If you thought motherhood and “me time” can’t go together, it’s time to do some rethinking – and a reconsideration of priorities. Motherhood is hard work, but it never meant losing yourself in the process.
In fact, if we can bravely say so ourselves, a mom who takes care of herself is a happier mom. And a happy mom usually raises a happy child.
But the concept of “me time” is strangely foreign among moms. Is it simply the time constraint that is preventing moms from treating themselves every once in a while? Or is it the idea that getting some “me time” is selfish and excessive?
Fortunately, science begs to disagree.
The Science Behind “Me Time”
According to Happify.com, moms get 3 hours fewer weekly leisure time than dads. Also, compared to dads, moms clock in more hours – a whopping 10 hours per week – to multitask and juggle housework and childcare. It is no surprise why more moms are falling victims to mommy burnout.
Mommy burnout is a real thing. It is a state of emotional exhaustion, which basically means that a mother is drained of energy. It happens when she reaches a point that she has nothing left to give to her children and her family.
Every mom needs the proper support and guidance from other people. This is why getting encouragement from a support group is very beneficial. But is there anything moms do themselves to avoid succumbing to mommy burnout?
10 Ways to Find “Me Time” While Mothering
You don’t have to get away from it all to find yourself. You don’t have to do something drastic like booking a hotel room for yourself or going to the beach by your lonesome. You can take care of yourself and treat yourself while looking after your family at the same time.
Impossible? Not really. Here are 10 easy ways to indulge while mothering.
1. Communicate with other people.
There is nothing wrong with going on Facebook a few hours per day, especially if you have just given birth and cannot really go out of the house. Avoid cabin fever by talking to other people even online. It is especially helpful to get in touch with fellow moms who can relate to you and can give you advice.
If Facebook or going online is not an option, you can socialize through the phone or, if possible, by visiting a next door neighbor. Any socialization does wonders for a mom who is feeling stressed out.
2. Spend a few minutes a day exercising.
Exercising releases happy hormones, which relieve stress and anxiety! It can be a bit tricky to exercise if you have a baby in tow, but take advantage of the moments when they are just lying down or sleeping. In other words, take advantage of the time when they are least needy.
You can hop on a treadmill or lay a mat on the floor to do some yoga – the choice is yours. You don’t even have to exert much effort. As long as you’re doing some physical activity, you will be fine.
3. Relax and watch some TV.
There is nothing wrong with mindless entertainment especially if it takes your mind off the stresses of daily parenting. If watching a movie is impossible at this stage, go for the next best thing: television shows.
Watching TV shows is enjoyable and costs virtually nothing. If you are feeding your child, take advantage of the precious free time and go channel surfing. You’re not a bad mother if you’re not looking into your baby’s face 24/7!
4. Read some books.
If watching movies and television is not your thing, perhaps reading is? If you enjoy reading, you definitely don’t need to forget about your books once you become a mother.
Again, take advantage of the free time that you get daily. Whether your child is feeding or sleeping, for example, you don’t have to feel guilty about getting some rest. Go ahead and open a book and read! You can worry about your floors later when you’re feeling more rested.
5. Don’t forget to do the hobbies that you enjoy.
Everyone has hobbies and enjoys doing them, so why can’t moms? If you enjoy cooking, then wear your baby in a sling and take them to the kitchen to see you in action. If it’s time for the baby to get some sleep, swaddle them securely and do some journaling or scrapbooking.
You can even experiment with your makeup and let your baby join in on the fun by teaching them colors. Or if you like knitting, knit baby clothes and blankets for the family. If you take advantage of the little pockets of free time, then you can see that you actually have time for yourself.
6. Take a leisurely walk to the park.
In the afternoon, once your baby has woken up and the weather is good, take their favorite baby blanket and get them in their stroller or may be in baby bouncer jumper. Take a stroll around the neighborhood and chat with your neighbors.
You may also stay in the park and let your baby explore their surroundings. By simply walking your baby to the park, you are able to socialize, exercise, and bond with your baby– all at the same time.
7. Occasionally unplug from social media.
Social media is a blessing because it connects you to other people. But at the same time, social media can also be a curse. If you keep seeing updates from other people, it’s tempting to compare your life to theirs. It is dangerously easy to fall into the trap of self-pity.
The solution is quite simple. If you stay off social media once in a while, then you can avoid seeing anxiety-inducing posts. Instead, you will be able to focus on your own well-being.
8. If you used to be a perfectionist, minimize it.
Motherhood is not the best time or place for perfectionism. Not everything is bound to go your way especially when you are in charge of raising another human being who has their own mind.
It’s not lowering standards; instead, it is freeing yourself from unnecessary stressors. You don’t have to worry about doing things perfectly all the time. Save time and energy by picking good choices, not perfect choices.
9. Sleep whenever you can.
Sleep is a luxury when you have a newborn baby, so sleep whenever you can! A mom who does not get enough sleep cannot function properly. And if you cannot function properly, you cannot make good decisions to take care of your family.
A well-rested mom is a healthy mom who can raise a healthy child. So when your baby sleeps, get some shut eye as well. Don’t underestimate the benefits of a brief power nap on your energy levels and mental well-being.
10. Change your mindset.
Finally, here’s a “me time” tip that you can do even if you are busy doing another thing. We have talked about how to treat yourself physically and emotionally; now, here’s a way to treat yourself mentally. Motherhood is a challenge, but you can make it easier by simply changing your mindset about it.
Instead of saying “I have to,” say “I get to.” For example, instead of being miserable thinking of how you have to stay at home to take care of the baby, say this: I get to stay at home to take care of the baby. Doesn’t the latter evoke a positive outlook contrary to the former? The simple change can instantly change your attitude about your life.
Moms, stop the mommy guilt. Finding “me time” is neither selfish nor excessive; instead, it is a necessity. You can only take good care of your family if you take good care of yourself first.