Parenting a human being can take up a lot of your time. When the children are asleep, you are thinking about what they will be doing when they are awake. If not that, you are busy doing all the things that you were unable to do when they were up and about. Those things usually include the chores around the house and everything else that does not benefit your peace of mind.
Rachel Bertsche is an author of The Kids Are in Bed: Finding Time for Yourself in the Chaos of Parenting. Her books provide practical tips for parents to have time to themselves once the kids hit the sheets.
The world of parenting is a very chaotic one that parents, especially new ones, can get lost in.
When a parent finally makes a conscious decision to relax and not stress about the kids or work, they get so consumed with the guilt that they revert to their old habits.
Here are some of Rachel’s tips to help you think about ‘me time’ differently.
Remember that it is also good for your kids
The guilt of taking time to yourself surfaces because you think you are taking time away from your children. You start thinking about all the things you could be doing for them instead of doing things for yourself. This, Rachel calls the “mental load”. What you do not consider is that taking time for yourself is also beneficial for your children, Rachel says. It will leave you feeling more revived, full and joyful. A happy parent is a happy home.
‘Me time’ can be as short as 15 minutes
Parents never take actual breaks because they are always looking for long periods of time to relax. You are waiting for an hour’s break to relax and take a long bath. Your free time could be 15 minutes of sitting in your favourite corner and catching a breath and reading 2/3 pages from your book. You will find that you can find a lot of intervals throughout the day that allows you to be with yourself, doing the things that you enjoy.
Prioritise your ‘me time’
Think about this: Will the world stop if you don’t pack away the clothes in the cupboard right this moment? The clothes and the dishes can wait. They will be right where you left them (because no one else will do them) after you take that hot bubble bath with your partner.
Create a list of things that you like
Do not pressurise yourself to be super productive when the kids are asleep. You do not have to do anything ‘productive’ when you have free time. It can be something small, but as long as it brings you joy, do it. This could be activities such as;
- Watching your favourite TV show
- Playing a crossword puzzle
- Reading a novel
- Calling a friend
The bottom line is that we do not always have to be thinking about the needs of others all days of our lives because we have assumed the role of parents. Even after childbirth, we are still individuals that need to be fulfilled and joyful.