Can Me Time Co-Exist With MotherhoodI had one of those moments yesterday where I suddenly got slammed around the head with the kind of clarity and understanding that, at least for me, appears rarely. You know when you read something and find yourself nodding and silently mouthing an empathetic ‘YES’? That was me yesterday. It’s the kind of statement that makes so much sense that you wonder why you’ve never allowed it to flit onto your consciousness before. Words that you keep revisiting, hours after you first read them, to continue to bask in the sense that they make.

Wanna know what they were? Before I share, it’s probably important to note where they came from (I promise it’ll be worth getting through these next few paragraphs, they’re that good). In my ‘other life’ outside of blogging and aside from being a mother and ridding the streets of crime, clad in a cape and mask, of an evening, I write for a bunch of websites and magazines. This past week I’ve been working on a feature where I chatted to a clinical psychologist about all things motherhood related. Let me tell you, this woman knew her stuff and I was a little in awe of her wisdom, insight and knowledge about the motherhood experience.

It was when I was looking back over my notes and the quotes that she’d given me that I came across a couple of paragraphs in particular that stuck out. I had asked her about the importance of self care and ‘me’ time as mother, something which can be fleeting at the best of times and non-existent at the worst.

While I’ve experienced first hand the impact that not having time to nourish your child’s mother can have on physical and mental health, it’s still a concept that I sometimes struggle with. ‘How can I nourish myself when i can’t leave the room for more than 5 minutes between the hours of 6am-6pm?’ I may have wailed at my husband on numerous occasions. Forget a nipping out for a mani or pedi, bathing alone has lately become a novelty as my water obsessed son wants in on the action, literally bolting in from all corners of the house at the sound of a running tap.

There’s nothing as uniquely relaxing as sharing a beautifully fragrant bath with two diggers, a plastic boat and a selection of different farm animals who must be supported in the water at all times, lest they start to drown and cause my son to panic and attempt to dive down under the water to rescue them. I get caught up in the idea that ‘me time’ has to be spent solo and, when that’s next to impossible, I’ve been known to get in a bit of a flap. But, and here’s where the clarity came in and whacked me around the head, I kind of forgot that spending time ON myself and creating a happy, contented and rewarding life CAN be possible even when you’re on the clock 24/7 (and continually rescuing a horse, creatively named ‘Neigh’ multiple times of an evening).

“If we are always waiting for daddy to come home, the babysitter to arrive or nap time to do something rewarding or something ‘for us’, we will quickly fall into the trap of living an uninspired and unrewarding life.”

I’m paraphrasing the exact words and have tweaked them slightly but THAT was what knocked the stuffing out of me for a few seconds, yesterday when I read it. I’ve completely fallen into the trap of thinking that I can only nurture myself when my son isn’t involved. It’s a natural way of thinking I suppose. He’s a toddler. He’s noisy and messy and generally not keen on doing stuff that he doesn’t want to do. I consistently and constantly prioritise his needs because I’m his mum and that’s what we do, generally gladly. Somehow along the way though, I lost sight of the fact that ‘I’ can factor into our days as well. Something as small as switching off Playschool’s 45th Anniversary Compilation and switching on a ‘Hamish And Andy’ podcast can make a real difference to my mood. Taking my Kindle in with us to the bath and reading a few pages while we splash around together isn’t ‘bad’ parenting but taking advantage of a relatively ordered and stable period in our day. I’m now on the hunt for other little things that I can add to our day that enrich how we both experience it.

I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments.. How do you factor yourself into your day as a mother? Are there certain things you try and aim for or implement to make ‘me’ time co-exist with kid time?
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15 Comments on Can ‘Me’ Time Co-Exist With Being A Mum?

  1. Mother Down Under
    April 10, 2014 at 5:08 pm (4 years ago)

    I totally agree!
    I have found that playing trains is a lot more tolerable if I have my iTunes playlist going in the background…distracts from the monotony of being told first to play with Percy and then not to touch Percy!

    Reply
    • Not Just A Mummy
      April 23, 2014 at 3:14 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh my God absolutely! I reckon music can make allll the difference, especially on those long afternoons when you’ve got The Wiggles going round and round in your head and a whingey toddler who just wants to push all your buttons!

      Reply
  2. Lilybett
    April 10, 2014 at 10:00 pm (4 years ago)

    I read a little while ago about Maggie Mason (of Mighty Girl) who gives herself a pedicure while her son takes his bath. I like to use that time as a bit of me time too. I am, of course, the ever-present lifeguard but my boy doesn’t need me to be hands on with toys, etc. So I set myself up a little nest of towels on the tile floor and read a book, do a crossword puzzle or play on my phone.

    I also find putting on my own music in the kitchen and singing very loudly while I’m cooking dinner makes my heart sing just a little bit louder too.

    Reply
    • Not Just A Mummy
      April 23, 2014 at 3:23 pm (4 years ago)

      I LOVE the pedicure idea! I am absolutely doing that next time I run him a bath (God knows my nails need it!) I think we sometimes think that we need to be hands on ALL THE TIME with our kidlets, probably due to having to be there 24/7 when they were tiny. I know I always seem to think/find myself feeling like I always need to be involved with whatever Ollie is doing, ebven when he’s perfectly happy doing his own thing! Time to start taking advantage of those moments i think!

