When a couple is blessed with a child, the problems of the past immediately become irrelevant. Being at their child’s beck and call at all times is what takes precedence, and nothing else in the world matters. Watching your child smile with genuine happiness melts your heart and, at that moment, it all seems worth it. This is why the idea that “moms should take time for themselves” never crossed my mind. What was this ‘me time for moms’ that others kept talking about?
But once an opportunity did come my way, when I had to travel solo to a writers’ retreat, I was overcome with a bunch of emotions too overwhelming for me to rationalize. The idea of finding me time as a mom seemed intriguing, and so I went.
Read on to find out how the emotions that were going on in my head did not leave until I saw my baby again, and tips for finding me time after having a baby.
How I Found Me Time As A Mom
It was going to be a first for all of us, I realized, as I packed nervously for a week away at a writers’ retreat. For my husband, taking care of our son all alone, and planning his day in terms of mealtimes, playtimes and nap times. For my son, not having me at his beck and call all the time. And for me? Oh! Mine was a rather long list of firsts, I reckoned, with a heart far more unsteady than my hands.
But right below my edginess was a slight annoyance, growing steadily and consuming all my excitement for the first solo trip I was taking in four years. The way the whole plan fell into place quite conveniently made my motherhood feel a little slighted, I suppose. I was expecting massive resistance. Maybe even a little groveling thrown in for good measure.
I was expecting my husband to say that his whole world would come crashing down if I went away even for a day. But instead, a man who cannot even find his socks without me was promising to hold the fort for a full week! In fact, he was the one who insisted that I go to this retreat, which I had won in a writing competition.
Related Reading: Husband’s faith and support let a new mother pursue writing
The nervousness I felt while trying to find time for me
I was on my way to finding a little bit of me-time. I was about to have some personal space, why didn’t I feel like a winner then? Why did it dent my self-esteem to know that I was not as indispensable as I had led myself to believe?
My hands started to tremble a little more and I almost dropped my expensive watch face down. I needed a break from the packing and this line of thought. And a glass of ice-cold water. As I stood in the kitchen, taking unusually big sips, composure returned. Thankfully, it brought along a friend – a new perspective.
Someone had once told me that only when we remove ourselves from an equation – husband/wife, mother/son, employee/employer – do we come to realize how redundant we actually are. Because the equation still finds a way to balance itself out. Life adapts. Finds a way to work with what it has. Always. And that is a ‘good’ thing.
Being redundant isn’t really as negative a sentiment as we think. Once past the initial shock and horror attached to that word, we realize how blithely liberating that feeling can be. To be indispensable is, in a way, to be shackled.
Being redundant sets us free. It helps us come to the golden realization – that we are not a part of an equation because we need to be, or because we are duty-bound, but because we choose to be.
How I came to terms with finding me time as a mom
So the real question here was, was being a part of this equation important to me because that was the only place I thought I belonged in anymore? Had I forgotten my standalone value? And was I afraid to find out what it would be now pegged at, in the outside world, which I was about to step into after a long gap?
Perhaps those were the questions my husband wanted me to face, by going away for a little while. That decision came from a place of love. Not because he didn’t appreciate my presence and my contribution. But because he wanted me to enjoy my spoils as a winner, without worrying whether I was committing a crime in the process, by leaving behind my three-year-old son.
That is why when I finally boarded the train to leave, my motherhood and my individualism felt well-adjusted. I knew that I would miss my son and my husband terribly. But I was also confident that we, as a family, would get past this one week, and emerge as a stronger, well-balanced equation.
A lovely equation – fine and functional – formed out of a conscious choice rather than an obligation – and of a far higher collective value.
Finding ‘Me Time’ As A Mom: 10 Tips
When you’re devoted to being the best mother you can be, the question “why should mom take time for themselves” seems a redundant one. But as I realized, baby-free time is an absolute must if you’re looking to find your individual worth, separate from the role of the mother you’ve chosen to be. A good marriage is about supporting your partner, you don’t have to do everything alone.
