Most mums say they don’t have time for themselves, don’t have time to do the things they enjoy, the things they need for their own wellbeing, happiness and mental health. I am one of these mums, but am doing my very best to carve out some time for myself, above and beyond Mum time.
Often, we forget about prioritising ourselves and our needs in between the endless round of children’s school and social activities. After family and work commitments it often feels like there is absolutely no time left!
So what is stopping us from having me time? Apart from the lack of time, I feel like it’s the guilt of having some time to ourselves and not spending it with our children or partner or feeling like we should be working or doing jobs. We need to stop putting ourselves last and not feel guilty for just taking some time to sit and read or do something just for you.
Self care and me time is not a luxury. It is essential. It is essential for our health and wellbeing but also to role model to our children that we are individuals as well as mothers. When we talk to them about our interests, show them we can go out on our own and will return and share with them what makes us happy, they will (hopefully) have a more positive attitude towards self care as they grow older.
Here are a few ideas on how get some me time over mum time:
1. Stop one non-essential thing a day.
Do you really need to mop the floor today? Can the big grocery shop wait? Do you have to do the dishes right now? Do YOU have to do it? Find something that is either for others or is something unfulfilling (like your daily time wasters whatever they are for you) and replace it with something that nurtures your well being, even if it’s just for five minutes.
2. Schedule your me time.
Plan it just like you would a doctor’s appointment. I recently had a massage booked, but suddenly everyone desperately needed me, so I cancelled it and rescheduled. The following day I had a doctor’s appointment, and despite the needs of the family being the same, there was no negotiation - I had to go. The massage should have been just as important both in my eyes and the eyes of my family. So put your yoga class or your hour to yourself as an appointment that can’t be moved or cancelled. Perhaps diarise it as a ‘doctor’s appointment’!
3. Learn how to say no and don’t over commit!
Yes, I feel a bit like a hypocrite, but I am trying very hard to say ‘no’ more. If you can’t fit it in then don’t. Everyone will always find things to fill your time. I always feel I need to fill every moment and the days go past with us racing around like crazy people and being exhausted at the end. It’s ok to say no, there’s always tomorrow or next week.
4. Take a moment to read.
If you love to read, but never have enough mental or physical space to actually even entertain the idea, try to create a quiet reading time with your family. It can be any time, but works best in the afternoon or evening. Everyone reads or looks at picture books for 15 minutes (or more) while you enjoy a chapter of your own book. Children can learn to be with you without needing your 100% attention for 15 minutes or so!
5. Start Small.
If you currently spend barely any time on yourself start with 15 minutes a day and build from there. Do you skip the moisturiser in the morning because you need to get the school lunches done or some other ‘pressing’ task? Seriously, this nurturing self care moment takes a good 2 minutes. So ask yourself what you need most and honour that.
If you are not used to taking time for yourself it can feel selfish, but stop feeling guilty and accept that you are investing in your own physical, mental and emotional wellbeing so that you can be the best you for yourself and for your family.