As moms, we carry a lot of guilt. Guilt that we’re not spending enough time with our child, cooking as many meals as possible from scratch, working on our relationships with our significant others..the list goes on. For this reason we rarely take time out to focus solely on ourselves. We feel, for some reason, that we need to prove to everyone that we are competent as mothers.
In my short 3 1/2 years as a mother I’ve found that this can spell trouble in many ways. When I became a mother, I had this innate need to be perfect. We needed to eat perfectly healthy and organically, the house needed to be perfectly clean, I needed to do several different learning activities with Tatum plus find time to squeeze in that “much needed” play date for her social interaction. In one day. Which required homemade healthy treats, of course. From the moment I woke up to the moment my eyes finally closed at night, I was constantly using my energy on everything but myself, worrying that I still hadn’t done enough.
Tatum was just turning two years old when I began having severe panic attacks. I distinctly remember the night before I experienced my first one, I was cleaning the kitchen and said to myself ”I have to be perfect.” Never had I experienced anxiety before. Because I didn’t give my own health and well-being any thought, I was finally beginning to deal with the consequences. The physical and mental effects of the anxiety I was experiencing forced me to slow down and focus on what is really important. What good was I to my daughter when I was so distraught with stress and anxiety about being the “perfect mom?”
Tatum is now 3 1/2 and my anxiety has decreased significantly. I rarely deal with it now, but when it does rear it’s ugly head, it means I have been lacking in taking care of myself in one way or another. Not enough sleep, not stopping to eat properly. I learned to let certain things go. Didn’t practice writing letters of the alphabet today? Not a big deal. Ate Kraft Dinner instead of whipping up my own homemade mac & cheese? That’s fine. I’m not saying we need to let all of our responsibilities fall to the wayside, eat hot dogs for every meal and watch endless amounts of T.V. I still believe we need to be the best parents we can be for our children. But in the long run, eating something pre-packaged once in a while and letting strict learning activities slide is not going to make you a bad mother. You’ll be better for putting yourself higher up on your priority list.
So, for all of you moms that need to take a breather and do something good for yourselves, here’s a list of my top five favourite ways to squeeze in “me time.”
1. Have a DIY spa night.
You can never go wrong with a spa night at home. Personally, I can’t afford to get my nails done every week or get a facial once a month. So I do it at home after Tatum goes to bed. I get a large bowl filled with warm water (I like to put bath salts or nice smelling body wash in it) and soak my feet. Put on my Glam Glow face masque or make my own (one tablespoon of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of nutmeg mixed together makes a fabulous skin brightening masque!). Put on a good show and sit back and relax!
2. Go to the coffee shop/grocery store/mall…alone.
I don’t know about you, but going out and doing something on my own is like I’m a part of the world again. I love taking my daughter out and doing things with her, but as a parent you’re usually focused on how your child is behaving and the task at hand, and getting out of there without any meltdowns. There’s something so relaxing about wandering through the grocery store at your own pace, sitting down in a coffee shop with a good book for half an hour, or picking out a new top at your favourite store without your little one clawing at your pants or asking if they can get a chocolate bar/new toy/the cereal with the prize in it. Just as I give my fiance his time alone, he knows that I need time alone too. Leave your kids with your spouse, your mom, a babysitter and get out there on your own.
3. Wake up a little earlier in the morning.
This doesn’t always work since sometimes my daughter is awake at the crack of dawn (or earlier), but I like to try and get up at least 20 minutes before she does to enjoy my coffee and get ready for the day. I find my day goes so smoothly if I can have a few minutes in the morning to wake up and collect my thoughts, get breakfast prepped or plan out my errands. If I can, I’ll do a bit of yoga or some cardio, but if I’m not feeling that ambitious I’ll just take some time to enjoy the peace and quiet before the day is filled with “I don’t want oatmeal for breakfast,” Handy Manny on repeat, and shuttling to and from activities.
4. Utilize your babysitter.
I’m not a full-time working mother, but I do work part-time. My schedule is never the same as I get called in to work when I’m needed, so one week I may not work at all and the next week I may be working every day. No matter what, my daughter goes to daycare at least twice a week. If it happens to be a week that I’m not working, she still goes. It keeps her in her routine, she gets to play with a group of kids she loves, and I get to either a) accomplish things at home that are sometimes difficult with Tatum around or b) do nothing. This doesn’t happen all of the time but I do take advantage of it when it does. Sometimes you need to sit on your bum and watch Gossip Girl reruns. So ladies, use your babysitter to get a quiet day all to yourself at home! Sending them to daycare every once in a while while you hang out at home does not equal abandonment.
5. The tried and true hot bath.
This is a classic me-time moment for moms. The hot bath. This has always been one of my favourite things to do to relax myself, even pre-child. The feeling of soaking in hot water with some amazing smelling bubble bath, salts or a body scrub cannot compare. I like to use epsom salts as there are a wide range of health benefits (epsom salts are high in magnesium which can benefit the body in so many ways!) and are good for stress relief, but you can use anything that relaxes you. I like to read books in the bath (I do have many books with wrinkly, wavy pages from dropping them in the bath, but it’s worth it) and forget about my current stresses for a short while. A hot bath can relax the mind, detoxify your body and stimulate your circulation. Have a bath and clear your head.
I’ve shared my favourite ways to find some “me-time,” what are some of your most loved ways to get that precious few moments of peace?