Self care, mommy time, me time. Those are all buzz words these days. We, as moms (and women) need to take better care of ourselves. Many times it’s true. We don’t care for ourselves. We tend to lose our identity into that of a role but a role is not all of who we are. So, what do we do?
The answer is multi-faceted and one issue is that we want to believe it has to be a big action. We think, “I need to take a trip for myself” or, “I need a nanny”. Things that are hard to do, whether due to time, funds or both. I look at it like this.
Stop the Madness! It’s a New Day.
Just over a year ago I had an epiphany. About a year prior to that, I wanted to see the movie Miracles From Heaven starring Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah. I told my son that we were going to the movies, to which he got super excited. Then he asked what we were going to see so I told him. He started to pout and act like a butt. I was shocked. I had to take a step back because I was perplexed. My thoughts sounded like this: Hold up! Don’t I take you to every movie you want to see? Movies I don’t want to see at all but you want to see them so I gladly go. Now there’s one movie I want to see and you’re actin all stank!? Whoosaaa Needless to say, we went to the movie and I enjoyed it. Believe it or not, so did he.
I can give many examples in my life to illustrate this same point but what it shows is that I stopped compromising and giving everything to my son’s needs. This was my epiphany. I didn’t lose myself, I calculatedly ditched myself. My son had the expectation that any movie we saw together would be movies he wanted to see. He assumed (due to my actions) that when we got in the car, we’d automatically listen to what he wanted to listen to. It wasn’t that I just wasn’t taking care of myself in big ways but in daily small tiny ways that, honestly, made me, me. I love listening to music on car rides and I hadn’t done it in YEARS!
Start Small, Stay Consistent
It’s so easy to fall into this trap but we gotta stop the madness. This is where it ends. When I say start small and stay consistent I mean little things. Using my story above…now my son and I compromise. It doesn’t always play out evenly but we listen to what I want on the ride to where ever and we listen to what he wants on the ride back. Sometimes he’ll ask to listen to something while I’m listening to something I’ve chosen and I tell him he can after I’m finished. I’ve put myself back into the equation with the small things.
What are your equivalents of my radio and movie choices? Figure them out and make small changes that can be taken daily.
Time For the Next Step
Yup, the next step. Remember when your kid was little and you hid in the bathroom just to have a minute to yourself? What? You didn’t do that?? Yes, you did! Don’t lie. lol Anyway, stop hiding in the bathroom. Make it known. Mom gets time too. Mom deserves time too. Don’t disappear on me, this isn’t where I tell you to go start spending a ton of money. In fact, I will tell you that too, because I’m upfront about things, but that’s not all I’m saying.
There are so many ways to do this. I sat down with my son and explained, “The hours of 1-3 are my time. You can spend it reading, writing, learning something new, playing a one player tactile game…anything without a screen. I’m going to spend it doing things for me. Please do not interrupt.” Yes, my son is older and this isn’t so clear for younger kids but when my son was young I was a bedtime monster because that was my time. Bed times never wavered unless we were out…and even then, in his earlier years, we left wherever we were. That was the time I was taking for myself. Period.
You Do Know What To Do!
Let me tell you. I hear so many people say they don’t know what they’d do with that time or they’d just run errands with it. No! This is time for YOU! Do you boo!
- If you don’t know what to do with the time, this is the perfect opportunity to rediscover what you like. Who are you? What makes you tick?
- If you want to run errands…run, instead, to a park or to the bookstore or to a (fun) class.
- Honestly, you don’t always have to “do” something. If this time is quiet time for reflecting and you fall asleep on your sun porch, it is time well spent.
Spend Money On Yourself
I said it. I did. Why is it so easy to spend money on everyone else but not on ourselves? Have you ever stopped to think about that? It’s crazy. So yes, that little outfit you’re about to buy Ricky (even though he does have clothes he can wear), don’t buy it. Go get a pedicure. The snack packs you buy while grocery shopping that you really don’t like your kid eating but you know she loves them. Stop! Save that money up and get a monthly massage. If we’re really going to go crazy with this…that 4th activity you’re thinking of signing your kid up for this fall. Shut it down and take a weekend trip for yourself.
Let’s Get Real
I’m not being condescending. I’ve had to stop and do all of this myself. I’m a single mom whose had to juggle bills and figure things out at various stages in my life. Everything I’m telling you are things I’ve done. They’re questions I had to ask myself. I didn’t always like the answers I got back and I had to reflect on them. I had to wonder why I was drained and spent, constantly, but my son was happy as a clam. What’s up with this? Not that I want him unhappy but we should both be happy. I was putting him before me in every way and that’s just out of order. Order needed to be restored.
I Made a “Crazy” Move!
I have to tell you. As a result of all I’ve said above, I’ve been making changes over the last year and earlier this summer I did the “craziest” thing yet. I booked a last minute trip to see Hamilton in Chicago. I didn’t have childcare worked out first. I just decided I was doing it and the rest would fall into place.
Let me tell you. It was the most liberating, amazing experience. So much so that I will be making “me” trips a priority going forward. It was such a necessary trip, in so many ways. What’s the thing that you keep saying you can never do but so need to do…just for you? I’m so eager to know!