Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Me" time

"Every Mom needs some 'Me' time"

Ever read an article on this topic?  Maybe heard a speaker?  I have on both counts.  Unfortunately, most of the time when this subject matter is discussed, I come away with a bad taste in my mouth.  Not that I don't think that every mother has individual needs, that is not it at all.  No, it is more the way that being a mother is portrayed as being a tedious and negative experience.  It bothers me when the raising of children is referenced as an inconvenience rather than what it is: a challenging yet fulfilling job with vast benefits.  While it may be true that mothers need a few moments to themselves, we can encourage this without dragging the name of parenting through the mud.

Raising kids is hard.  There are good days and there are some very dark days.  They can be noisy, messy, cranky, obnoxious, difficult and disobedient.  They cannot be expected to be little adults - they haven't been here that long!  They are still learning so much about the world.  Furthermore, children are blessings.  They should be viewed in that light, not as little terrors.  Being a mom is a big job - and with any big job, it is easy to get burned out.  But what is really gained by telling a mother how awful her life is and how she really "should get out more often."  Gee, helpful!  Most of the articles I've read on the topic encourage moms to go out to lunch with friends, get a manicure, take a weekend retreat with their husbands.   I don't know about you, but in the rare event that I scrounge up the funds to do something for myself, plus the cost of childcare, I return to a bigger job than I left behind.  Coming home to a mountain of laundry, clingy kids who feel left behind and a house that the babysitter failed to keep picked up isn't on my list of rejuvenating experiences.

Wouldn't it be nice if, instead of being encouraged to ditch our kids and look elsewhere for renewal, that we were encouraged to look for ways to relax in our own homes with our own children?  It would certainly be more economical, and possibly happen more often!

You can approach every day as a nightmare, constantly looking forward to a (mythical?) moment where the stars align, you are alone and relaxed.  Or you can look for those moments without putting life on hold.  Here are some things that help me relax:

1). Exercise.  Exercise gives me extra energy for life that I simply do not have if I neglect this area.  If you cannot bring yourself to get up in the morning before your spouse leaves and get this done, don't fret (or write it off).   Pack up the kids in the wagon or stroller, throw the bigs on bikes, and take a walk.

2) Get out of the house.  An alarming amount of people are Vitamin D deficient.  Sure you could remedy this by popping a vitamin, but why not get yourself and the kids outside and bask in some sunshine?  Get out in nature for at least 15 minutes a day.  Work in the garden while your kids play in the sprinkler.  Eat a picnic, read books on a quilt, take a nap with the baby!  Besides all that lovely fresh air,  the kids are outside and therefore not making a huge mess out of your house.  Bonus!

3)Implement rest time for everyone, regardless of age.  In our family it is quiet time in the afternoon.  The big kids can look at a book or maybe watch a movie.  I don't let myself do chores during rest time.  I try to read, do a devotional or catch up on some crafts.  It may only last 30 minutes, but it gives me the extra boost I need to make it through til bedtime.

4) Make a list of the things that you like to do to relax.  This will be different for everyone.  Each individual mom has her own needs, and you need to be able to identify those to better your chances of accomplishing them.  Instead of collapsing on the couch in front of the TV when the kids finally get to sleep, take a bath or paint your the things you can't when they are awake.  Be intentional about the alone time you DO have and you won't feel cheated in the morning.

5) Get plenty of rest.  For me this is vital.  I simply cannot be an effective mother on 4 hours of sleep.  I need more.  On my husband's current schedule, we usually do not get up until 8 or 830 around here.  If I get up to run, I get up earlier but then I also go to bed earlier.

If you have any other tips, please leave them in the comment section!  Thanks and happy mothering!


  1. Have hubby watch the baby escape to another room and do a work out dvd!!

  2. i couldn't agree more! once i started looking for "me time" that included my family i found myself feeling a lot less unhappy. I made friends with my children and incorporated them into my daily world instead of treated them like a 9-5 job with way too much overtime.

    there are still hard days where I think "ok I need alone time for real right now!" and i find a way to get it. but doesn't every human being feel like that from time to time? even children?

    our happiness as mothers greatly depends on how we view motherhood. and how we view motherhood greatly depends on what type of counsel we receive about it. it is good to protect our ears and hearts from thankless selfish mother's words and gripes b/c it is contagious! misery loves company.

  3. Great post Lyd! I completely agree! We are trying to incorporate the kids into every area of our lives, so that they feel secure and really loved. Not like they are unwanted or a burden. Neither of us go out alone normally, but have 1 tag along. It makes them get their one on one time, and we are accomplishing an errand at the same time. When they are away from the pack, they come back refreshed...kinda like getting their 'alone time'. We will have plenty of alone time faster then we know it, and we will wish we still had kids pulling at our apron strings! I had a very encouraging friend that was a mother to 7 kids and she always made motherhood look so graceful and blessed! Which is what I strive for...but I am a work in progress;)

  4. I totally agree!!!! we moms should really have ME TIME once in a while. I love taking care of my family but sometimes i wish i have a lot of time to take care of my self as well.

  5. Thanks for this great post! This is a quote I've always loved by Gordon B. Hinckley (He was the 15th President of the LDS church):

    I hope that you mothers will realize that when all is said and done, you have no more compelling responsibility, nor any laden with greater rewards, than the nurture you give your children in an environment of security, peace, companionship, love, and motivation to grow and do well.”

  6. You've articulated this perfectly.

    We work so much as a family with our business that when we all put it down and focus on each other, it automatically feels special.

    We have friends with a family business as well and we help them one night a week and they return the favor. It's so nice to spend time with others while still being productive. We get out of the house, chat with friends and the kids get a chance to play.


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