It seems to me the more children I have the more I love my “me time”. I think it might have something to do with the seemingly increasing difficulty in getting it, so when it happens, hallelujah! I’ve written previously about the importance of self-care not only for our mental (and physical) health but to enable us, as parents, to have enough “in the tank” to parent well. I know I suffer from parenting fatigue if I don’t do something for my “self” on a regular basis. I feel easily irritated by and grumpy with the kids and the thought of vacuuming crumbs off the floor for the 5th time before it’s even 9.00am makes me want be anywhere else but home.
Fortunately, I am quite good at saying I need time out (it didn’t always used to be this way) and Eugene is super understanding about it.
A couple of nights ago, I wrote up a list of all the things I do for me. In order to make it onto the list, it had to be something I loved doing, not just liked or thought was okay. I had to be excited about it and look forward to it (if it was something planned for the future). I was curious whether my list would be extensive or short and whether there was a good mix of activities home and outside the home.
Well, I’m happy to say I ended up with quite a long list! Some of it is seemingly mundane, but seriously, sometimes after a day with my three, I cannot WAIT to veg out in front of the television to watch a taped episode of Law & Order: SVU. Anyway, I had to whittle down my list (you would think me the most boring person on Earth if I was to reproduce the entire list). Here’s my top 10 “me time” indulgences:
1. I love shopping (I don’t mean groceries, by the way).
Most of mine is done online these days (a lot of stuff I shop for is interstate or overseas, e.g. Etsy) but I do love to wander and browse my local shops when I can get an afternoon to myself. I can honestly say I have never taken all three kids with me on a shopping trip. If our school drop offs and pick ups are anything to go by…
2. Coffee or catch up with a friend.
As a family, we regularly catch up with our close friends and their families, and it’s great fun, but sometimes it’s just a treat to have a real and meaningful conversation without having to keep an eye on the little ones.
Okay, so this is really just an excuse to immerse myself in my passion for stationery. For me, planning covers a lot of things including journalling, dreaming and goal setting, coming up with possible blog post ideas and the more mundane task of scheduling for family members. I am an analogue method lover through and through as I find so much joy in using my favourite pens on my favourite papers in my favourite leather traveller’s notebooks (I have well over 30 that I switch out regularly).
4. Manicures and pedicures.
I regularly spend a couple of hours every few weeks at my local nail salon getting a pamper for my nails. It is so worth it for me to have fabulous nails for the next few weeks. I am also a nail biter and manicures go a long way towards breaking this bad habit of mine!
As I mentioned above, watching my favourite shows etc on television. I sometimes shop online while doing this too. Multi-tasking!
6. Sitting down with a hot cuppa, a block of chocolate and a book or magazine.
This doesn’t happen as often as I’d like because I admit sitting down with a hot cuppa and a block of chocolate in front of the tv is the more attractive option for a tired mumma. I know I should probably just go to bed but I’m one of those mums who stays up for as long as possible to get sufficient “me time”.
7. Day Spa. Enough said.
I’ve only just started my personal training sessions but I love how this is beneficial for me in more ways than one; it’s “me time” and a way to work on my health and wellbeing.
9. A visit to the hairdresser’s.
10. Holidays without the kids.
Okay, I haven’t ever been on a holiday by myself, but I know people who have and it sounds divine. I’ve been on quite a few holidays with just Eugene and, while this is not strictly “me time” – it’s more “us time” (also very important – see my blog post on keeping the love alive here) I don’t think I’ve appreciated holidays as much as when I don’t have the kids around. For example, I didn’t realise how much I took having a peaceful meal for granted until I had kids. Or having a sleep in. Or going to the cinema to watch a movie. These were all the things Eugene and I did on our kid-free holiday last year. I must say though, we really do miss them and are completely ready to come home to them at the end of the holidays, and that, in itself, is an indication that we’ve recharged as people so that we can be better parents.
I look forward to my regular “me time”. I would even go so far to say it’s bliss. My days with the kids can be quite monotonous and it’s vital for me to have something to look forward to, whether it be a decadent night out with some girlfriends or a night in with a good book.