Even as the flight attendant was telling me to put the oxygen mask on myself before I put them on my children, my mind was saying “children first”. In the very second that followed, I realized what I was thinking and immediately said aloud “me first, children next”.
The reality is – that even when we know we must take care of ourselves first, it doesn’t necessarily sink in. Nor does it become easy to do. However, once a mom does ‘get away’ into a space where she is able to give herself self-care, she knows exactly how necessary that time is.
Again, knowing it doesn’t make it any easier. Finding time for the preservation of sanity becomes more difficult when you are in the midst of insanity (otherwise known as motherhood). Somewhat like labor and delivery, we soon forget that which we swore we would never forget.
If you need some suggestions for carving out space for your Self, consider these:
Wake up early. Quiet mornings can be a delight. Even fifteen minutes before your children wake up can make a huge difference in your day, your mood, and your spirit.
Consider child swapping. Find a friend whose children are the same ages as yours. You can take turns taking care of each other’s children so that the other can have a free afternoon. Make sure you use that freedom for your Self and not for running errands.
Time swap with your spouse. Your partner could probably use time to refuel too. If you take Saturday morning for yourself, give a few hours on Sunday afternoon to your partner. You will find that you are both better able to deal with your children and household responsibilities when you’ve had a breather.
Quiet evening hours can also provide a quick getaway. Once your children are in bed for the night, set aside the dishes and folding laundry to read, meditate, or relax. Create an evening retreat habit that nothing can interfere with.
Twice a year – or four times, if you are lucky – go on a minor getaway. It can be as lavish as a spa weekend at a nice resort or as simple as a hotel room down the street from your house. Keep your eyes open for special deals you can take advantage of.
Sign up for a workshop, a woman’s retreat, or a class based on an interest you have. Expand your horizons and do something you never thought you’d do. Take a glass blowing class; participate in a silent meditation; go horseback riding.
Create the space for you, and you will have the space to create the environment you want to give your children and the mother you want to be for your children.