I often get asked how I find time for myself. ‘Me time’ is a topic that comes up often amongst parents, and in my experience it is usually mums that struggle to find time for themselves. At times, I have definitely found it difficult to switch off from parenting mode, shut out the noise of family life and focus on myself – recharge my batteries, enjoy my interests, relax and do very little. Sitting down and doing next to nothing can do wonders for the soul. It is essential, and it took me a really long time to realise it was worth every minute.
I really need time to myself. I need space. Especially head space. I’m not an over thinker, but I am a thinker. I need time to evaluate, take stock, have a reality check and just be. Driving can be a good time to do this (as long as you’re not passing raisins behind you every two minutes). Since becoming a parent, I don’t feel like I’ve lost my identity. I don’t feel insecure about who I am. Being a mum is part of who I am, but there are so many other parts of me, and I really feel that it is important to nurture those. I’ve always felt like that, and Jared has always really encouraged me when I’ve needed it.
For me, the absolute key to getting some ‘me time’ is getting my children to sleep through the night. Sleep is the key to everything in our home. It’s the key to Jared and I getting to spend time together, the key to being able to ask people to babysit and confidently walking out of the door, the key to being able to watch the film I’ve had my eye on, the key to catching up with life, the key for them being able to sleep at a grandparent’s house, the key to feeling well rested and the key to getting some precious ‘me time’. Those that haven’t had enough sleep in our home are immediately obvious within minutes of waking…including Jared and I, and it ain’t pretty.
After the birth of a new baby sleep becomes broken and unpredictable. Young babies are awake in the evening, they’re confused and lack routine – it’s lovely, it’s magical and manageable, but then there comes a time when it’s not manageable, and I crave routine. Not a strict one, I hasten to add, but a definite one. Win has always been my best sleeper. He slept through from 7pm-7am at 7 months, Ru was 9 months and O was 11 months (clearly I’m getting softer). Getting my boys to sleep through has always been a top priority for Jared and I as parents. We need time together, time apart and time doing our own thing – precious ‘me time’.
If our boys aren’t in bed by 7.15pm, or asleep by 7.30pm, then something is usually wrong or we’re away from home. It may sound boring, and dull, but I feel like routine gives me focus, and keeps our family life balanced.
What are your top tips for getting some ‘me time’ as a parent? and how do you choose to spend it?