Me-time. “Sounds lovely, but I’m a mom, and I work,” you say, “I don’t have time for me-time.”
This is the hair-trigger response of most moms I know, including myself. We are stretched to the limits of both our mental and physical capacities on a daily basis. Yet, our thresholds are all different. Some of us can go weeks without a break. Some of us need something a little more … frequent. Scratch that.
We ALL need something a little more frequent.
I know. It feels selfish. It feels like a luxury. And, somedays it feels downright unrealistic. But, we – the royal we – need to shift our thinking. Taking time for yourself – whether its 10 minutes or whole 10 hours – needs to be a priority, for a number of reasons. (Reasons we’ll get to in future posts.)
But for now, let’s find that elusive time we all want more of.
In April, somewhat by accident (or perhaps it was kismet?) I found my own secret stash of precious minutes and hours. I was scrolling through my Twitter feed as I do most mornings while I drink my coffee (at 5 a.m. before the kiddos get up), when I came across Laura Vanderkam’s article “5 Ways To Hack Your Weekly Schedule To Get More Done” on FastCompany.com. If memory serves, I was sitting on a couch surrounded by piles of laundry that needed putting away, and if I were to step onto the floor, I was certain to hear the crunch of Lego masterpieces underfoot. So, yeah, I could use a little more time in my schedule.
I clicked on the link intrigued but with no real grand expectations, when BAM!, one simple sentence hit me like a slap to the forehead: “A week has 168 hours,” Vanderkam wrote.
168 hours! I hadn’t looked at 7 days in that way before. That’s a lot. If you’re lucky (and depending on what stage of motherhood you are in), you will spend about 56 of those sleeping. That leaves 112 hours each week. How are we actually spending it?
I grabbed a pen and a scrap of paper and just sort of loosely mapped out how much time I spend on my regular daily tasks. And on that scrap of paper, I discovered I actually DID have the opportunity to make time for myself. It was in there; it was just getting wasted on far less worthy pursuits than this precious commodity deserved – eating lunch at my desk while half-heartedly catching up on emails, or zoning out to Netflix for an hour or two before bed.
Is this really how I want to spend my time? Is that all there is?!?!
Nope. Say it with me ladies: HELL no. We are better than this. There is LIVING to be done. Sunsets to see, proper brunches with girlfriends to be savored, art galleries and flea markets and vintage shops to be explored, or whatever it is that you call livin’.
This blog is called Mamas Day Off, but we’re going to use the term “Day Off” loosely here. For many of us, we don’t actually get a whole day off. In fact, for me, it’s extremely rare. That’s ok. It makes the time even more enjoyable and precious to me when I do get it. (And yes, I do feel guilty when I feel gleeful about it. And yes, I do think about my kids almost the whole time I’m gone. And so will you.)
For busy moms, it’s catch as catch can. Make the most of it. Give yourself permission. YOU. ARE. WORTH IT. And so is the rest of your family. Mama who gets a day off, is a happier, calmer, more productive and more interesting mom to be around.
Now … LET’S DO THIS!
Your first job is to set your priorities and get a realistic look at where your time actually goes. Lucky for us, the lovely and talented Laura Vanderkam wrote a whole book about that precious 168 hours and even went so far as to post some rather handy tools on her website. Click here to check out Vankderkam’s time management tools, and download her spreadsheet to start tracking your daily routine. Let’s find those precious and rare gems we call spare time and start putting them to good use!
In tomorrow’s post, we’ll talk about next steps. Stay tuned Mamas!
PS: If you want to learn a little more about me, click here.