I’m hoping you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day or helped a special mama in your life celebrate. One day per year doesn’t seem quite enough for the love, support, and all-around giving mothers do. I’ve decided to dedicate this blog post to strategies for setting time aside for yourself, as it can be challenging…
“Put your oxygen mask on before assisting others.”
You’ve heard this directive on an airplane, right? Ever wonder why? If we’re not “okay,” we are of no benefit to anyone else. Here are my tips for establishing “you time.”
- Keep “free time” free. The kids are in school. You’ve got the day off. There are four free hours, a sink full of dishes, laundry to be done, and errands to be run. What do you do? At least once a week, take a “personal day” and use that time for yourself. Read a book. Go to the gym. Engage in a relaxing activity to rejuvenate yourself for the challenges to come.
- Ask for help. Most (or all) of us like to do things ourselves. We’ve got the to do list running, an infant to attend to, and suddenly realize we’ve got to be in three places at once! Reach out to your partner, a friend, or family member for support. Set up a carpool schedule or take turns grocery shopping. You know Barbara’s quote, “It takes a village…”
- Take a vacation. We know that in the first few years of your child’s life his or her brain and emotional compass are developing. You want to be present as much as possible, which is great! Give yourself a few days here and there to focus on you. Arrange for a grandparent, aunt, or another trusted caregiver to stay at your home or take your little one(s) to their’s for a day or two. Veg out at home, take a day trip with your partner, or hop a plane to the nearest sunny beach. You’ll come back refreshed and re-energized.
- Designate “Mommy time” daily. It may be a seven-minute shower or catching up on the latest episode of your favorite television show, but having that daily routine gives you something to look forward to and a set recharge time. Ask Daddy to take over baby duty after he settles in from work and take a 20-minute power nap. Go for a jog. Write a journal entry. Whatever helps you to clear your head and relax.
These tips may seem simple; however, at times we need a gentle reminder of the importance of caring for ourselves. Print this post and hang it up somewhere you will notice it. Ask yourself, “have I taken ‘me time’ today?” This week? This month? If the answer is no, start thinking about how you can work it into your schedule. If the answer is yes, kudos to you! Take note of the increase in patience, peace, and contentment you experience when you prioritize your needs as well as those of your child(ren) and partner.
Put your mask on first. Your kids will thank you for it.
What do you do to keep yourself balanced, motivated, and mindful?