relaxed and refreshes your body and soul in order to be more present for yourself, your baby and your family,” she adds.
It is very important for mothers to remember who they are, and to maintain their individuality, and make time to reflect on who they are as whole people and not just mothers, or wife.
While motherhood is celebrated, and the transition is made simpler and supported by some cultures or even families — this is not always the case with every new mom. Most times, and as a result of the nuclear family setup, most mothers are left alone, alienated to raise their children with no or very little support. This has also been associated with post-partum depression.
Me time is not selfish
Many women only believe that they deserve me time when they have worked hard and are sure that they have earned it. If not, women generally see indulging in themselves as selfish and neglectful of all their responsibilities and loved ones. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Once your baby is born it is very natural to find adjusting to life with an infant very testing. Women often neglect their own needs after giving birth, but we all know that an unhappy mother results in an unhappy infant. This is one of the main reasons why me time is vital and determines whether you will be able to cope.
Even though it may not come naturally at first, make time for yourself. This is very important for your own existence, and ability to function. Start small. Make a commitment to yourself, even if only mentally that you will find time for yourself even if twice a month, where you get to do something that you really enjoy.
What can I do?
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have me time. Perhaps you enjoy gardening. Maybe you could talk to your husband to bathe the children at around the time you take to your gardening. Even though you are still at home, this is a great way to spend time doing something you enjoy, that doesn’t involve the children. “Little snatches of time can be just as good as a whole block,” says Colleen Farber-Manning, a family counsellor.
- Create a list or a network of people you can rely on to babysit when you need a break.
- Learn to prioritise. Yes we all want a clean house, but sometimes you may have to settle for a bit of untidiness to just relax on the couch, and watch your favourite soapie, or movie.
- Keep a notebook with words of inspiration. Phrases such “I am a great mom,” “I do my best at that time.”
- Make to do lists, with tasks that you wish to achieve so that you are prepared to hand over responsibilities when you do get a babysitter.
- Give your partner tasks to do to help with the children. Perhaps he can collect the children from work every day.
- Create your very own list of must-haves. Things that will make your life easier. Perhaps top of the list is a washing machine to help with family laundry, or a selection of great books you can read when the children are in bed, that will keep you mentally stimulated.
- Give yourself permission to make mistakes and to learn because even though this may come as a surprise, you are only human.
You need and deserve to be happy. A little time to yourself could also make you healthier, have a clearer head , feel refreshed, and appreciate what you do have a whole lot more. Not spending every waking moment with your child does not mean that you love her less, but time away is definitely needed every now and then.