Me Time

Dear yayas,

What do you do for yourself? You know, as in when you have time just for you? (Do you even get any free time like that?) What do you do that makes you feel fulfilled and happy? I’m trying to find time for me, but it’s hard with three kids. They’re all old enough now that I feel like I’m finally able to take a bit of time here and there, but I’ve been so dedicated to raising them that I don’t even know what to do or what “me time” is supposed to look like. Any pointers and ideas would be greatly appreciated. 

– The “Me Time” Mama

Just relaxing with a cup of coffee and reading a good book while the kids are playing outside in the backyard was the best me time! – Grama Claire Bear

Dear Me Time Mama, I am currently there…kiddos are out of the house and I sit on the couch and think, “Now what should I do?!” I have about 100 thoughts swirling around…maybe lunch on my own, a hike with the dog might be nice, steam clean that stain on the carpet…and the list goes on and on. I realize when I am given time alone I become overwhelmed with feeling like I have to complete something from my to do list. My husband pointed out errands will always be there. I need to do something for myself, and I suggest the same to you. So, get away from any place or activity that falls under the “chore” category and try something that is purely for you. Maybe that something is a gym class, glass of wine with a friend or walk in the woods. You won’t find your current alone time activity until you set that time aside and just go. – Bernie

Dear The “Me Time” Mama, Me time as a mama is a tricky thing but is so very important. The easiest way for me to get me time is to wake up before my family. This may not be an option depending on when your family wakes up. But I find that starting my day giving back to myself is the best way for me to be present and giving to my family. I start the day sitting outside with cinnamon, chocolate coffee and my journal. I have also been able to carve out two hours on Sunday for myself. During this time I treat myself to a little at home spa day with my favorite rose scented mask. Other than that I try to be as vocal as I can with my husband when I feel like I need the house or time to myself. I realized that in the past I wasn’t vocalizing how important me time was and therefore my husband was not aware. If possible I would share your thoughts with your significant other, a family member or friend who could help you with making sure you get some time to yourself. – Nadia

I’ve found that figuring out my favorite “me time” activities has been a little bit of trial and error. I’ve tried things like pedicures, working out, staying home to tackle the to-do list, coffee with a friend, window shopping at the mall, and lots of others. There are times when some are more satisfying than others. And some that aren’t really my jam at this point in my life, (e.g. window shopping at the mall did not bring me joy like it used to). Right now, pedicures and time with friends are my current favorite. Pause and take a listen to your heart and see what you’re feeling like right now – and then go with that! – Diana

“Me Time Mama”, One of the challenges for me was that when I would have time for me I would be too overwhelmed in the “what to do” that I couldn’t do anything! I found that one of the most satisfying “me time” was actually in the same room with my daughter – me reading and her contently playing and then as she got older reading too. Or just stopping everything for a few moments and thinking of yourself, taking some deep breaths, doing something to care for yourself, And of course the luxury of taking baths (anytime you can fit it in—day or night)! My grandmother always told me that it was so important for me to take care of myself, not only for my self but for my daughter. – Taren

Hello “Me Time” Mama, I think “me time” looks a little different to all of us. For me, it looks like a bath once a month with my book club book and quiet for 45 minutes. If I got up earlier, it would look like hot coffee and quiet all by myself. But, at this phase in my life-I sleep when the kids do! “Me time” can look like whatever you need it to look like for you right now. It may look like a cup of tea or wine after bed; it may look like a girls night with your friends; it may look like a massage or pedicure; or it may simply look like 10 minutes of journaling about what you love. Try some of these ideas, or others you might think of and keep what fits! – Cortney

Dear “Me Time Mama,” There are days I get a moment to myself and wonder, “now what!?!” I feel like society has set this weird expectation for moms to just go-go-go 24/7, that we have to be “productive” every second of every day. (For me, part of that 24/7 is true since I have small kids and someone literally needs me all the time). It’s so ingrained in us that when we get a moment to ourselves we have to spend half the time convincing ourselves that it’s okay to be taking some time for us. But when the kids are safe in someone else’s care, it is absolutely okay to take some time for yourself to recharge—you cannot pour from an empty cup. If childcare isn’t an option, something like waking up early to have that first cup of coffee or tea by yourself and read for pleasure can be life changing. Stress deeply effects us and we must actively take time to combat it. “Me time” is a great solution for that! I chose to start waking up at 5am every day to have the first two hours to myself to work and have coffee in peace. It has changed my life. I feel like a whole new person when I go to bed early and wake up early in peace. When I’m honest with myself about what I love, I’m happiest when I get time to write, journal, create, read, and drink coffee. I felt pressure to like things like yoga, but honestly, I don’t really like it, even if all theses images tell me I “should.” I prefer to use my mind during my down time for something (anything!) other than to-do lists and parenting. Give yourself permission to do what you love when you get that me time and know that taking care of you is absolutely productive. “Me time” takes practice. I highly recommend you carve out some time for you each day and just go with the flow, allow yourself time to figure out what fills you up. – Lori Beth

Hello Me Time! It’s so funny you ask this question, because I was literally just emailing my 60-something year old cousin on my birthday saying, “I woke up this morning thinking I have no clue what I want to do for my birthday, I don’t know what I like to do.” My cousin’s response was, “I remember when I had small kids and someone asked me what I liked to do. Honestly, I no longer had any idea. I had been too busy taking care of everyone else that I lost sight of me and what I liked.” So, on my birthday, since my husband was at work and my mom was over helping take care of my kids, and my mother-in-law was making me dinner, I decided to make more than 5 lbs of homemade pierogi and then freeze most of them. My dad who died more than 20 years ago was Polish and used to make homemade pierogi. He also had a garden and loved to cook. So for me, I enjoy gardening and cooking. And traveling, but it’s not exactly practical to hop on a plane for “me time.” However I do often use my me time to excessively plan trips and read travel forums. As far as pampering time, which I actually consider different personally than just “time where I can do what I want and not worry about caring for my kids,” I like painting my toenails myself or getting a pedicure, and try to set up breakfast or lunch dates with a friend every so often. Also, I’m not getting up an hour early to do anything unless it is on vacation and I’m seeing something absolutely amazing or binge riding rides at Disney. My “me time” also involves sleeping in. Everyone is different. So maybe think of what YOU want to be doing at any given moment you have free time and just do it every once in awhile! – Lorelei

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