“Me time” gets a bad rap. No matter how much we need it, no matter how many times our husbands might push us out the door with a confident smile, there’s just no getting around the feelings of guilt and selfishness that come with taking some time to be alone. Or is there?
The truth is, when it comes to motherhood, we’re all workaholics.
Being a mom demands passion, focus and selflessness at excruciating levels. The intensity of caring for another little human requires enough energy to make Olympic athletes cringe. Simply put, you are putting yourself at risk when you don’t give yourself a break. Maybe you won’t physically injure yourself or others (though one can argue the health dangers of folding too many baskets of laundry in one sitting), but the emotional toll can be equally damaging.
More: 5 very real lessons motherhood taught me this year
Bitterness, resentment, loneliness, pride and even anger can all creep up on us. There are some days I find myself counting the minutes until my husband gets home or searching the contact list on my phone just to find someone to reach out to. These are the moments I realize I need to step back for a minute and take inventory of my own needs and desires.
As mothers, we have a lot on our plates. I don’t know any one of us who isn’t overwhelmingly busy. But if we are honest with ourselves, we’re not doing anyone any favors by sticking around after our frustration meter has hit the red zone. Even if we keep our cool, the fatigue of constant compassion for others gradually becomes more burden than beauty if we don’t take the time to recharge.
When I think about what kind of parents I want my children to become, I don’t envision them running themselves ragged or exhaustively tackling the complexities of childrearing without a supportive community. On the contrary! Therefore, one of the best things I can do for my children now is to show them how to care for themselves appropriately, set limits, multitask responsibly and sustain interests and passions beyond the obligations surrounding them. If that’s not reason enough to go out, I don’t know what is.
It’s time to check your guilt at the door and set aside some me time with a whole new perspective. Instead of feeling selfish as you book a massage or cringe with doubt and fear as you leave your children in the care of someone else, rest assured that you’re providing healthy insight for your children to witness the power of independence, confidence, security and trust in their mother. Taking a break away from parenting might just be one of the most important lessons you teach your child that day!