      Reply
  3. Nicky
    April 11, 2014 at 11:23 am (4 years ago)

    So true.
    I totally hear you. I think of me time as a meditative moment. And I see opportunities for these sprinkled all through my day. It makes waiting in line, or for your kid to finish on the toilet, or hanging out the washing seem like restful bliss (although yeh perhaps there are other more blissful wasy to spend your day)
    Thanks
    Nicky

    Reply
  4. Beck/craftypjmum
    April 11, 2014 at 8:17 pm (4 years ago)

    Firstly I wish I could relive the time when my boys were still toddlers. I look back now and think “Gee, I could have done things so much better if I organised myself a bit better and included my needs as well as theirs”
    I agree with Mother Down Under. In today’s world ITunes makes for an easy out, weather taking a walk, a bath or doing a puzzle with your little one ITunes gives the opportunity of spending quality time with your young ones and enjoying quality me time. xxx

    Reply
    • Not Just A Mummy
      April 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm (4 years ago)

      It’s so easy isn’t it Beck to look back and wonder what we could have done differently. I know I do it with Ollie’s younger years and think how much better things could have been if I’d done XYZ. iTunes is definitely a complete saviour.. I need to download more of my own stuff I think to balance out all the wiggles and Playschool!

      Reply
  5. Elisha Ross
    April 11, 2014 at 9:27 pm (4 years ago)

    Its tricky but I love to leave the house and go for a walk with the two toddlers in tow. I get sunshine, exercise, I get to look in a few of my favourite shops and if the kids are in a good mood, we go and sit at one of the local cafes and I have a coffee and they share a milkshake. I love these days. As a gardening lover, I always get the kids on task so I can lose myself in weeding, dead heading, sowing seeds and just enjoying again being outside. Always the little things but its what you have to take as much me time as you can, when you can. Ive got another on the way so it’ll be 3 under 3 and Im squeezing it all in. I laughed at your words on bath time. So true so true so true. I hate when you bloody accidentally sit on the boat! Ouch!!

    Reply
    • Not Just A Mummy
      April 19, 2014 at 3:28 pm (4 years ago)

      He he boat in the bottom.. So painful! I swear we have more toys than water half the time! Seems getting outside is a common theme and it’s something I am totally into as well. I still remember my midwife telling me before leaving hospital that getting out into the sunshine was essential, no matter how crappy I felt or how hard it seemed. It really does completely shift your mindset! Love those mornings as well when you go for a wander into town, check out a shop or two then enjoy a coffee. Some of my fave days have that as the main component!

      Reply
  6. Jessica
    April 14, 2014 at 7:48 pm (4 years ago)

    I love this post Naomi!! I completely agree!! I too find outside time with the kids nourishes me, a bike ride along our local scrub, spotting kangaroos, swimming in the ocean or simply hanging out in the backyard. Miss 4 loves playing Doctors and hairdressers at the moment so I get to sit or lay and be stroked and have my hair brushed! Love it!

    Reply
    • Not Just A Mummy
      April 19, 2014 at 3:23 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks Jess! Mmmm that hair brushing sounds rather lovely.. Wonder if I can start to train Ollie now to d that?! You’re so right about getting outside as well.. I definitely find that I can be feeling really ‘tetchy’ and just on edge and sleeping outside totally recalibrates me!

      Reply
  7. Eva @ The Multitasking Mummy
    April 14, 2014 at 8:14 pm (4 years ago)

    I only just started it last week, but it was riding my bike with my son on the back in his toddler seat. It was lovely to get outdoors, get exercising and he enjoyed it too. Other than that, if he’s happy playing with his toys, I might get a few minutes to read a few pages of the magazine or sit and enjoy my coffee.

    Reply
    • Not Just A Mummy
      April 19, 2014 at 3:21 pm (4 years ago)

      I reckon sitting and enjoying a hot drink is one of life most underrated pleasures Eva! And one I only really understood after becoming a mum 🙂 love that you guys are going for bike rides together! I’m so keen to get a bike and bike seat after I have this baby!

      Reply
  8. EssentiallyJess
    April 14, 2014 at 9:16 pm (4 years ago)

    It’s hard isn’t it? Especially when alone time is so few and far between.
    I use TV as a baby-sitter for alone time, which sounds terrible but I don’t care. It’s not long, and it’s not constant, but morning tea in front of playschol gives me 20 minutes to do things just for me, and that kind of sanity makes everything run smoother.

    Reply
    • Not Just A Mummy
      April 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm (4 years ago)

      Playschool is an absolute gem! Ollie has just started appreciating it and I’ve gotta say that I much prefer him to watch that as he seems to actually get something from it.. Always dancing along or mimicking the actions being shown! I reckon you do what you need to do to keep the wheels turning. Telly, letting them hose the plants (and ahem all the washing that’s just been hung out), the really annoying toys that seem to hold attention spans for longer than 2 minutes, whatever it takes to give yourself a little break!

      Reply

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