Finding me time after having a baby can seem like an uphill task. To help you achieve that, here are 10 tips you can use to get yourself some well-warranted baby-free time.
Related Reading: Married? Planning to have kids? You must read this
1. Tag in your partner
You’re part of a team, not a superwoman. It isn’t your job to solely take care of everything around the house, your child and your job. Tag in your partner when you feel the need to. Make sure you both take turns tending to your crying baby who decided the best time to grab attention was 4:30 AM! This is one of the best tips for new moms. If you have an unsupportive husband, tell him to take up some of the responsibility early on!
2. Call for help
Your mom, your friends, your neighbors, or a paid nanny…don’t be afraid to call for help when you need to. Why moms should take time for themselves will become painfully obvious once the dark circles come rolling in. Call for help whenever you can, don’t let your need to do-it-all lead you down a road you can’t walk alone.
3. Nap time is baby-free time
No, you don’t have to check up on your sleeping child every 7 minutes to make sure everything is okay. Let your child sleep peacefully and perhaps catch some much-needed shut-eye yourself. Use your child’s sleeping schedule to your advantage, catch a quick nap while s/he’s sleeping too.
4. Let yourself get some free time
As a mom, I thought that I was utterly indispensable in this equation of our family. While I truly am important and so is every mother, that shouldn’t stop you from trying to get a little bit of ‘me-time’. You shouldn’t feel guilty if you’re ever in search of some me-time. You should come to terms with the fact that it’s a need everyone has.
5. It’s “bring your baby to work” day
No, not literally. The point being, if you’re looking to find some ‘time for me’, you can always include your baby in your me-time. If you’re out walking, the stroller is your best friend. If you’re gardening, your baby can join in too. If you’re exercising, I’m pretty sure your baby is going to crack a smile once he sees mommy jumping up and down.
6. Divide the chores
If you’re wondering why moms should take time for themselves, it’s so they can delegate the chores and teach the rest of the family how to go about doing them at the same time. Two birds, one stone. Neat, right? Plus, it’s good for the relationship if you two cook together to save time.
7. Save time wherever possible
That doesn’t mean you can order unhealthy food every day, but you can definitely use some meal plans to come to your rescue. Start using meal preps, so the cooking doesn’t take as much time as it used to. Perhaps reduce your workload a bit, or hire domestic help to help with the cleaning.
8. Have your child’s favorite toys on hand
Finding ‘me time’ as a mom could be as easy as simply distracting your child. Since every kid has a set of toys they prefer over others, you can just hand over his/her favorite toys to them for a bit while you put your feet up and enjoy a cold coffee or some TV time. Get a breather while you’re at it. Why moms should take time for themselves will become apparent when you actually do.
Trying to find ‘me-time’ after having a baby means you’ll have to multi-task a bit. Your extensive skincare routine now requires your child to sit next to you, and the dinner prep can be done while you’re on a zoom meeting with your boss. Just keep the chopping board noises to a minimum and you’re good to go.
10. Adjust your sleep schedule
Trying to find a little bit of ‘me-time’ once a baby is in the picture? Adjust your sleep schedule according to your baby’s. While this may pose some problems because, unlike a toddler, you have work to do, you can still try to grab some shut-eye whenever your baby is doing the same.
“Why moms should take time for themselves” isn’t even really the question, since it’s an indisputable need for everyone to have some personal space. So don’t worry too much about being guilty about it. Unwind and relax and try to connect with yourself!
Stay at home moms can find a little bit of ‘me time’ by multi-tasking, saving time by using meal preps and adjusting their schedule around their baby. You can also call for help whenever you might need it!
Finding time for yourself as a parent requires you to be creative. Call your spouse for help, or maybe even your friend, neighbor, or a paid nanny. Divide the chores around the house with your child and spouse to make sure you don’t end up doing all of it!
As a new mom, you must divide responsibilities between you and your partner. Don’t think that you absolutely must do everything on your own, you can take it a little easy. Call your parents/friends/neighbors for parenting help if you need it and don’t be afraid to include your child in your ‘me time’ activities.