Life goes fast! And when I look at the life that parents lead today, it can be completely overwhelming (not to mention, exhausting)! Between careers, playdates, school requirements, and good old-fashioned family fun, before you know it, there is no time left for yourself. And that is only magnified when you are a single parent. Face it. Some days are just going to be bad, while some days will be blissfully amazing. But on those bad days, sometimes moms don’t know how they’ll make it through another hour. Many may feel this is simply part of the parenting gig and that this too, shall pass. There can be a lot of guilt associated for taking a little time to yourself whether are so many other things that you “should” be doing. However, if you NEVER take time for yourself, you will soon find yourself running on Empty with no reserves in the tank. What is a Mom supposed to do?
First of all, no matter what people say, taking some time out for yourself every once in a while is SO important. Why? Well, here are just a few reasons:
1. It helps to relieve stress and anxiety
A little time to yourself can help to make you healthier, have a clearer head, feel refreshed, and even be a better mom. Isn’t that the ultimate goal? I’ve seen countless women become so guilt-ridden by even taking the time to take care of themselves by going to the gym for an hour that they give up what they consider to be an indulgence. And we all know how it feels to not be as active as you’d like. The stress kicks in, you start to feel not as confident in yourself, and before long, healthy habits that you used to take for granted and were a part of your core, have been given up in lieu of being with the kids. On the other hand, women who continue to take this time for themselves show their children what healthy habits are and that it’s OK to take time for yourself every once in a while. We all want our kids to grow up in a healthy environment and knowing what it means to take care of yourself to the best of your abilities, right?
I don’t know about you, but spending a little time on my own, whether it be a quick spa trip, or even just window shopping and enjoying a favorite meal or activity on my own makes me feel completely rejuvenated. When you’ve had a rough few days at work, on top of the challenges that some days of parenting can bring, nothing quite works as well as a little alone time to unplug. Even if your idea of a wonderful afternoon alone would be to find your favorite quiet place and meditate, what works for you will help to rejuvenate your spirit so you’re back up to par when you return to the little ones. And when they see you refreshed and excited to be with them, that will make their day, too!
3. To have a little adult interaction
Come on. Nothing quite beats a little time with friends to unwind and catch up on each other’s lives. Being able to unplug for a few hours to spend time together without the kids under your feet helps to truly focus on each other and the friendships that you have that are important to you. Or how about a date night with your significant other? This is another great way to enhance relationships at home, as well! Who doesn’t like to be a little spoiled every once in a while with a night out on the town to let loose and focus on the things that you never seem to have time for when you’re around the kids.
4. Continuing to grow on a personal level
Who doesn’t love spending some time doing their favorite hobbies? Maybe you’re a total foodie and would love to take a cooking class. Or, your passion is photography and spending some time honing in your skills and being able to take the pictures you love totally helps to satisfy that itch to do “more”. Hobbies and personal interests are such an important part of who you are and should continue to be nurtured and developed. There will come a time when the kids will be more independent and won’t be depending on your all hours of the day anymore. And this is when you’re going to be happy that you continued to spend a little time on yourself and your own personal development while they were young.
5. Everyone needs some fun!
Without taking these small breaks for yourself, it can become easy to forget what it’s even like to have a few hours (if that!) of solitude. Think about the things you used to do for yourself before becoming a parent. Reading the paper or your favorite book. Getting a pedicure. Relaxing with some friends over a good dinner, sans kids. You deserve it! And most of all, you need it. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids because you need to spend time away from them every once in a while. And even more important, it helps you to retain a piece of yourself than you could lose. And when that happens, oftentimes we become more self-critical. And that’s no way you want to be around your children.
Don’t forget to slow the train down once in a while and take some time for yourself. Everyone’s idea of “Me Time” is different, so decide how best to spend some time alone, work it out with your significant other or someone who could help you with the kids for a little bit, and make some plans to fill that tank back up so you are back running at full speed! You deserve it!
So… how do you find “Me Time”?