It's the most rewarding job you could be doing, but also undeniably one of the most exhausting. With recent research revealing that the average mom gets just seventeen minutes of ‘me time’ a day, it's easy to see why most mothers are running on empty. Despite living in supposedly equal times, the lions share of physical, mental and emotional labour for our kids still lies on the mother’s shoulders, and with more people than ever choosing to combine motherhood with a career, and often living away from the support structure of an extended family, it's a recipe for burnout. Slowly, we are learning to accept that self-care isn’t selfish - and that we it’s simply impossible to be constantly pouring from our cups without taking time to refill them. Despite all this, me time is still something that you will have to make an effort to have happen. We are the most effective custodians of our own needs, and standing up for them makes us better able to take on all the caring responsibilities that we have in our lives. All well and good - but how do you actually make this mythical me time happen?
Ask For Support
We pride ourselves on being supermoms, but sometimes that means that we don’t ask for enough support. It's not weak or failing in any way to ask for help sometimes - one person might be able to do it all, but not for long, and not without a spectacular burnout. Quite often there are people around us who would love to support more - if only we’d let them. Your communication skills come into play here. Don’t expect your partner, your parents or anyone else in your life to be a mind reader - you may well look as if you’re coping fine to them. Be open about needing some time for yourself and propose a specific solution - asking if grandparents will take them out for a day, or suggesting that Dad has a fun afternoon with them.
Schedule It In
It sounds silly, but anything that we treat as a proper commitment, we’re likely to honor as such - and that includes carving out time for ourselves. Put it in the diary, mama! Right alongside the kids sports, and the dentist appointments and the work meetings. Use a scheduling app to keep everything flowing and everyone informed of who is supposed to be where and when. Psychologically speaking, having it written down creates more of a commitment in your mind, so you’re more likely to actually take that time to do whatever you like - learn something new, finally do that Yoga workout you’ve been putting off, visit that new Restaurant, or even just sit down with a latte and a good book.
Try A Power Hour
Feeling like your day is already overflowing? Sometimes the answer lies in setting the alarm an hour earlier. Carving out this time before the rest of the house is awake can be intensely restorative for your soul. Of course, you should never do this at the expense of getting enough sleep, so you’ll also need to make sure that you’re going to bed on time, and practicing good sleep hygiene.