Full disclosure: I have always been a person who requires a lot of “me” time. I am an introvert by nature and crave quiet time to decompress at the end of a long day. Pre-baby, I had all the time in the world to leisurely leaf through magazines, binge watch my latest TV obsession, go to yoga classes, and relax in bubble baths. It was easy to unwind and focus on taking care of myself, both physically and mentally.
Life with a toddler looks a wee bit different! The first year of my daughter’s life flew by in such a blur that I didn’t even realize my precious “me” time had all but disappeared. I was in pure survival mode day to day. Within the last few months, however, I’ve been missing that time that I used to devote to myself. Without my “me” time, the little things easily stress me, my mind is a never-ending to-do list, and I’m not as present in the moment as I ought to be. I’m not the best version of myself by a long shot.
I decided enough was enough! Someway, somehow I was going to rescue my coveted “me” time! In the past few months, I have made small changes in my daily life to prioritize myself. Here are the ways I have made post-baby “me” time a reality:
- Exercise – I’m not going to lie to you, friends, incorporating a regular fitness routine post-baby is HARD, but I know it is so important. I fit in exercise around my daughter’s sleep schedule; some days that means I’m up working out at 5:30am, other days that means I’m hitting the treadmill after her bedtime, around 8:00pm. Most days I’d much rather be sleeping for an extra 45 minutes or watching some mindless TV, but I never regret a workout. I don’t have the fanciest set up; my work out area is in our basement with a treadmill, some yoga mats, resistance bands, and 5 lb. hand weights. I stream lots of free (FREE!) workouts from YouTube. Some days I’m in the mellow yoga mood; other days I have the energy for HIIT. I’m not where I’d like to be fitness wise, but I do feel SO much better being active. You don’t need a gym membership to make working out a reality; you just need some motivation!
- Reading – Pre-baby, reading was a huge part of my life. It was not unusual for me to get lost in a good book and finish it in one sitting. With a baby, time became a hot commodity, and reading quickly took a back seat. Because I can’t magically add an extra hour to the day, (though that would be the ultimate Mom superpower) I had to find a new way to get back to my favorite hobby. Enter the audio-book! I commute about 45 minutes several times a week, so audio-books have been a wonderful discovery! (Not a novel finding, I know, but they are new to me.) What used to be a stressful shuttle back and forth to work is now something I actually enjoy. There are times I drive around the block a few extra times when I get home just to finish a chapter!
- Spa Nights at Home – I’m a firm believer in the ‘treat yourself’ mantra. As mamas, we work hard; we should enjoy some pampering every now and again! I’d LOVE to visit the spa regularly, but HELLO EXPENSIVE! I create my own mini spa nights at home, which not only save a ton of money, but as an added bonus, I can wear my pajamas! I’m in my 30’s now – give me all the serums, lotions, masks, creams, scrubs, and moisturizers! Treating myself to a DIY facial is fun and girly and feels luxurious and indulgent; it is the ultimate in relaxation!
- Grocery Shopping – This may seem strange, but grocery shopping is one of my favorite forms of “me” time. Writing the list, planning out meals, and strolling through the aisles is a weird version of bliss I never knew existed. This used to seem like such a chore to me, but now I genuinely look forward to this weekly job. Effectively planning and meal prepping makes the week run so much more smoothly for my family. I am typically at the grocery store around 7:45 AM on a Sunday morning and nearly have the whole place to myself; it is downright delightful. Pre-Mommy me would have laughed at this assertion; how parenthood changes your ideas of a good time!
Women tend to put everyone else’s wants and needs before our own. Of course, I’m not saying we should be selfish all of the time, but taking 20-30 minutes out of the day for you is a good thing. For me, it makes me a better wife and mom. I am more present and intentional with the time I do get to spend with my family. My “me” time as a mom looks different than it did before because it has to, but I appreciate it so much more.