I was thinking about “me time”. Yes, I can hear mothers of babies and young children muttering “there is no time for ‘me time’”. And mothers of school age children who either work and/or spend precious time ferrying children to sport or ballet or music or just play dates muttering the same. STOP!
Mothers with babies and young children, I know you often use that time to catch up with some household task but try to spend even half an hour of their nap time doing something just for you whether it’s reading, going out into the garden, exercising or whatever. If your child doesn’t nap then early on get them used to going into their bedroom with books or toys with the door closed for an hour for “their special time”.
My husband used to give me Tuesday evening off, I’d go to art class and he was responsible for the children. That time apart from family responsibilities and having adult conversation was a lifesaver. Perhaps for you it could be some other hobby, maybe book club or just catching up with girlfriends where every sentence isn’t interrupted by crying or “Jimmy don’t do that” or “yes darling that is clever”.
Mothers of school age children, obviously if you’re also working you are desperately time poor but at least you do get to have time away and the opportunity to have adult speech. Stay at home mothers usually spend a lot of time helping at school and doing unpaid volunteer work plus the constant ferrying around. Make friends with the other mothers so that if there ever is an emergency or you’re running late you feel able to ask for help.
Keeping sane and having time with your partner/husband is the best argument for establishing set bedtimes for the children. During the week because my husband didn’t arrive home until 6:30 I used to feed the children early, cleaning up and putting our meals aside. Then after time catching up with the boys doings, he’d put them to bed with a story, we’d both kiss them goodnight and then zap our dinner and have it in peace and quiet. On weekends we all ate together, cleaned up together, did family things, went out together as a family.
Every month our parents gave us a Friday or Saturday night off and we’d go out to dinner and perhaps see a movie, go to a concert or dance or catch up with friends. It was good for the children to spend time alone with their grandparents as well. Remember your children will grow up and leave home and you don’t want to find yourself living with a partner you no longer know. Those years after your children leave can be some of the best and freest of your life together.
And seeing I’m on the Advice Wagon, I know it takes extra time but when your young child offers to help with household chores like getting dinner or cleaning etc accept that help. Don’t wait until they are teenagers and then suddenly start asking for or yelling at them to help. Make it an expected thing from an early age.
Most of all take time to enjoy each stage of your life. It passes so quickly. As someone once said “It’s not the destination but the journey that is important”.