written by Jen Valu
I’m talking to all parents here, but moms specifically. We are always too busy (a word I use way too often to describe how I’m doing), taking care of everyone – our kids, our home, even our spouse…that we often neglect a very important person – YOURSELF. Easier said than done, I am guilty as charged. I sometimes wait 6 months to get a haircut. I rarely get much needed “girl time” with my friends. I can’t remember the last time I was able to pick up a book and get lost in it. I feel good thinking about all of the things I get done every day – taking care of two children, working PT, paying bills, food shopping, taking care of the house and somehow mustering up the energy after both kids are asleep to make my husband and I dinner when he gets home from work. After all, look at what we accomplish every single day. We should feel proud!!! BUT…do you ever feel like you’re losing yourself in the day to day grind, not having a moment to think about you?
Here are a few ideas for ways we can take care of ourselves without breaking the bank and taking too much time away from those snuggles and laughs with our babies.
- EXERCISE. Don’t have a gym membership? Doesn’t matter. Get your heartrate up for 30 min. Go for a walk – do the Prospect Park loop. Catch up on your favorite podcast while you’re out and about! Release those endorphins.
- Go to your favorite cafe, alone. People watch (Brooklyn is a great place to do this) or meet up with a friend for a cup of Joe.
- Take a bath (when is the last time you did this)? Candles, music, glass of wine – do it up!!!!
- Take that meditation or yoga class. Re-center yourself.
- Once a month, make a date night – not necessarily with your spouse (let them babysit) – maybe with a friend. Make a plan to do dinner, go to a concert, whatever. Something you really want to do. Agree that your spouse does the same, this way you are both helping each other with self care and striving to be happier parents, together!
- Go outside by yourself – on your balcony, on your rooftop, wherever that is. Get that fresh air and bring your your favorite music. Enjoy a quiet cup of tea or coffee. Breathe. Alone.
- Do you have a creative hobby? Don’t neglect it. Painting, drawing, photography, writing, playing music? Take a little time to invest in that hobby.
- Go the park by yourself. Bring your beach-chair and relax under your favorite tree for a half hour and catch up on a book.
- Getting to the hair salon can often be difficult and time consuming…how about a quick mani or pedi? Or a half hour massage…ahhh. Reward yourself.
- Sleep in. Make sure you and your partner allow the other to do this on a regular basis. There is no downplaying how important it is for you to catch enough z’s.
Try setting your alarm clock 20-30 min early if you can’t find time in the day to do these things. Start the day with YOU-time. And watch the beautiful sun rise while you do it.
Listen, there is never enough time in the day or the funds to do what we really want to do for ourselves. Sure I’d love a day at the spa once a month and a yearly trip with close girlfriends somewhere on a secluded beach in the Caribbean. I’d love to go into Manhattan, all alone and just wander around for an entire day. Meet up with friends for lunch, go shop. Just a me-day. One day we’ll all get there (here’s to hoping), but these things can feel a little out of reach with the little people in our lives. Maybe we can take some of these small steps towards that much needed “me time”.
Remember, if you feel like you’re taking care of “everything”, that includes you. If you truly take care of yourself, you are happier…you are a better parent, a more patient parent. You’re also letting your children know that YOU matter, and that you truly value yourself.