“Self-care is a divine responsibility.” – Danielle LaPorte
Breathe. Take a nap. Read a book. Take a bath. Putter. Do nothing at all. These are some of my suggestions to you if you have been feeling overwhelmed for far too long by your never ending to do list and the demands of motherhood. These are also many of the suggestions in Veronique Vienne’s book, The Art of Doing Nothing: Simple Ways to Make Time for Yourself.
I know taking time for yourself to do nothing is easier said than done but I really do urge you to take a page out of my book.
Meaning take the day off. Better yet escape for a day or two. Just get away.
This is exactly what I did last weekend when I left my family for 20 hours. It was suppose to be 24 hours but my husband could not hold out for even a few more hours claiming to have work to do. The only good thing about his inability to manage the kids for a full 24 hours is that he appreciates what I have to do all the time.
It’s exhausting, demanding, and requires a degree of patience that even the best of us have a hard time mustering when we’re tired, frustrated and just need a break from it all.
My husband could apparently see I needed a break from it all and suggested I go check into a hotel and take a day to myself.
I was touched and couldn’t pack my bag fast enough.
I live in Oakland, California, so knowing my time would be limited, I booked a room in San Francisco, one of my absolute favorite cities and just a short 15-minute drive from my house.
I stayed in Japantown one of favorite neighborhoods in SF, knowing that all the things I wanted to do would be a short walk from my room.
I enjoyed a peaceful dinner alone, and afterwards leisured away the evening at the Kabuki Springs & Spa in their communal bath and ended with a relaxing massage. Of course the next day I slept in a bit, read in bed and then leisurely started my day, took a walk, window shopped and finally, sipped and feasted at my favorite afternoon tea cafe – Crown & Crumpet.
It was heavenly and just what I needed. I was basking in my freedom and then Reality checked in when I got a text from my dear husband asking when could he expect me back. Oh well. I’ll take what I got which is better than nothing.
Because I am fully aware that that’s exactly what many moms get especially if you don’t have a remotely thoughtful husband or are afraid to ask for what you need or simply are not at a stage where getting away is possible like because you’re nursing exclusively.
If this is you I urge you to start viewing “me time” as non-negotiable time away from your work, daily duties, chores, and must-do’s that you take as often as humanly possible given your current situation. It can be an hour or two or a day or two. Just make it happen.
And don’t feel the least bit guilty about it either. Because self-care is a divine responsibility.
And because no matter how much or little time you can take for yourself it is absolutely vital to your well-being and sanity that you find some time for yourself.
Time to just be, to escape the day-to-day chaos, to do what you want and love to do or to simply do nothing at all. You deserve it and need it.
Some will argue that this is a luxury that most of us can’t afford. I say it’s a necessity that we can’t afford not to give to ourselves.
My children need a mommy who is patient, kind, and present. And they don’t need a crazed mama who is at the end of her rope because she hasn’t taken much needed time to nurture herself.
I personally realized that I absolutely need mini-breaks and retreats away from my family every few months. So I am vowing to myself to give them to myself more regularly. Every few months though reasonable may not be realistic all the time but I can shoot for it knowing that I will not allow more than six months to pass before I escape the madhouse. This is non-negotiable.
Of course I need to get my husband on board but I’m sure he’ll be all for a more relaxed and loving wife and mama as a result of me taking much needed me time to rejuvenate and recharge my batteries. And I’m talking real “me time” not just an hour or two when I can manage it. I personally need time away. In a hotel room. For a minimum of 24 hours. At least every six months.
I also need weekly breaks. Whether it’s going to the foot spa, getting a pedicure, going to the movies by myself, taking a walk on the beach, cozying up with a book for the afternoon while the kids are in school or taking a class.
I must do something nice for myself at least once or twice a week.
These are my non-negotiables.
What are yours? If you don’t have any, get some.
Because being a grouchy, ragged, and pleasure-deprived mama is not cute and is no fun for anyone.
In fact, just this morning my son told me, “you need to do Buddhism so you can be more calm and stop yelling.”
Well out of the mouths of babes. I best get my ass to a Buddhist temple and get my meditation on.
But seriously, though I meditate I’m not consistent and I now realize this needs to be a new non-negotiable for me – Daily Meditation. Quiet Time. 20 minutes of stillness. No more excuses.
And who am I to argue with an eight-year old. I absolutely do need to not only do this for him, I need to also do it for me. Thank you son. It’s a deal!
- Find your own non-negotiable “Me Time” groove you can get into whether it’s taking an afternoon each weekend to do something nice for yourself and/or scheduling a quarterly 24-hour getaway.
- Ask for the support you need to ensure your “me time” promise actually happens.
- Find 20 minutes each day to practice the art of doing nothing.
Extra credit: Pass this post on. Tweet it. Google + it. Facebook it. Pinterest it. Someone will love you for it!
Take care of you,