I have always known that self-care is very important.  But such is the way of life: the more you think you know it, the more you put it at the back of your mind.  You find yourself running on empty fuel,  and still stepping on the accelerator, bite your lips and continue on.  Before you know it, parts break down, with the risk of running into accidents.  As mothers, It’s a natural instinct that we put our children and family first and ourselves last.  Even thinking about some possible me-time, we feel guilty.  We have no time to sleep nor go to the toilet, all our waking moments, we think about our children, so what me-time are you talking about?

How to be a happy mum

I borrowed a great book from the library recently, it is “How to be a happy mum” by Siobhan Freegard.  One of the chapters is “What About Me?”  Reading it tunes in so adeptly with me.  In fact, I should have seen all the warning signs coming:

 

Anxious
Edgy
Snappy
Tired
Exhausted
Stressed
Unfulfilled
Discontent
Resentful

 

You could be finding the above mentioned emotions rise up from within, and you push them away and continue to engage in more activities to get on top of things.  You could be feeling that there’s no end to what goes on, snap at your children and feel guilty, at the end of it all, feel more tired and resentful.  If this is what is happening right now, please hit the “STOP” button in you and seriously acknowledge that your plate is totally full and spilling out.  You have to start putting yourself in FIRST priority.  Just like in an airplane, adults should put on their oxygen mask before putting on for their children, we have to take care of our well-being before we can take good care of our children. 

 

One of the quotes from the book:
“Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean you stop loving your children, or that you are a bad wife or mother.  In fact, it will make you an even better one.”

 

Once your own well-being is being taken good care of, you will have more energy, more laughter and more joy to share with your children.  Once you value yourself, your daughter will learn that one day when she becomes a mum, she will role-model after you and be better equipped to look after herself and her future family.  Your son will have greater respect for and realistic expectations of his future partner.  So, taking good care of yourself has its valuable effect on your kids!

 

How shall we start with having some me-time, now that we have forgotten how to think for ourselves?  Think of what you do will make you breathe easier and have some calmness within you.  Below are what I do for myself:
1. Exercise
One early morning after my baby’s feed, and he went back to sleep, I decided I shall not busy myself with house chores yet again on this particular lovely morning.  House chores will never finish no matter how much time I invest in it.  But feeling good is definitely worth investing time in.  Hence, I put on my jogging gear and without pausing for a moment for fear I will back out again, I close the door behind me and jog all the way to the park.  I love to exercise as I know it will clear my mind, and have me sort out my thoughts while I sweat it out.  I just didn’t find the time for it! True enough, the morning ionized air energized me greatly and I felt the world is full of hope and everything to me seems beautiful.  For the entire day, I did not feel as tired and the morning workout was enough to see me through the day without much snapping.
2. Reading in peace
I find solace in reading.  I love to read magazines and a good book.  Nowadays, I only have time for parenting books.  It empowers me with knowledge and parenting tips that I find myself forgetting now and then.  Perhaps, reading parenting books still have to do with well, parenting, it takes away some guilt while I indulge in this little me-time.  Reading can only take place before the kids wake up or after they fall asleep.
3. Go out with friends
I look forward to all outings with my best friend.  Sadly, we only manage to make time for this only twice a year.  It’s something I need to work out with her so that both of us feel great with this me-time.  An afternoon chat over a good meal and shopping revitalizes women magically.  Even though we talk about kids too, we always take away good tips from each other and even solving each other’s problems.  Most importantly, I need some good friends’ interaction other than just interacting with my kids.
4. Go out with your hubby
I look forward to this too as a revitalizing date with my hubby, kel.  I can’t stress more about the importance of going on regular dates with your partner.  Having a great relationship has a positive multiplier effect on the family.  Kids strive in loving family environment and all the good behaviour, good grades, healthy kids come from families with parents who love each other very much.
5. Pamper yourself with a spa or going to the hairdresser
Going to the spa or to the hairdresser sounds such a luxury and to busy mums, a time-waster.  I find doing my hair or simply having a hair cut, is so difficult to squeeze any time for, and not to mention going to a 2 hour spa.  Kel has encouraged me to go for such luxury simply because he feels I need them and would feel good after that.  With his encouragement, I would try to plan some time to go for it.  Actually this is like a bi-monthly thing, or even a quarterly thing.  So I really shouldn’t feel guilty spending that 2 or 3 hours once every few months.
6. Spend 10 min a day doing something you like
10 minutes sounds simple and achievable.  However, it can easily be put off till mid-morning, till afternoon, and before you know, your energy level is left with 1% and you just want to hit the sack.  Just like what you would draft out your kids’ time-table, put it in a time-slot that you know you have the least disruption.  And make sure you stick to it just like you want your kids to stick to their time-table.  You can use these 10 minutes to catch up on the day’s news, a chapter of a novel, to blog 2 paragraphs of an up-coming post, to buff your nails, put on a mask, drink a cup of good coffee, or a glass of wine while thinking of nothing, etc, etc… Start now, and remember, it’s just 10 minutes of the 24x60min in a day, which equates to just 0.7% of a day!

 

The challenge comes in doing all these regularly so that it is part of your home schedule.  For me, it  will be challenging to make time for myself during my work days. So, this will not be just a weekend thing, but an on-going time-table that I have to adhere to.

Wish me luck, I’ll be updating again on whether I can do what I preached!

You may like to read one of my earlier post that I almost forgot about: “Why it is important to be YOURSELF in front of your kids“.

Re-reading it allows me to re-look at the important things that I have forgotten after I have my 3rd baby, and thus, pushes me to indulge in me-time now.

 

Do you have me-time? How do you find time for me-time?  Share with me!