As a mum, how many times have you thought "Iíll do that later. Iíll do that when the kids are asleep. Iíll do that next week or next month, or even maybe next year"?
The task getting postponed could be a simple daily pleasure like reading a book by yourself or something big, like going on a night out.
Mothers tend to feel guilty when it comes to wishing for some time-off and having fun without involving their kids. The excuses as to why you are needed by the family at that exact time are usually validated by the mum in you saying ďyou are doing the right thingĒ. But then, what about you as a person?
Putting yourself first is important too. Taking care of your mental, emotional and physical health will nourish, fulfil and satisfy you and have you bouncing back with all the vigour and zest.
It is important to consciously put yourself first, especially as a mum, when your first instinct is always to think about your children. Your well-being is paramount because that is what makes you capable to ensure the well-being of others you care for.
Here are some ways in which you could put yourself first:
Have some time away from the kids. If you still havenít tried it, you should. For those who have and are struggling to make time, you might want to schedule something periodically. With that, everybody involved would know that your ďme-timeĒ is coming up and would be ready for it.
Iíll enjoy one hot coffee every evening, all by myself.
Iíll go for a long walk, every Sunday, all by myself.
Iíll spend a whole day, once a month, all by myself.
If that is asking for too much of your time, you could do something ad hoc when you see that you are burning out. In this case, ask for help. Asking for help doesnít make you any less of a mother.
Your partner could be the go-to person for the kids while you do your thing.If you have family or friends who are willing to help, ask if they could watch the kids for an hour or two. If you can afford a babysitter, I say use that money.
Being with yourself gives you time to think about things you donít usually think. You get a bit of respite from having to be on all the time. Even though you cannot completely switch off the mum in you, you can pause and think about YOU as a person.
We all need things to make us whole as a person. Kids are jus6 one of those things. Use this time to think about the rest. What satisfies you and makes you happy and fulfilled as a person? Think of your emotional and mental health, your career, and your life outside home.
Taking care of yourself
Food and exercise are very important to keep you going. Make it a point to eat as healthy and nutritious as possible. It is very easy to fall prey to a routine of skipped meals and junk food, in the rush to keep up with the kidsí timetables. But what goes in shows up, both on your body and in the way you handle meltdowns. Having a meal plan before grocery shopping might stop you from reaching for the instant noodles.
If you are someone who is on your toes pretty much all the time, especially with a toddler, then physical exhaustion is your life. Squeezing in a little bit of exercise would still be a good idea. Even though you are physically active, mundane day to day activities tend to drain our energy. Exercises on the other hand release endorphin, which makes you feel good and brings positivity into your life. Even just a brisk walk in your neighbourhood might make you feel good.
Having hobbies that make you happy serves the purpose of rejuvenating your mind and helps in getting your mind out of the rut. If you have discontinued your hobbies without even noticing, it would be a good idea to bring them back to life. You could also try starting something new that interests you. It is all about giving time to things that you want to do, just for yourself.
Pamper and relax
Donít wait until Motherís Day to pamper yourself. You deserve to be pampered, if not by others, then by yourself. Take a break. Go for a mani-pedi or massage. Get a new haircut when you need a change. Try meditation to relax and slow your mind down. Watch a movie at the Cinema.
If you think you are being stretched thin, talk to your partner or the person closest to you. Discuss, especially with your partner, on how you can change your routine as a family to make time for ďyouĒ. Always remember that YOU are important.
My son was a very fussy baby. He only settled when he was being held, he didnít nap for very long during the day, he was very uncomfortable after a feed (more so in the evening) and he never slept through the night.