Exhausting, right? On top of all of this, today’s mom is harboring guilt – guilt about not getting enough done at work, guilt about not spending enough time with her children, guilt about not keeping the house spotless.
So, how can you find more time for yourself without feeling guilty? First, you have to accept the fact that nobody is perfect – including you. As parents, we all just have to do our best and part of being the best parent that we can be means taking time for ourselves to re-charge our batteries.
who: YOU! Put yourself at the top of your to-do list. The laundry might not all get done today, but that’s ok. Taking care of YOU is more important.
what: At a minimum, spend a half hour each day doing something that you enjoy. Go for a run and crank up your favorite tunes on your iPod. Find a sunny spot in the yard and flip through a stack of magazines. Or, make a cup of coffee and work on a Sudoku puzzle.
when: Whenever you can find a half hour. Perhaps it’s when the kids are all in school or when everyone is taking a nap.
If your children are home and don’t nap, implement a half hour of quiet time for everyone. In that case, your children should be playing quietly (together or alone) and are not to interrupt you except if there is an emergency.
where: If you have young children, you will most likely spend this time at home. Don’t be tempted to abandon your “me time” just because the dishwasher needs to be unloaded. That can wait for a half hour.
why: Doing something for yourself every day may sound selfish, but it’s quite the opposite. As busy moms, we are programmed to do for others before we do anything for ourselves. If we aren’t doing housework, taking care of the children or cooking meals, we feel guilty.
But, taking care of yourself allows you to be the best wife and mother that you can be. Failing to do something for you results in a buildup of stress and frustration. Over time that can negatively affect your mood, which ultimately affects everyone in your family. In order to take care of everyone, you need to take care of yourself.
Two years ago, I was so busy and so stressed because I never took time to do anything for myself. I finally realized that I needed to make some changes when I ended up with double pneumonia, thereby leaving me useless to my family.
how: First, stop making excuses. There is a half hour in everyone’s day that can be set aside for “mental health.” Ask yourself if the pressures you feel about maintaining a perfect house are self imposed. Most likely the only person who is setting such high standards is you.
Implementing quiet time is a healthy thing for everyone. Children today are so used to being entertained – either by caregivers or by electronics. It’s important for their development to have time to use their imaginations and learn how to self entertain. So, don’t feel guilty about sending them to their rooms for a half hour – it’s beneficial for everyone!