Last night I didn't get home until 9:34pm. The house was quiet. The children and hubby all asleep. Even the dog had settled in for the night. I went into the living room, yawning as I kicked off my shoes. All I wanted to do was sleep.
But then I realized I could enjoy a rare hour of alone time. What to do? I had three options: 1. laptop and work 2. finish reading a book I’m really enjoying but haven’t picked up for a week or 3. add some rounds to my current crochet project. I’d been up since 5:30am and was exhausted. But this last dusky bit of the day was the only alone time I have had in three weeks. So I grabbed the book and a cup of tea and snuggled up on the sofa. (My husband found me there this morning, snoring and with the book on the floor beside me).
Me time is one of those great ideas we read about in parenting books but that somehow grows more elusive as the kids grow older. When my first daughter was an infant, I could snatch an hour or two here or there while she slept. After our second daughter came along, those random hours of freedom shrank to mere minutes. I spend almost all my free time taking the kids to the park, running errands or catching up on some half forgotten project. I try to wake up an hour earlier than the kids or stay up an hour later. But even that is not enough.
Me time (I’m not talking about those precious five minutes alone in the bathroom – if you can get them!) may seem like a selfish byproduct of the modern world. I don’t remember my mom ever having a spa day or taking a trip by herself anywhere! But the truth is we all need a break once in a while.
Spending a few hours at a salon or spa being pampered is great for relaxing and recharging. Having brunch with your closest friends or doing a bit of shopping can insert some much needed laughter and fun into an otherwise stressful and busy week.
But it’s also important to book in some real alone time – time when it’s just you and your thoughts. As Plato once said, "Thinking is the dialogue of the soul with itself."
Some moms find it very hard to ‘just do nothing’ so here are a few ideas that will satisfy our need to multitask but also give you some alone time to think.
1. Go for a walk or a work out. Go to the gym or walk along the Corniche but don’t bring friends. Ask yourself a question about your life, your goals or ambitions, you plans for the future and then try to answer it as you walk or work out. Yoga is also great for relaxing the body and mind.
2. Get a massage. One of the absolute best ways to tune out and relax, massages also allow your brain to drift. Daydream away an hour rather than chatting with the masseuse.
3. Go for a swim. Swimming is one of those activities that after a few laps becomes repetitive enough that your mind can wander.
4. Take up a hobby. Crochet, knit, sew, draw, paint, collect or cook. But book in a few times a week when its just you and the project you're working on. Keep a notebook of questions you want to consider while your hands are working on the project.
5. Leave the kids with dad and go to a coffee shop with just a notepad and a nice pen. Spend an hour drinking coffee and writing. Or find a lovely spot on the seaside or at a park and just meditate.
Don’t forget to make time for yourself. You will feel better and more relaxed and your kids will definitely benefit from a more relaxed and de-stressed mommy.
What do you do for ‘me time’ (if you have it at all)?