Putting myself back on the list and pinning my hopes on 'me' time....
Frazzled……………becoming a mama will do that to you. Mamahood and martyrdom have become synonymous. Never has my mental health been more up against it. And at the same time never have I been lower down my own priority list.
There is a lot of talk about surviving mamahood, and in certain situations that is more than we can hope for, like attending a mini party with the hangover from hell. Maybe I’m being unrealistic but I want to do more than just survive this journey, I want to sur-thrive it. Don’t get me wrong I don’t believe in sugar coating; motherhood is tough. But looking after ourselves properly is imperative to embracing the journey; celebrating the highs, and riding out the lows with a sense of humour and a side of sarcasm. Putting yourself first might seem selfish, and let’s be realistic with a mini in tow that will never happen, but I do believe we should be putting ourselves back on the list.
Five minutes spent on yourself is the next best thing to sleep, another thing in short supply in our house. What would you do with your five minutes, call it 300 seconds it sounds longer? Work out what you need from this time and make it count. Like Mrs Large, it might be starting your day with five minutes peace, a cup of tea, marmalade toast and a leftover slice of cake. Or like me, it might be managing a solo shower and drying your hair without having to use the hairdryer to create a mini wind machine to entertain the masses. I’m always more able to tackle the day and whatever comes my way if I look the part, for those five minutes before I'm adorned with snot, banana trace or stickers.
Planning it in isn’t always easy so figure out what works for you. How you switch off and recharge, and where and when those stolen moments are most likely to occur. If escapism is the order of the day, and you often find yourself camped in the car with a snoozing mini that will erupt the minute you open the door, keep a book and a bar of chocolate in your glove box. The New Year brings lofty resolutions but I’d encourage you to start small, with achievable goals otherwise you’ll give up faster than my mini moves at the word ‘treat’. And don’t let the ‘mama guilt’ set in and spoil it, guilt is the enemy of ‘me’ time so if you’re going to make the time, take it and don’t look back.
A little bit of headspace makes me a calmer mama and that means the minis get more from me when I’m back in the main game ‘parenting’. And I’m leading by example showing my minis that selfcare is important. My point being that the benefits of ‘me’ time extend beyond just you.
Working under the assumption that these will be the most time constrained years of our life, and dear God I hope that is true. Ironically when we’ve moved into the period where the ‘me’ time dominates, we’ll long for these days of braving the storm; the cold weather clearing the hot heads with double buggy and dog in tow. Gretchen Rubin was spot on ‘the days are long but the years are short’.
So I’ve purchased a mama bear pin, to wear not only as my badge of honour for what we mamas labour through, but also to celebrate the moments where I'm sur-thriving mamahood. Finally with some ‘me’ time complete, I can happily check myself off the list, and when did that not feel great?