I think it’s safe to say that Mum life pretty much revolves around doing things for other people. School runs, playgroups, cooking for small people and wiping their butts are just some of the long list of things that us Mums have to do for our children. Of course it’s part and parcel of being a Mum, but it’s important to try and remember that we need to focus on ourselves a little bit as well.
I think that we think of ourselves as selfish to want a bit of time for just us, and we see ourselves as the less important person to receive a bit of focus. In reality thought, the benefit to our families is far bigger if we just take a bit of time out for ourselves every now and then. It doesn’t have to be anything big. I’m not talking weekends away (although the chance would be a fine thing right?!), but small things here and there. I find it really boosts my mood and self-worth if I just have small bits of me time.
At the weekend I went for a run. I snuck out of the house while the dinner was in the oven and I ran (and walked), and it felt amazing. The sun was beating down on me, with the cool breeze taking the heat of it away. I was running round the lake in the middle of the country park, I had my music playing in one ear, and I was alone. Just me.
When I returned home, the crew didn’t even know I had gone (the other half did know I was going, I didn’t just disappear), and immediately chaos resumed – mostly because Zach was moaning that if he’d have known I was going, he would have come with me. And that’s why I snuck out. Because if I had said one tiny word to him, I wouldn’t have even made it out of the house!
That run though – it was everything I wanted and needed. Not just for the exercise, but for that half an hour of peace with nobody to answer to. Nobody to do something for. It was lush.
Something else I have started doing recently is getting my eyebrows threaded. I absolutely love going to the beauticians, and I love nothing more than laying and having a body scrub massage or a facial. But these things come at an expense of both time and money and so they never, ever happen. But I was fed up of plucking my eyebrows and then never even getting round to doing it. So one day I looked at them, decided they were overgrown enough to warrant someone else sorting them out for me, and I have been going ever since.
Every three weeks I go to a local beauty therapist and sit for roughly five whole minutes in peace! Zach wanted to come with me one day but I wouldn’t let him and managed to dissuade him with a gingerbread man and Nannie taking him back home. I mentioned it to the therapist and she asked why I didn’t let him, making it clear that it would have been fine for him to be there. My reaction was NO WAY. This precious five minutes is that all important ‘me time’. A bit of peace. There was no way I was going to have my five year old asking what’s this and what’s that while I am trying to relax. I mean next he might think he can accompany me on a rare facial!
The final thing that I have done recently is read a magazine. I have a stash of magazines at home that I just don’t get around to reading. Generally, if I am not parenting, I am blogging, eating my own dinner, or spending a bit of time with the other half. I never think, “oh tonight I will sit and read a magazine”, let alone a book (I have a stash of those waiting to be read too!). The first time I recently read a magazine, I was on the train going to meet my sister. It was just me and my magazine and it was heaven.
And so when I was sat in the car outside the house at the weekend with a sleeping toddler, I asked the other half to bring me out my magazine and sat and read several pages of it rather than the usual scrolling through my social media feeds.
I love reading. It’s the only thing I miss about not having a commute anymore – the lack of reading. And so to focus on it whilst I was surrounded by temporary peace was wonderful.
These three separate things – the run, the eyebrows and the magazine, all made me feel happy. For the short periods of time that I was doing them, I felt a little like the old me before I had kids. When I had time to do this stuff. And it’s made me realise that us Mums really need to spend more time on ourselves. Even if it is only for five minutes at a time (although obviously longer would be highly recommended!). It’s good for our health, it’s good for our minds, and it’s good for our families too.
Because we aren’t just Mum. We seem to lose a lot of identity when we become Mummy and it’s something that we really need to concentrate on getting back.
So here is a little list that I have put together, of things that you and I can incorporate into our lives – to help us feel a bit more like the old us and a bit less Mummy – for five minutes!
When was the last time you took some time to focus on just you?