I was doing my daily meditation the other day and at the end of the meditation, the meditation coach said, “Now you need to schedule an hour and a half of time for yourself at some point over the next couple of days. Get a massage, go for a walk, whatever, but just do it.” At first, my immediate reaction was, “yeah, right.” Seriously, I don’t have the time for that. Then I remembered how tired I had been feeling the past couple of weeks and how moody I had been. I was not being the best version of myself and my energy and my family were suffering for it.
I had actually just told The Hubs earlier in the week that we just didn’t have the resources or the time for me to take time for myself. This was right after I had expressed to him that I was really feeling like I needed a weekend away to refuel! Clearly, something had gone haywire in my mindset that made me think that I didn’t deserve time for myself even though I recognized that I needed it.
In a Daily Mail post from 2014 it states;
For a study has found that the average mother ends up with a mere 17 minutes to herself a day.
The hectic lifestyles of mothers emerged in the study and found a frazzled 51 per cent regularly go whole weeks without even a single minute relaxing on their own.
While nearly three quarters of the 2,000 mothers studied felt they lived their lives entirely for other people.
I get more time than this to myself each day but that’s ONLY because I drag my butt out of bed at 5 am each morning just to get an hour to myself. I also only get this time to myself because I then lock myself in my office so that no one can enter. That doesn’t stop my daughter from trying to open the door or standing outside of it knocking incessantly once she wakes. Can anyone else relate?
It actually took me about 5 years to demand this amount of time to myself. Side note, my daughter is 5. I have spent the past 5 years basically putting myself last. With the rare afternoon to myself here and there. It was time for me to stop thinking I was selfish for demanding “Me Time” and start realizing that it was necessary.
What made me change my mind then?
It was honestly a combination of things. As stated, I was feeling really drained and moody. Then The Hubs unapologetically said that he was going to take the following Monday off of work and head to his sister’s house to go hunting with our brother-in-law for the weekend. I always meet this news, which honestly doesn’t happen that often, with anger and resentment because I want a weekend away! So, the combination of the two situations made me stop and realize that the only one denying me the time I felt I needed for myself, was me!
So I scheduled an hour long professional massage for myself on Saturday and envisioned going to my favorite coffee shop afterward and sipping my coffee undisturbed while I leisurely ate my breakfast. Just scheduling the massage and making the plan for myself had me feeling relaxed and excited. I hadn’t allowed myself to do anything like this in, well I honestly can’t remember when I selfishly scheduled time for myself, at least not outside of demanding that my shower time be undisturbed and un-rushed. I was crazy excited.
Fill Your Cup First
We’ve all heard it, “Fill your cup first” or the familiar flight attendant instructions to put your oxygen mask on first before trying to help anyone else. Somewhere between pre-mommy life and post mommy life we convince ourselves that this rule no longer applies to us and that we don’t deserve to take time for ourselves. It doesn’t matter the excuse, “not enough money, no time, I shouldn’t, maybe once things settle down.” and on and on and on until we realize that we might have gone months without really taking time for ourselves.
In a Pop Sugar article about burnt-out moms it states;
You are not Rome. You are not a village.
Strategize and take care of yourself or you’re no good for anyone!
I’m certainly no exception to this messed up way of thinking but I’m now dedicated to making a conscious effort to knock it out for good and here is why you should too.
- You will feel amazing! You guys, that Saturday I went to my massage in the morning, then, relaxed and loose I headed to my favorite coffee shop, ordered a large latte and a delicious breakfast and sat there for an hour sipping my coffee, eating my breakfast and mindlessly skimming through my social media feeds. All without anyone demanding my attention or the pull of my responsibilities at home telling me I should get up and get some work done. I then wandered around Target without purpose. I admittedly bought my daughter a small goodie but the rest of the trip was spent just enjoying browsing without an agenda. Afterwards, I headed to our local library and spent an hour and a half getting work done. I ended my day with a long hot bath, reading and then enjoying a cup of chamomile tea before heading to bed. It was amazing!
- You need it! It is absolutely vital that you take time for yourself. Put your oxygen mask on first before trying to help anyone else. You guys, we cannot be the women, wives and mothers that we want to and need to be if we’re not taking care of ourselves first. By denying ourselves basic self-care needs and breaks, we suffer mentally, physically and emotionally. Do yourself and your health a favor and take a break!
- You’ll be a better person. When we’re exhausted, stressed and emotionally drained we’re not capable of being the best version of ourselves. If you’re anything like me you become short tempered, impatient and barely have energy for the basics, let alone the high demands of being a wife and mother. Alternatively, when you feel rested, stress-free and emotionally satisfied you can go into your day ready to handle the inevitable pulls in all directions that come with juggling so much. You’ll also be more able to keep your cool when your toddler has a complete breakdown because you gave them the wrong colored bendy straw.
Ways to fill your cup.
I understand that not everyone has the resources to get a professional massage each month, but let’s face it, if we cut down our needless trips to Target and resisted the allure of the Dollar Spot you could probably afford one every once in a while. Or you could pick up a side gig that allows you to earn a little extra cash without taking up a lot of your valuable time.
Treat yourself every once in a while to more than 15 minutes here or there, because you deserve it and you need it.
There are other ways to recharge and get a little “Me Time” though, without shelling out the often hefty price tag of a professional massage. Here are a few that I enjoy that won’t break the bank.
- Head to your favorite spot; a scenic area, coffee shop, bookstore. Then sit there as long as you desire and enjoy a goodie and do a small hobby that brings you joy; read, peruse social media, people watch, just enjoy not having little hands grabbing at you. It doesn’t matter what you do once you’re there, the important thing is that it’s what you want to do and remember, don’t worry about the clock. This is about enjoying as much time as you need in order to feel recharged.
- Go for a walk. It can be a nature walk, a stroll around your town or walking and window shopping. I love taking slow, long walks with my dog and just enjoying the fresh air and slow pace. Getting up and moving is great for your health as you know so bonus on the recharging and health aspects.
- Ask your spouse to take the kiddos out of the house for the day. A note about this though, only choose this option if you are capable of actually relaxing instead of running around the house cleaning. I know that’s tempting but it won’t help you feel relaxed or stress-free if you’re running around frantically trying to get the house clean before your family returns. If you truly can’t relax with a messy house, I certainly can’t, then do your big cleaning the day before and enlist the help of your family to do the tidying up before they head out for the day. Now spend your day at home relaxing! Have a Netflix marathon of your favorite show that you never get to watch, eat your favorite treat and just lay around. Hubs not available to take the kiddos? Do you have family near that would be available to take them for you? What about a friend? Where there’s a will, there’s a way. 😉
- Get a babysitter and go out with your friends. We are social creatures and we don’t allow ourselves near enough time to just let loose with our friends after becoming mothers. So head out for a girl’s day or a girl’s night and have fun, laugh and be silly.
Remember, it doesn’t matter what you spend your time doing, just that it’s something you truly enjoy and that doesn’t revolve around taking care of everything and everyone else in your life. This time is about taking care of you and filling your cup. Let go of the guilt and leave the responsibilities of your life for a few hours. You’ll be much more equipped to take on everything else when you do.
What does your dream day to yourself look like? Now, what’s keeping you from giving it to yourself? Let me know in the comments below!