Why "me time"?
Becoming a mother didn't change who you are. While you are now responsible for tiny humans, you are still a woman, a thinker and so much more. It's key that you strike a balance between your mother-child time and your me-time so both thrive.
Moms need to take time for themselves, pure and simple. Remember what you used to love before kids? It's still OK to love those things now.
"Mom time" vs. "Me time"
"Mom time" starts when the kids wake up and continue until the last stray sock is tossed in the laundry basket at night. "Mom time" is what you have when you are carpooling and fixing lunches and curing boo-boos with a kiss. And that's wonderful.
But sometimes, you just need to be you. That's why taking a little "me time" away from the kids and responsibilities is so important too (not just to you either — to the kids too). And do call it "me time" — because it's about you.
"I have a strong philosophy that if Mom isn't happy then the children won't be happy. Take 10 minutes to meditate, get a quick 10-minute back massage at the local nail salon, look through a magazine, or even take 10 minutes to make a phone call to a friend, completely unrelated to work, just to say hi. This time will rejuvenate you and allow you a much needed break," says Lyss Stern, founder of Divalysscious Moms and author of If You Give a Mom a Martini, which was recently optioned to be a movie.
Besides the benefits for your psyche, it's also good for the kids to see you taking care of yourself. "They will mirror the behaviors of those around them so the best way to help them learn to go after their dreams is to do it yourself! Show them that it's OK to have interests and goals and to go after them," says Kristen Brown founder/president of Happy Hour Effect.
Getting time to yourself
Stern says that a little as 10 minutes can be enough to recharge your internal batteries. The key is to stay away from mothering duties and do something just for you.
"Sometimes I wake up an hour before my boys to go exercise."
"I always say being a mom is the hardest job in the world! We are constantly juggling a lot of balls at once trying not to let one drop. However, I truly believe that we have to find balance in our lives, which for most of us is very hard," says Stern. "Sometimes I wake up an hour before my boys to go exercise, or meditate. I make an effort with my husband to have a date night once a week to talk about other things in our lives besides the boys. Of course we discuss the boys on our date night, we also talk about work, our interests, other things that are going on."
If finding time and help is a challenge, don't be afraid to ask for assistance. "It's truly all about finding the balance that works for you. I always say ask for help, ask a neighbor, a friend, a family member, a babysitter — you need to find time for you," says Stern.
Don't feel guilty
Feeling guilty about wanting to take "me time"? Don't! We know it's important to maintain the mother-child bond, but it also makes you a better mom when you have that balance between your mothering duties and your personal wants.
"In today's world mommy and daddy guilt runs rampant. We feel guilty for working all week so [then we] feel bad finding babysitters for our kids so we can take me-time for ourselves," says Brown. "But taking me-time to pursue your dreams benefits kids because when they spend time with other caregivers, they are learning to forge new one-on-one relationships with others."
What do you do for "me time"? Do you take time for yourself to pursue the things you love?
More on me time
Ways for single moms to find some "me time"
How to sneak in a little me time
4 Ways to take some me time this summer