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Is it bad to make time for me as a Mum?

August 20th, 2022
Is it bad to make time for me as a Mum?
Many mums ask this leading question because often are made to feel selfish because they are taking time to do something just for them - be it to enjoy a long relaxing bath, meeting up with friends, or going horse riding. It is a feeling that many mums have experienced for generations. It is true that there are mums who do not seem to need any time to themselves and seem to thrive on all the colourful chaos that comes with young children. For most though, have a regular break to relax and recharge batteries is essential and it has been proven that it is not only good for mum but the whole family….
' Taking care of yourself isn't a luxury—it's an essential part of being a good mom'.
Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow in Parents magazine

It is perfectly normal and acceptable to need some regular downtime to give yourself a break from what has been described by Oprah Winfrey as the toughest job of all. Everything in life is about achieving a good balance, whether it is about the hours spent sleeping, how much alcohol to drink or how much housework to do. A good balance is optimum and it is the same when it comes to motherhood.

Mothers who do not give themselves a little time and space are often tired, exhausted and feeling overwhelmed. They feel guilty if they ask their mum to babysit whilst they have their hair done – yet Grannies love to feel wanted and few would every say no! Mums who do not give themselves a break often begin to feel frustrated and resentful as they have no time to do the things they want to do.
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Develop a support network

The number one member of your network should be your partner and it is a great idea to discuss when each of you can have a little time away from domestic duties! Other members can include other mums who are happy to look after your child if you are happy to reciprocate. When my children were little a group of us started a token system and we would ‘pay’ for the babysitting with tokens – one token equalled 30 minutes and we all started with ten tokens.

This system did work really well but it was essential that everyone limited their downtime to a maximum of two hours as this ensured that the babysitting friend did not get too tired. We were all very careful to check that our child was in good health before leaving him with a friend to ensure he would not be spreading any illness.

Downtime is good for all the family

By ensuring that you regularly have some quality ‘me time’ teaches your children an important lesson too as they will grow up learning the importance of not always rushing to beat domestic and work deadlines and will also learn to appreciate what you do for them. If for one day a week, you have a ‘cheat meal’ because you have been enjoying a few hours of tennis rather than being a domestic goddess will it really matter?

It is important to start take a short break from your baby early on – not only because of sleep deprivation at this stage, but because it helps your baby to get used to other people caring for him and the important fact that mummy always returns!
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How to you get some downtime?

While your partner, parents or other close relative may well have agreed to a weekly chunk of time to call your own, it can really make the difference if you can make a little time for yourself every day- and no, it is nothing to feel guilty about. Here are some clever ways to achieve some precious ‘me’ time:

Make the most of nap time!

When your child naps, you should spend some of the time doing something for you, rather than charging around the house like ‘superwoman’. It is true that this is the perfect time to prepare dinner or crack the ironing but even 30 minutes just for you will make you feel so good.

Enjoy some time after your children have gone to bed.

This one is definitely trickier to achieve, the older your children are, but relaxing with your partner for even 30 minutes after your children have gone to be really can boost you mentally and emotionally.

Always plan your downtime

It is always so easy to fritter time away and because it is so valuable, it is important to plan what you would like to do with it. Best to take your ‘me’ time early in your children’s nap time as there is always the chance they could wake early. Knowing what you want to do really is beneficial because experts say that not planning what you want to do is stressful. Having said that, flexibility is key as you may not get the opportunity to relax.
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Enjoying some time for yourself is very important as it is something you used to do and it is lovely to curl up with a book and not have to be anyone other than yourself for just a short time. Many parents laugh as they admit that they lost themselves when their baby was born. But how can this be?

There are many reasons but one is that many modern parents Samantha Ettus, best-selling author of The Pie Life:L A guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction
and mother of three suggests that it could be modern parenting styles-
. "We live in an age of overparenting—we treat it (parenting) as an Olympic sport. We're confusing the amount of time we spend with our kids with the quality of our parenting. The quality of your relationship with your child isn't directly correlated to the time you spend with them." And once you accept that, she says, it's easier to figure out what you actually need to be the best parent you can be’.

Certainly mummy-guilt is an old fashioned feeling that prevents some mums from enjoying time on their own. Many health experts now firmly believe that practising self-care is very beneficial and that it in fact helps you to be a better parent Kristy S. Rodriguez, a pre- and postnatal wellness expert sums it up perfectly-

"It's essential to our health and well-being," she says, because "The more we fill ourselves up, the more we have to give. And as moms, we have to give a lot...."

Chrissie x

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