One of the most talked about things in parenthood is how fast the time goes. One moment, you’re holding a tiny and squalling new infant who is so reliant on you, and the next they’re skipping up the path to school and waving goodbye to you without a care in the world. The time in between is usually five to six years, which sounds like an awful lot of time to wait. In reality, you blink, and you miss it. Children change from the second that you bring them home from the hospital. For a mother, time speeds by faster than ever before. Parents are often in a routine with their children from day one; feed, change, rock to sleep, repeat. It’s this type of routine and whirlwind that makes the days feel like they melt into one another. When you are dealing with a baby and a toddler or two all day long, time will go so quickly that no sooner are you opening your eyes you’ll be getting ready for bed all over again.
Time is a social construct, sure, but when you have children, it’s the one thing you don’t have enough of. There’s not enough hours in the day to grab a long and luxurious bubble bath when you’ve got children to feed and entertain. There is not enough hours in the day to go and enjoy a leisurely swim and steam at the local centre, because there are children to help with homework and put to bed. When you become a parent, your life very quickly revolves around the needs of your children, and rightly so, but you are still a person. You still have your own needs to see to and you should never feel guilty for wanting to do that. You may be a parent, but you’re still who you’ve always been, albeit a little changed due to the fact you’re have children now.
Children are a gift that not everyone is privileged to experience in their lifetime, so it makes sense that you should want to spend as much time with them and helping them as possible. However, sometimes it’s good to step away and have a moment to just take a deep breath and remember who you are. The best way to do that is to carve out the time in your day or your week to have an hour or two just for yourself. With that in mind, we’ve got a list of things that you could be doing that don’t include the children. Being inclusive is wonderful, but you need to be a little selfish at some point!
When you think of downtime, you probably don’t think about heading to the gym and busting your butt on the treadmill. The thing is, going to the gym and lifting weights or running a couple of miles can burn off frustration as well as adrenaline. Parenting is amazing, but it’s also like running head long into a brick wall: you know it’s coming, you know it’s going to be painful sometimes, but you keep running regardless of that. If you can’t find the time to get out of the house to get to the gym, wait until the children are in bed and tune in to one of Dr Paul Lam’s online lessons in Tai Chi. It’s a workout, it’s a way to meditate and it’s a way to channel any negative energy that you’ve gathered throughout the day let it go. Working out helps you to burn off those moments that you want to pull your hair out, and it also allows you to continue having doughnuts; I think that’s a win, right?
Taking two or three hours with a wonderful new book and a soft place to sit could be one of my favourite ways to escape reality. When you read a new book, you take yourself out of your world and your feet are firmly placed in the world of the writer and their characters. You can really enjoy a moment of peace and quiet when you have a book to sink into. Getting out of your reality can be a relief for the brain, especially if you are going through a particularly tough time of things. Make sure that you have an area that is lit well and has plenty of cushions and support to relax in. You should grab a healthy snack like popcorn or fruit so that while you read, you can have a little nibble!
Most of your craft supplies probably include lurid colours and pipe cleaners in fluorescence, but those are the crafts that you have with your children. If you are a creative type, then a knitting box, a crochet kit or an easel with a fresh canvas to paint on can really be something to be enjoyed. Escaping for an hour or two to enjoy something that is just yours can make a huge difference to your wellbeing. Making the time to finish that new blanket that you started and taking a moment to really focus on your painting can help you to relax and make you feel fulfilled.
Normally, I wouldn’t include a bath as something just for you. A shower or a bath is usually a basic human right; hygiene isn’t something that should be counted as a luxury! However, when you’re working, raising a family and sorting out the house, a bubble bath IS a treat. You can buy a new bath bomb and get your bath surrounded by candles and even put on music. The water can make your body feel renewed and re-energised ready for the week ahead. Plus, your skin will smell and feel amazing!
Finding the time for yourself is going to be hard, I’m not going to lie. But what you have to remember is that you DESERVE this time. Never feel guilty for taking a moment for yourself every once in a while. There is always time for you.