Taking Care of Yourself – The importance of Recharging
Have you ever put a week of your life on a spreadsheet and accounted for every hour of your time? Have you ever tried to find time for the “ME” in your life somewhere on that spreadsheet? I have. In fact, I’ve faced the spreadsheet many times over the years because my family’s changing needs could ALWAYS fill the time I had—if I let them.
What I had to learn, which seems to be true for most moms, was how to find time for myself. I wanted to be the best mommy ever, but I wanted to achieve in other areas too. Staring at those spreadsheets always put me in a quandary. Why did there have to be only 24 hours in a day? And who made the rule that I had to sleep for 8 of them?
What was rational on paper was irrational in real life. Something as simple as taking a shower was a production. However, once I mastered that, the next priority was a guilt-inducing vanity. I wanted my body back. The baby was the light of my life, but my body did not need to be living proof as to how she got here. Even the trimmest among us has a slightly bigger foot, wider hips, and reshaped breasts, owing to the miraculous experience of childbirth.
So, this is where the notion of “ME” time got started; calculating when and where I could get in an hour of fitness 3 times a week, in service to my physical restoration. Like many women who contributed essays to the 2011 anthology TORN, I was looking for guilt-free time, preferably when my baby was asleep.
Then I made a mistake. I calculated that my exercise time for the year would amount to about 31 “baby days.” ONE MONTH!!! Without me? How could I justify that? It just seemed so wrong. Fortunately that’s what friends, mothers, and wise women are for. Here are some truths they gave me that I would like to share:
- Someone (and sometimes it’s your deprived husband) will tell you that the baby will be perfectly alright without your constant hovering.
- Not only can you take 5 hours a week for workouts, but your child will flourish if you take even larger blocks of time to go to work, out to dinner with friends, or even a grown-ups vacation.
- Your ME time will give your baby the valuable opportunity to become adaptable; spending time with Dad, grandparents, or other devoted caregivers. If you want to want to leave instructions on things to do with baby show them how to use your resource rich environment, including your Baby Einstein toys and books. They can read to baby, play with a Baby Einstein Bendy Ball, or discover music and melodies on the Baby Einstein Music Activity Table.
Most importantly, ME time is not “found” time. It is “deserved” time to recharge and reinvigorate your whole self, including your identity as a good mother. You will find that no matter what, your baby will love you flat out unconditionally. Taking time for yourself doesn’t change that certainty. You are Mom, the one and only.