As moms, we work so hard to make everyone happy and to make life go smoothly. We often do the shopping, the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking, and the driving everyone from here to there and back again. We wipe noses, bottoms, and tears. When we go to bed, we’re so tired that we can’t sleep because all we can think about is everything we have to do the next day. We plan parties, playdates, real dates and holiday celebrations. But sometimes we forget to organize time for ourselves.
Self care, very simply put, is taking care of your emotional and physical needs. My daughter once asked me how our local pharmacy employees have time to sleep when the store is open 24/7. I explained that the employees work in shifts because no one could possibly work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Except that sometimes being a mom feels like that. Parenting is a round-the-clock job. We’re always on-call. Without taking time for ourselves, eventually our energy runs out, and we start to suffer.
Making time for yourself often feels like the last item on the priority list, but it shouldn’t be. Just like spending time with your spouse or significant other, having time for yourself is not bad or wrong or selfish. It’s necessary to recharge our batteries. I love my family more than anything, but I need time on my own occasionally, and that doesn’t make me a bad wife or a bad mom. Self care can be as simple as reading a book or as elaborate as a weekend away from home. Here are some of the ways that I take care of my own needs.
Time With Friends
Whether it’s meeting for breakfast on a Saturday or dessert on a weeknight, I try to meet up with my girlfriends on a fairly regular basis. I crave that time where I can laugh and talk with friends. It’s important to have times of undistracted conversation, especially if you’re at home with kids full-time. Yes, a playdate for the kids can be a fun time to chat with another mom, but we all know there’s no such thing as a distraction-free conversation when the kids are around.
Bible Study and Book club
I meet with a group of women every other week for Bible study and once a month for a book club, and both are so renewing. We have good conversation and I learn so much. I’ve developed some good friendships too. If you aren’t interested in a faith-based group, a book club, a cooking class or a yoga class are all great options. The idea is simply a regularly-scheduled purposeful group.
For those of us with an introverted side, time spent alone is essential. As much as I love to be with my friends and family, I also need time on my own to fully recharge. Sometimes I’ll go to the bookstore and browse the shelves. Occasionally I go to a movie alone. I spend a lot of time around other people and sometimes I just need a break from interacting with others.
Each year my three closest girlfriends and I make it a point to have a weekend away together. The kids stay at home with their dads, and we have a weekend of undistracted conversation and fun. We try to make it a pretty inexpensive trip and just enjoy a lot of “chick chat,” as my husband would say. Having a few days off from all my responsibilities as a wife and mom helps me recharge and regroup. I come back rested, happier and more than ready to be back at home with my family.
I’m very fortunate to have a husband who makes it possible for me to spend time with my girlfriends or on my own to refuel my tank. I make sure that he gets his time with the guys too. We spend plenty of time as a family and as a couple, but we both understand the importance of being off-duty. If you don’t have a partner that can give you these breaks, consider asking a family member, hiring a sitter, or trading off with another mom. Just don’t neglect yourself because you think it’s not important!
How do you make time for yourself??
*This post was originally published here.