As a mum, getting time for myself is something very precious. Last week during one of my coaching calls, my client asked me about how I manage to get so much time to myself (me time) considering how busy I am. As a busy mum, business owner, primary school teacher and domestic goddess, my days are busy, but I’ve always managed to get time for myself every day. But until I was asked this question, I’d never actually explored ‘how’ I manage to do it… so here it goes.
Self care is without doubt the most important concept for mums to recognise and understand if she wants to create a harmonious work/life blend and feel relaxed. We are the barometer of our family and when we feel calm, organised and in control of things, then this is reflected in our family too. I truly believe that I am a better mother, partner, friend and colleague when I take care of myself first and foremost. I take care of myself by indulging in self care every day, by having time for myself.
So, how do I get it?
I prioritise and schedule it. Yep, it’s that easy. I look for opportunities throughout my week where I can plan to take some time out for myself. Sometimes, it means getting up an hour earlier than everyone else. Other times, it’s asking my partner to do swimming lessons and groceries on his own with our little lady so that I can stay at home and have some time to myself (like now). Other times, it’s between tasks such as using the time between when the washing machines starts, to when it finishes to work on a special project or hobby. Sometimes it’s guided by the TV guide… I’m a huge fan of Escape to the Country and other property shows so I will work out when there’s an episode on and then ensure that dinner, cleaning and bedtime routines are all done and dusted beforehand so that I can sit back and enjoy (usually with a glass of wine).
I learnt to recognise it when it’s disguised
Who knew that my 2 hour daily commute could be classed as time for myself? I didn’t for a long time but now I’ve learned to love it. I come up with some great ideas for my business while I’m driving. I run meal planning through my mind and plan my housework for the evening in so that I can just get on with it once I’m home and get it done. I plan events and social gatherings in my mind while I’m driving. All of the creative thinking can be done in the car. Often it’s the creative thinking that takes time, and I have plenty of it every day! Sometimes, I just listen to relaxation music and chill.
Another disguised ‘me time’ is waiting at the doctor’s surgery. Sometimes it can be quite a wait, so I always take a journal or my diary with me. I use the time to send emails or read a book. I use every second that I can.
My routine sets me free
Each week, I have set things to do. I work Monday to Thursday at school. I have coaching clients on Monday and Tuesday evenings and do invoicing and paperwork on a Thursday evening. I tidy and vacuum my entire house on a Friday, followed by a coffee catch-up/play dates (usually at Bunnings because their playground/cafe combination is seriously the best thing ever). I do a load of washing, sweep and tidy every single day to keep on top of things. I clean bathrooms on a Saturday morning, followed by swimming lessons then grocery shopping and I book social events on the weekends in advance so that I know what I have coming up. I meal plan strategically so that we never have to make last minute decisions and waste time and money on the day.
I have this schedule completely laid out in a weekly plan in my mind (and in my diary) so that I keep on top of everything. When I’m on top of everything, I feel that I can justify relaxing at other times. Sure, there are always things to do, but overall I find that by sticking to this routine, I end up creating more time for myself.
Before I became a mum, I had all the time in the world for myself but I truly believe that I spent a lot of time doing nothing much. When I get time to myself now, I use it well. It is purposeful and the time is well used. In the early days of motherhood, I felt as though taking time out for myself was selfish, but now I understand how important it is for me and my sanity. I am a better mother and partner once I’ve had time for myself and if you tried it, I know you’d find your own benefits.