One of my good friends is the mother of a normal 2 year-old boy. When I say normal I mean energetic, active, loud and tumbling and running amok all over the place. Basically your “typical” 26-month-old male.
We had a luncheon yesterday that my friend was late to due to a meltdown and other toddler-related crises that prevented her from getting in the car on time. When they finally arrived, her expression displayed it all. The exasperation, the annoyance, the sheer exhaustion. When she sat down and conveyed her dismay at the evolution of her crazy morning she told us she needed just 30 minutes for herself, of quiet time. I was going to tell her I think she required much more (perhaps a whole day!) but 30 minutes is a decent start.
I always monitor my friend and her son’s progression with mesmerized curiosity, interest (and I won’t lie, a little terror) because she goes through it all a few months before me and I know that it won’t be long until I’m in her shoes (Kieran and Liam are only 8 months apart). Their experiences are a good indicator of what I have in store for me in the not so distant future. I was thinking to myself, I already barely have time to relax as it is now, how much more when my son is in the full-on terrible twos mode. If my girlfriend is any guide then I’m in for a bit of strife pretty soon.
When you become a mother, your focus shifts entirely and the most important person is no longer you but your child. This is the way it should be but along the way between diaper changes, feedings, sleepless nights, activities and your child growing up, you tend to get lost. Your identity is singularly tied to being your child’s mother. Your identity has a tendency to get left behind. But it is so important to set aside some time for yourself to reconnect to yourself as a person, as an individual, to rediscover the you that you were before baby came along. You need to have things just for yourself so that you are the best version of you not just for your child but also for your husband and yourself.
I recently went to the Farm in Batangas and I was talking to a holistic practitioner and doctor there bemoaning the fact that I had so much on my plate that “me time” (or a time to relax) was scarce treat that I really didn’t have the luxury to afford. She couldn’t overstate the importance of FINDING the time to do so for my emotional health. What she really recommended was meditation so that I could shut off the world for a few minutes to really nourish my psyche. I’ll have to work my way towards that by first finding some time to dedicate to myself.
This is a problem that most mothers face. Finding the time to decompress and sit with themselves and shut off the world. But it is one of the best and most important things we can do for ourselves and for our children. It reenergizes you and helps you refocus, gives you a dose of positive energy you may have been missing or may simply let your ears have a rest from the cacophony of noise that is life.
I made a half hearted joke to my frazzled friend that I felt her pain as the litany of noises was never-ending yesterday from Kieran wailing to the dog’s high pitched barks, to the doorbell, the phones, and people asking questions left and right. It made me want to stick my head in the pool to get a minute of peace. I was actually serious about it though, which only emphasizes how important it is to get that time to relax by yourself.
Pencil “me time” into your schedule mamas! Even if you can only afford 30 minutes out of your day. Go for a run…or have a bubble bath..walk the dog..anything that gets you alone for a few minutes. Your emotional health needs to be taken care of as much as your physical health so you can be the most optimal version of yourself and in turn the best mother to your kids.