Like most parents out there, I have a lot on my plate. I work, I go to school, I take care of my family and home, I fulfill my responsibilities at church and do my best to serve those around me. My mind is regularly on the verge of combustion with the amounts of information I have to remember. Just calling the Dr. to schedule an appointment for one of my children is sometimes more than I can take. Please don't ask me the birth date of any one of my children, I go into information overload.
I have mommy brain; a semi-permanent state of confusion and chaos: birthdays to remember, school papers to sign, phone calls to make, errands to run, groceries to purchase. It can be overwhelming at times. I can feel it in my whole body when the time has come for me to recharge my mental battery.
My me-time does not count on date night, that is us-time. It does not count when I am in class, that is, well, teacher-time, as is any volunteering I do at the school which counts as kid-time. It does not count when I read some of my kindle book while standing in line at the bank or the post office. And, it doesn't even count when I go to QT to get myself a soda or am exercising (although if that is your only me-time, go with it). Most importantly, it definitely does not count when I am at Target perusing the sale racks in search of something to wear because I was there anyway shopping for a baby gift. (I hate to shop).
Me-time is just that, it is time spent only for me, on me. So, here are some of my suggestions for finding and/or spending Me-time.
- Figure out what it is that you like to do just for you. Do you read? Write? Surf the internet? Sunbathe? Nap? Watch a movie? Window shop? Power shop? Pedicure? Exercise? Long soak in the tub? What is it that you like to do?
- Make time for yourself. I am blessed to have a sister who swaps babysitting with me. We each have two little ones at home so during the school year, she takes mine for a whole school day and I take hers for a whole school day. Find a friend who is willing to swap 2-3 hours with you once a week or every other week. You won’t HAVE the time until you MAKE the time.
- Always mark my me-time on the calendar so when something comes up, you can honestly say, “I’m sorry, I have plans right then.” Maybe you will only find 15 minutes this week and next week you find a few hours. However much time you make for yourself, own it, make it yours.
- Avoid distractions, especially if your me-time is at home. Turn off the ringer on the phone, don’t answer the doorbell, and/or put your husband in charge of the kids. I found it amusing and frightening once when my husband told me to go in my room and shut the door for an hour. (He is sometimes more aware of my needs than his own. Or, was that his way of saying he and the kids need some “away from mom” time, ha ha.)
- Be creative. When I was a younger mom, we didn’t have the money for a sitter, so while Ben was watching the kids, I would just drive to a shady spot and sit in the car and read for an hour; I still do that today when the weather is nice. I have a lot of friends who enjoy a game of volleyball at the church one night a week after the kids are in bed. I have other friends who do an occasional girl’s night out. Do whatever you have to do in order to get your me-time.
Keep in mind that there can also be too much of a good thing. There is no point in charging the battery past what is necessary. When you put a battery on its charger, when it is full it is full and ready to use. There is no bonus to charging too long. When you choose to be a parent, you automatically choose to sacrifice. There will be a time when all your time is just yours and you don't want to look back with regret.
Most important is for you to remember that you are not an Energizer bunny and you can’t just keep going and going and going. You need some time and space to recharge your mental battery, so let your time be just about you. Figure out what recharges you, plan accordingly, beware of distractions, and do whatever it takes to make the time for yourself. You are worth it.
I want to hear from you? What is your me-time and how do you plan for it?