Being a mum is the most rewarding job in the world but it’s probably one of the most challenging, especially alongside a regular job! Mums are working longer hours than we ever have before, but it’s key to remember who we are above and beyond being a parent and to find that 20 minutes of ‘me time’ amidst the mayhem.
Here are a few tips…
The next time the kids go down (and stay down) for a nap, or are out with friends or playing in their rooms, forget loading the dishwasher, huge piles of dirty washing and clearing up … just for 20 minutes. Stick the kettle on, make a cup of tea (or any other hot drink) and sit down. And drink it. Slowly. Savour it, enjoy it while it’s hot and if you can find a biscuit to dunk, even better. Just 20 minutes of ‘me time’ is enough to make a real difference.
You’ll need a helpful partner/husband/grandparent for this one… get them to get up with the kids one Saturday morning while you have lie in. Set a time when you’re allowed to come downstairs and resume normal family activities. Up to that time you can use it how you like, to sleep late or take a long shower; anything you like except go downstairs! Everyone needs sleep and this ‘me time’ will leave you ready to take on the rest of the day.
It’s much easier to switch off when you’re going solo. So ask your husband/mum/dad/friend to watch the kids for a while so you can do something without them. This might just be walking the dog one evening, a long hot bath or a stint in the gym or even the weekly food shop. It can be useful to collect your thoughts - just use it as time to yourself.
When most of your time is spent in the company of children, however old, it's easy to crave adult conversation but not so easy to get it. If you can make it out on an evening or weekend once in a while - without children - just a coffee with a friend is enough to remind mums with younger children that you have a larger vocabulary than "no", "get down" and "do you want a drinkie/biscuit/snoozy?" and allows mums of older children to forget the day-to-day responsibilities of counsellor, teacher, taxi driver and mediator. It's reassuring to know your friends are often in the same boat!
This is personal to you. Everyone has a little guilty pleasure, whether it’s reading a book, painting your nails or going out with friends. These small pleasures are easy to leave out when you have a million things to think and worry about at once, but it’s important every now and then to spoil yourself.
Things won’t always go to plan, but try and grab ‘me time’ as often as you can; it’ll help recharge the batteries and keep you on the right track to a healthier lifestyle.