Being a mom is the hardest job in the world. We wear so many hats and have so many responsibilities that are not always seen by the naked eye. We are often overwhelmed and numb to outside stimuli. At this point, not only are we hurting ourselves, but we're doing a disservice to our friends and family. If you're tired and immune to emotions, your children will be especially affected by your lack of enthusiasm. It's not a luxury that detracts from your parenting station; me-time is a very-necessary, therapeutic regrouping that will return you to your station in peak condition. Here are nine things me-time can do for you:
1. Quiet: With all the schedules, parenting obligations, work demands, and more, you may find it difficult to explore your own thoughts. If you step away from the usual rigors of motherhood for just 30 minutes and allow your mind to wander, you can give yourself a break from prioritizing and planning. Sometimes we just need to be quiet and allow ourselves to just "be." Find a time in your daily life when you can arrange absolute quiet. Take a hot bath and close your eyes; enjoy the silence and allow your thoughts to drift in nonsensical directions.
2. Clarity: As mothers, sometimes we are forced to make difficult decisions or judgment calls that need careful consideration. A mom has so many thoughts jumbled together throughout the day and can usually make snap decisions on any topic, but when the subject calls for more than just a passing glance, you need to step away from the day-to-day. Take a walk, go for a drive, and eliminate all distractions to allow yourself to mull things over. The things that are truly important will become clearer to you.
3. Intention: Me-time is the key to starting your day off right. The promise of a new day begins with the sunrise. Set your alarm; get up before everyone else and stretch. Grab a cup of coffee and sit on your porch; enjoy the sounds of morning as you clear your mind. This will help you set the pace for the day and decide that the day is going to be great. When you intend for the day to be great, then it certainly will be.
4. Gratitude: We all have things to be thankful for, but when we feel constantly rushed from one thing to the next, it's hard to see how we are truly blessed. Taking some time for yourself will allow you to see what you have and be able to express gratitude for it.
5. Peace: As mothers, we feel the need to give and give of ourselves until there is nothing left, but when you spend just 15 minutes alone with yourself, you gain an inner peace that allows you to give back without feeling resentful. Giving is a major part of being a mom, and it takes great peace to do that successfully every single day.
6. A Plan: If you allow yourself some me-time, you can plan ahead for the day. If you know your daughter has soccer practice, you can create a plan to get her to that practice without feeling like you're juggling too much at one time. Planning ahead is the key to getting everything done.
7. Focus: Avoid newspapers or news programs and just focus on what's right in front of you. If you have a busy day ahead, this is the time to breathe and prepare. If you take the time to line your schedule out, you can work smart-not hard. Try to think of ways to minimize your work or things you can say to encourage your children. These subjects are often overlooked but valuable to you and your family. Without taking the time to focus, you may miss out on some great opportunities to combine chores, trips, or other tasks that could be done in less time.
8. Emotions: No matter what, don't allow yourself to become numb to your surroundings in your fast-paced, demanding life. A mother's love is all encompassing, and if you're spreading yourself too thin, great opportunities to show it are missed. Many times after the occasion is passed, we think of the things we should have said or done. As mothers, we must make time for our emotions or we will miss out on a great deal life has to offer. We are emotional beings, so it's important to embrace that and make time for those emotions.
9. Resourcefulness: Some days it takes a great deal of acrobatics just to get everything done, but when you take time out for regular me-time, suddenly you're able to create solutions in places where all you saw were problems before. If you can't shake the guilt of leaving your children behind to pamper yourself for a couple of hours, find ways to do other chores outside the house.
Go to the laundromat instead of your laundry room; buy groceries for the coming week or take your vehicle in to get the oil changed. If you blend your me-time with errands, you're multi-tasking. You create quiet time for yourself while these other things are getting done.
Spending at least 15 minutes a day by yourself is vital, as are regular dates with yourself. You should plan ahead and take an entire day away from your demanding life once or twice a month. Dating yourself is very important in order to stay in touch with who you are. Plan for a day at the gym alone; a trip to the salon or even a library can offer you a peaceful getaway. You'll be a better mom because of it.
Mia Redrick, Mom Strategist is a mom of three, author and speaker empowering one million mothers to practice better self-care. Redrick is the author of Time for mom-Me: 5 Essential Strategies for A Mother's Self-Care. For tips from The Mom Strategist visit www.findingdefinitions.com.