Pre-kids, ‘me time’ was just an excuse to go out and get your ‘nails did’, or a way of justifying a $100 foot massage. Post-kids, ‘me time’ sounds like a Chinese takeaway meal: “One me time with extra pork please”. It’s foreign. It’s something, as mums, we never see or do. When you have kids, ‘me time’ is locking yourself in the shower for 5 minutes, as soon as your partner walks in the door. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that gets you through the day.
As a mum, ‘me time’ is a rarity, but it’s actually crucial for your sanity. Sure, it may not come in the form of a 2-hour pamper session at your local day-spa, (I wish), but it can and will happen if you let it.
The old saying, ‘You learn from your mistakes’, is completely true when it comes to having children. We tend make all our mistakes with the first child and then any children after that are a breeze. With my 3-year-old, I never allowed myself to have any ‘me time’. I was doing breakfast radio every day, breastfeeding throughout the night and like a new-born-foal, I could hardly stand by the afternoon. With my second child however, I learnt from this mistake. Now, I make ‘me time’. And I’m so much happier for it.
So, I’m going to share my top 5 tips to ensure you get some ‘me time’. These little things can be the difference between feeling good about yourself and having a complete baby-brain-meltdown because you can’t find your keys. (By the way, they’re in the fridge.)
- Say YES! If you’ve seen the Jim Carey movie, ‘Yes Man’, do what he did: say YES! Start accepting help. If your friend or mother-in-law offers to have the kids for a couple of hours, don’t say no because you don’t want to put them out. Put them out!!! It’s 2 hours of their life, but it will feel like a 2-week holiday for you. You’ll feel refreshed and might even be able to string a sentence together when you get back. Oh how I miss stringing sentences together!
- Put on your GYM GEAR. Before your partner gets home from work, put on your running gear. Remember, it’s the outfit you used to wear back when you had time to exercise? That way, when he walks in, you’re out the door faster than he can say, “You wouldn’t believe the day I’ve had”. Even if you just walk around the block, you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel after it. Fresh air feeds the soul!
- Make plans with your GIRLFRIENDS. Make breakfast or dinner dates with your girlfriends. No kids. No partners. I used to turn down invites all the time because I didn’t want to leave my husband at home with the kids. Even though I know he’s completely capable (and fabulous), I’d feel bad. Don’t. It’s great bonding time for them and unless you’re going out every Saturday night, it’s a good break for you and for him.
- Lock yourself in the BATHROOM . Like I mentioned before, shower-time is the new Hammer-time! Most days, it’s the only chance you’ll get to have ‘me time’ and if you do it right, it’s absolute bliss. Firstly, you need to lock the door behind you. This will safe-guard you from small humans walking in and destroying the tranquility. Secondly, whack on a shower cap. Not only are they incredibly ‘attractive’, they also work as the perfect sound block. If you stand directly underneath the showerhead, you’ll hear nothing but the sweet sound of warm water raining down on you; washing away your worries; cleansing you of your sins. And by sins, I mean the 2 blocks of chocolate you ate while your child was napping.
- Opt to do the supermarket SHOPPING. I know this sounds weird, but when we do our supermarket shopping every Saturday, I can’t wait to go. Solo. Firstly, it’s nice just to get out of the house, alone! Walking down the supermarket aisles with no sense of urgency, and with no cheeky monkeys pulling at your pants, is actually quite relaxing. You should even treat yourself to a juice or a coffee beforehand. Just sit alone and flick pages of a magazine. As a teenager, the thought of having coffee alone was a nightmare. But now, as a mum, solo is just another word for bliss.
Try these tips. And don’t be pressured into thinking ‘me time’ is a selfish act for someone with children. Think about it this way: ‘me time’ actually makes you a better mum.