In parenting magazines and blogs you will often find references to the difficulty of finding ‘me time’ once you are a mum and how guilty mothers feel for taking any time for themselves. It’s like a competition with mothers competing to tell each other how many cups of tea they haven’t drunk or how many days since they’ve had a shower. Motherhood is the hardest job in the world and if you take a break or go to the toilet with the door shut, then you’re cheating.
Well today I am calling for this to come to an end. Yes, being a mum is hard work (I am generalising but statistically speaking dads still get more leisure time than mums, although of course there will be exceptions). Some days you will be simultaneously bored out of your mind and rushed of your feet. There will be days when you don’t have time to brush your teeth. And obviously you can’t spend all weekend in your PJs eating takeaway pizza and watching box sets. But mums are human beings too, you have needs, it is not a crime to look after yourself.
Make sure you take time every day to look after yourself. If you don’t take good care of yourself, how can you take care of your family? I have a 3 year old and a 3 month old and I manage to shower pretty much every day. We also have a cleaner for a couple of hours a week so that I get a chance to sit down in the evenings (to be honest, if we didn’t have a cleaner, I would still sit down in the evenings and just have a dirty house). I read, I blog (occasionally), I take 5 minutes to just drink a cup of tea and do nothing. I think of it like the oxygen masks on a plane: you have to put your own on before you can put your children’s masks on.
If all you focus on is parenting you will run yourself into the ground and be tired and irritable, and no good to anybody least of all your children. You need to make sure you fill up your own cup with things that make you feel good, whether that’s a cup of tea and a trashy novel, some yoga stretches, going to the gym or soaking in a bubble bath. It’s also modelling to your children healthy habits for their future mental health – relaxation is important and often gets overlooked in our hectic lifestyles.