Tuesday, 29 November 2016

the importance of ‘me-time’ [other imperfections]

Since I’ve become a mum, I rarely step foot outside the house after 6pm. My Fridays have a Monday-like feeling, and lie ins on a weekend are a non-existent concept in my life’s encyclopedia. I spend every day of my flipping week running back and forth, no time to stop a little and have a breather – let alone find time to think about my own existence. I often feel I am guided by (a very effective) automatic pilot – between nappies, baths, and cooking meals. In fact, if you are brave enough to talk to me whilst I am getting my girls to bed, answering an urgent work email and still attempting to brush my teeth – all at the same time – don’t be surprised if I answer with a grunt rather than the elaborate answer you were probably expecting to receive. I’d say you’re even lucky you got an answer !

I ask myself many times how most of the mums I know can cope (a.k.a. survive!) this whirlwind of activities, chores, deadlines... and still manage to feel human at the end of the day!? Because I always get to the end of the day feeling pretty sh***y, so exhausted I just want to sleep for a whole month straight! 
I lost count of the times I had my girls already sleeping for the night, only for me to fall asleep 5 minutes into my Netflix series (and unlucky enough to (always!!) get a head injury for letting go of my phone in the process). I then only wake up the next morning (or earlier if one of the girls decides to wake up half way through the night). 
Don’t even get me started on trying to have a shower!! A five minute shower with both my girls at home is close to an Indiana Jones adventure! Either I accept that having an audience is a given, or I have to get out of my already very short shower to check on them every second of the 5 minutes. This because they are arguing or – what’s worse – because they are suspiciously quiet!

For all that and more, it is so important that we make time for ourselves (and just for us), to do the things we like the most without being interrupted, and without that daylight stress. To me, this is usually time scheduled for a Friday and Saturday night. I know I’ll have a next day that is more relaxed and without the strict timings and commitments of the school/work week. Since I started having these ‘me-time’ moments that I feel so much more optimistic about life in general, and I can face another day of motherhood with more determination and a smile on my face.
This is a time that is mine and nobody else’s, moments that I only divide with the people I want, the way I want it – but more often than not, this is a time to ‘not share’, but to watch a film instead, or to listen to some music, read a book… take a break to think about the future, decompress from a packed up day, and do whatever I really want to do. 

Since my separation, this ‘me-time’ has become an even more special thing to me, because it makes me feel like I am finally in control of my life – something that I lost a little when I got married – and all of that in my own space and time. I love these moments so much that I do not feel the need to share them with someone else. I have finally learned to be alone and enjoy this - only looking for company in my own very special terms, if needed be. 

I live for my girls, and now I also live for me. This is clearly enough now, so why should I complicate? Why change what’s already working?

All mothers should try to have a ‘me-time’ at least 1-2 times a week, to recharge energies, feed their love for themselves and improve their self-esteem. Many times we ‘sink’ our own selves under our crazy life style, spending all our time caring for so many others, but then forgetting to care for ourselves… 

by Leonor Silva Mattos

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