"Taking care of yourself doesn't mean me first, It means me too."
I was asked a question last week which left me speechless (for once!) - "What do you do when you get time to yourself?" The fact that I had to sit and really think about it baffled me. How could I not have an answer to such a simple question?? I came to the conclusion that this is not OK.
It is easy and natural to get lost in the time warp that is being a parent- from the moment we get those two positive lines, it all changes. As mothers, and fathers, we are so happy to take the back seat - with every action, every decision and every thought being about our little humans. As much as I adore spending time with my two giggling drama queens, it made me a little disappointed in myself that I could not answer that simple question. My head was saying "I don't have time," "what would that accomplish?" but my heart was saying "stop making excuses!" The reason I could not give an answer, I concluded, was because I obviously did not prioritise myself or feel it was worth while - why do we feel that taking time out for ourselves is a waste of time? If I find myself alone for an hour, I go straight to the laundry basket - it is like I am afraid to just be with - me.
Watching my four year old daughter, she loves her own company. She is completely engrossed in her own mumble jumble and internal monologue. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that 'me time' doesn't have to be a spa day (although that would be amazing!), it could be just setting your alarm a little earlier to enjoy that first cuppa of the day in pre-cavalry silence, scrolling through Instagram!! Taking care of yourself doesn't mean me first, it means me too. In order to start somewhere, I began to mentally take note of the things that make me happy. I am talking about the minuscule and silly little things that, for some reason, make me recentre and feel good. Since compiling this unspoken bank of go-to's, I have even felt better just knowing what they are. I feel like I am starting to remember parts of me that I forgot for a while. Who knows - maybe by finding the small answers to that question, I will begin to find the bigger answers to the others. I urge you to do the same, even if it is just once in the week to start off - let's make that question one we can all answer.
1. Give yourself permission to take the time out - push out the mindful guilt. Remember - this is a challenge.
2. Set your alarm a little earlier and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee on your own.
3. Decide on your Me-Too activity that day
4. Be realistic - choose a time that you will not be in demand