All parents know that having time to themselves is something that becomes a rarity when you have children. It is part of what we do to sacrifice for the better good of our children, and it’s something you give up in a way that isn’t bad since you are using your free time outside of work and other responsibilities to be with your children. Having moments with my children is something I dreamed about when I was pregnant, and now that I actually get to do things with them, and take them places and open their eyes to new experiences is something I’ll always treasure.
But… I do miss my free time, my “me” time.
Since I’m a working mom, I don’t get much “me” time to do the things I like to do – alone. Going shopping by myself is a rarity, and having a night out with friends requires careful planning weeks in advance. Motherhood is a beautiful thing, but I think women forget about themselves and their needs when they become a mom. It’s natural. It’s instinctual to be that Mama Bear who will do anything for their children at the cost of your own well-being and happiness.
However, that doesn’t mean I don’t miss my free time. I have lost some parts of myself in terms of the hobbies I had and the interests that used to take up my free time. And it’s okay… And it’s not okay. I have been trying harder to carve out more time for myself – whether that’s reading a book at night after the kids have gone to bed, or asking someone to watch the boys so I can go out alone and enjoy lunch, or honestly, just get out of the house.
Moms need “me” time. Dads need “me” time. Parents need moments alone to recharge their batteries, and put themselves first, and that doesn’t mean they don’t love my children because they want to take an hour to do something they like. I will say that I’m doing a great job of not putting myself first, and I feel the effects of stress on me.
So when I do have those hours away from my sons – like when I went to Brooklyn with one of my best friends to see the Refinery29 29Rooms exhibit – I’m very excited for a day out where I can create memories of something I did as a mom – sans children. Listen, watching 3 hours of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is what I signed up for – but sometimes, I crave adult interaction, and a moment to put on some fancy clothes. We all have something that makes us happy – whether you get your fix from going to a bar and enjoying wine, or you’re an artist or musician, or you enjoy cooking – whatever the thing is that you like to do, when you get to do it after weeks or months of not, doesn’t it makes the moment so much more… Important? To me it does.
Plus, knowing I’m now a little more relaxed after a day of doing Jen things, and going back home to my boys, I’m a better parent for it.
My point is: If you are a busy mom who feels stressed out because you aren’t doing enough for your family: Stop thinking that way, because you aren’t alone in those emotions. If you have guilt because you want some alone time – there is nothing wrong with wanting to get back a part of yourself that you’ve put on the back burner. Take it from someone who works full-time, and then takes care of twins who don’t go to bed till 8 p.m., or later, and has NO time to herself. Free time is a shower for me. Free time is going to work, which while I enjoy my job, it’s not leisure time in the sense of fun and games. And while I’m preaching to you about having solitude to do the things you love to do – I have to do a better job of investing in myself so I can be the best mom I can be for my family. There’s a reason why they call it Happy Hour, and for this mother, it’s not about the wine. It’s about the time.