The next instalment of my Becoming a SAHM Survival Kit is all about me-time, or you-time I’ve mentioned it in some of the other posts in the series already but it is so important that I think it deserves a post of it’s own.
Life as a SAHM is busy! I’m not saying working mums are less busy (surely you must be more busy?) or need downtime any less then SAHM’s though I guess it does depend what your job is and how much you enjoy it. But what I am saying is that when every day of your life involves wiping bums, cooking, cleaning, playing, walking, trying to teach your little ones all while being clambered over, clung too, pulled around, screamed at, and cried on, etc. it can feel like a lot of hard work. You don’t really have any personal space, be it physically or emotionally.
Even when the grandparents look after Monkey for the odd hour during the week I spend the whole time cleaning, then Monkey’s nap times are spent cooking, doing a bit more cleaning and I squeeze in blogging and tweeting where I can. I do sometimes just sit in front of the TV during nap times too, I’m not ashamed to admit it, some days I am too knackered by the afternoon nap to do anything other than rest before the onslaught of the rest of the afternoon!
After a while of no time to just be me, to do what I want, I get steadily grumpier, bicker more with my husband, and sex, well, it doesn’t happen because I just want some personal space. That’s not to say I don’t love being a SAHM, of course I do otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. It is just wearing to put your needs last all the time.
I am very lucky with my hubby, he’s happy to look after Monkey on his own sometimes, he is very understanding of how hard it can be as a SAHM and is very supportive of me needing a break occasionally. Even then though I often find weeks go by without me feeling like I have had any kind of break because I feel guilty. Weekends are family time so I feel we should make the most of Daddy being home so we can do things together. Likewise evenings are our grown up time so we spend it together rather than me going off to read a book or have a bath. I feel guilty for wasting time that could be spent together. I forget that spending time on myself isn’t a waste – it’s a necessity!
Last weekend hubby gave me some time off (haha that sounds like he’s my boss, but he offered to look after Monkey on his own for the day so I could have a break), I had crazy bad PMT because I have come off the pill and I NEEDED some time alone. I didn’t do much, just had a long hot bath, wandered round some shops (which let’s face it you can’t really do with a toddler in tow), made a vegetable soup for the first time ever, and sat and read my book. It was lovely. Monkey and daddy had a lovely day together so we were smiles all round. That week, even though the PMT was still there a bit and I was on a short fuse, I was generally much happier than previously, and feeling much more romantic with my hubby.
This weekend was one of my best friends’ birthdays and she was planning some drinks in London. Hubby and Monkey were invited too and we did plan to all go, then I asked hubby if he minded me going alone. We could have managed to keep Monkey entertained for the afternoon but it would have taken a lot of effort and honestly, all I wanted was to sit and relax for the afternoon and drink and chat with my friends. Hubby had no problem with this and so off I went. It was such a lovely relaxed afternoon and I enjoyed myself so much more with not being climbed over, drooled on etc. No distractions and I felt like I could just be me for a few hours.
The result is that I come home happy and rejuvenated and ready to face another week of being the primary caregiver and living a life centred around Monkey’s needs rather than my own.
So, if you are like me and put your own needs last all the time – Stop. Just for an hour or so. Talk to your partner or a helpful relative and take some time for yourself. Read a book or a Magazine if you prefer. Don’t think about what jobs need doing or what your child is up to. Think about yourself for once, paint your nails, do your hair, go for a walk, take a bath. Just do something that you used to take for granted before you became a mum. You’ll be amazed how refreshed you can feel after just a short break.
If your partner needs some convincing about you taking some time off, remind that it helps them in the long run too !