One of my biggest challenges since becoming a mother has been balancing everything, especially time for myself. Even a year and a half later I still struggle to find balance sometimes. But I’ve learned that taking time for ME is important to help me find the energy, patience and motivation to balance everything else.
Today I am teaming up with my lovely friend Whitney to talk about how we make time for ourselves as mothers and the importance of taking time to do things for YOURSELF. Whitney is mom to darling three-year-old Lily and works as a professional counselor. While she would normally be working out of the house, due to COVID she is currently working from home. And for those of you who are new here or don’t know, I am mom to 19-month-old Jack and stay home with him full-time. We thought it would be helpful to share both perspectives of how we make time for ourselves, so be sure to head over to Whitney’s post next!
I’m not someone who likes to ask for help or will easily accept help when it is offered. It wasn’t until Jack was a year old that I truly started taking time for myself. Yes, that’s right, a full 12 months of motherhood before I took time for ME. I was burnt out to say the least. The lack of taking time for myself was a combination of struggling to find balance and then partially feeling guilt if I did anything for myself instead of my family or home.
Logically I knew that I couldn’t eat, sleep, and breathe motherhood. I needed to remain an individual, but it can be a difficult balance to find. When Jack was awake he was my primary focus, very little house work or clean-up was done. Which meant my only time to do dishes, fold laundry, clean the house, etc. had to be done during naps and bedtime. So unless I wanted to stay up late and get even less sleep (no thank you!) when was I going to find time for myself?
First, let me say it is different for everyone. You have to find what works best for yourself based on your lifestyle. So here are the ways I started to make time for myself:
Let Go of the Guilt
You can’t expect yourself to be everything for everyone. And if you go about your days never making time for yourself you will burn out. It took me a while to realize that in order to be a better mom and the best version of myself it was important to take time for myself. So stop feeling guilty. You NEED to take time for yourself in order to recharge so you can continue to balance everything.
Find What Time Works Best for You
For me nap time works best and I find that having some time to myself midday allows me to recharge and prepare for an afternoon of chasing around a busy toddler. But nap time doesn’t have to be what you choose. Are you a morning person? If so, maybe waking up an hour before the kids to enjoy your coffee is what would work best for you. Or you can take time after the kids go to bed to sit and watch your favorite show or movie. And then for younger kids there is always nap time. It truly depends on what works best for you. And while every day may look a little different pick out a day or two (or more) each week and set aside that time for YOU and whatever it is you need to do. Read, nap, watch Netflix, go for a walk, whatever recharges you.
Make It a Priority
I’m someone who loves planning and making lists. So at the start of the week when I right down my “to-do list” or goals for the week. This often includes one or two things that I want to do for myself like read a certain number of days, taking time to paint, or doing my nails. Once it is written down on my list it somehow becomes easier for me to prioritize. So if you need to set aside a specific time or add it to you to-do list to make sure that it gets done then go for it!
Use Your Time Wisely
Similar to myself in the beginning you may be thinking “If I take time for myself when am I ever going to get anything else done?” It may not seem like there is enough time in the day but I promise there is if you use your time wisely. Take advantage of independent play and limited screen time. As long as you are near by and able to easily keep an eye on your child you don’t need to be with them every waking moment. Use these times to do dishes, fold laundry and tidy up the house. You can even use those as teaching moments to have your little one help you and learn about chores. Make it a game and celebrate when they help you with things around the house. So I promise, if you use your time wisely you will find you can get quite a bit done and still be there for your little ones.
Everyone’s motherhood journey looks a little different and so will the way you choose to take time to yourself. Remember to be patient with yourself and keep in mind that everyone needs time for themselves to recharge and help them keep going everyday. Taking time to yourself does not make you a bad mom, it is part of what will help make you an even better mom!
To help you find balance and time for yourself we are doing a GIVEAWAY of three really great books that Whitney often recommends to her clients! What’s included? 1) Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley, 2) A Simplified Life by Emily Ley, & 3) The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith. To enter the giveaway head over to this Instagram post.
Don’t forget to head over to Whitney Cave’s post to see how she makes time for herself too!