Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Trouble With 'Me Time'

There's much talk in the parenting world about the importance of looking after yourself when raising your children. Filling your cup. Attending to your own wellbeing. Putting your life jacket on first. Getting some 'me time'.

Books, articles, videos talk about the importance of this, including (perhaps especially) in the world of gentle/attachment/positive parenting. You can't deal with the stresses that daily life with kids throws at you if you don't take care of yourself. You can't stay patient with your children when you're all strung out. In short, if you're not getting what you need, you can't provide for your children's needs.

And I agree with all this. I know that when I'm tired (which is always) I'm more likely to snap. I know from experience that always putting my child first and never getting any time to do stuff I like will lead to me feeling resentful, and projecting that resentment onto my child. I know that I need to take care of myself.


My question is this. HOW?

How do I make time for me?  When my eldest doesn't fall asleep until close to 9pm some days and my youngest wakes through the night. When my other half, who wonderfully takes the early morning shift after Ezra has woken at 4am, has to leave for work at 6.30am so I have to be up by then no matter what kind of night I've had. When my toddler is so active that the only time I can get stuff done in the day is when he's napping. When the evenings are so chaotic with two children with very different bedtimes that trying to get and keep both asleep is a two-person job. What space is there for me time?

I've recently started doing a bit of reading and crochet after the kids are in bed. It's great, I'm using my brain and my creativity, I love it. But it means sacrificing some chores so there's more to do the next day, or going to bed later so I'm more tired the next day. How is that an improvement?

The other thing is - and I'm hoping I'll get some chimes of agreement here so I don't feel so selfish - what little I can get is never enough. When my other half isn't working I'll often sleep an extra hour or more in the mornings, but I still feel tired. I can read a chapter of my book, but I'll want to read more. After nearly six years of broken nights, of giving up my 'me time' out of necessity, I really don't know what it would take for me to feel refreshed and reinvigorated again. The idea is that even a little bit of self care helps. But for me the effect is so miniscule that it may stop me being snappy mummy for an hour or two, then I'll go back to tired and stressed.

I wish I had the answers to these problems, but more than anything, I think it would help to know I'm not alone in feeling like this. Do you feel it too? Or have you found the solution?

This post is now linked up to Day 18 of #Blogtober17 - Relaxation.

#Blogtober17

10 comments:

  1. I have no idea. Any 'me time' I have is invariably spent on facebook scrolling through instead of anything vaguely 'me'...I think it's a myth!

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    1. Yes I suspect my smartphone eats a lot of what could be 'me time'!

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  2. Oh my goodness just reading this made me feel so stressed! Your time will come. They are little and all time consuming for such a short time in the grand scheme of things x

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    1. That's what I tell myself, but I've been in the all time consuming stage for nearly six years now, I'm exhausted!

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  3. It gets better as they get older I promise hang on in there! :) Youre doing a great job :)

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    1. Thank you! Yes I keep telling myself it'll get better!

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  4. I have no solution, but I recognise the problem. All I can say is that it does get better as children get older and more self-sufficient. Fear that won't be much of a comfort right now, but the broken nights will decrease, and you'll get more time especially when they start school. In the short term, recommend negotiating some time to yourself at weekends when your other half can sweep the children off for activities.

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    1. Yes I've noticed my 5 year old is generally easier to deal with now, although that comes with a trade off of a later bedtime. Weekends are so busy at the moment with clubs, chores, parties etc too!

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  5. I don't have a solution to this problem either. When they are still infants you get little time. I agree but once they are older, you will find your routine and your me time. Me and hubby share the nights. 2 nights i put them down, other nights he puts them down. #blogtober

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    1. That's a good system. At the moment Ezra only settles for me and Eleanor is still too young to understand she needs to be quiet while I settle him. Hopefully when they're both a bit older it'll get easier.

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