Relax. Take a deep breath. Visualise a calm stream running through your mind. Fawns gallop amidst pixie dusted marshmallow trees. And imagine a world where your three-year-old doesn’t watch you pooping. Bliss, right?
As a lot of us do, I have a lot of balls in the air. A 1-year-old, a three-year-old, a 33-year-old and a dog. So, four children under 4. (I don’t mean it, honey - love you). I run two small home-based businesses, have a super beautiful social life full of awesome friends and family, host a part-time Au Pair, and am an Avid Me Timer (sans B.S.).
Listen, I’m all about self-care and filling your own cup before you fill others’ and having Me Time. But if I have to read another article, urging me to just take a yoga class, just take a weekend away by myself, or just spend half the Gross National Product on whatever it is they’re ramming down my throat, I will, quite literally, barf. And one of my children will likely throw a toy in it.
Hey, I get it. We’re the givers. We LIVE to make everyone else’s life easier. We HATE to accept help when it’s offered - or, God forbid - ASK for it! We thrive on a bit of chaos. We get off when someone says ‘How DO you do it ALL?’ with adoration dripping from their lips. We LOVE to feel the burn(out). Maybe it’s clutching on to the last shred of I-Got-My-Shit-Together-Ness, or the ‘Yeah, I’ve had three hours sleep since last Tuesday, my children have lived off toast for at least four days straight and I managed to wash the yesterday’s mascara from my eyes around 2pm today… just look at me fly-ness’.
However. Sadly, our darling little bods and dear wee minds were not designed to sustain years of sleep deprivation, vomit-stanking, high-stress, lives. Like, I’m pretty sure the bears that chased our predecessors weren’t even THAT hard-up for a feed that they’d keep pursuing us for years on end. Surely there were rabbits or something…? I digress…
Here’s the thing about being a mum. We love our kids and we love our chaos. We even love that slightly mouldy smell all our clothes have because, let’s face it, that vomit/wee/poo/snot never fully comes out in the wash and there’s only so much perfume you can try to cover it up with before you start smelling like Aunt Betty. And it doesn’t take long when we’re on our own to start missing those little monsters and have us peeking at our phones to make sure the house hasn’t burnt down or some other catastrophe hasn’t befallen our offspring.
I’m totally an advocate for getting out - physically, mentally and emotionally - if that’s what you want or need (whether you know it or not). Sometimes you feel it in your bones. Sometimes it’s that look in your partner’s eyes. You know the one. The one that’s part fear for their own well-being if you have one more outburst, part concern for your well-being if you have to answer the question ‘but why, mummy’ one more time, and part ‘what were we thinking?’. Either way, if you get to that point (and aaaaages before then if you can), it’s time to join the club. The club of mums who get their Me Time. The Me Timers. There’s even a uniform - yoga pants, Birkenstocks and a clean tee (does not have to belong to you, obviously). Messy bun optional. You even get a badge of honour (this is the part where you take a selfie while not covered in children and make some smug remark like ‘getting a pedi’ when you post it to Instagram, Facebook AND Twitter).
Club Rules are:
- If you spy another Me Timer, you are to give a silent, knowing nod to them over your Marie Claire and double soy latte mocha vodka but never talk - this time is silent and sacred
- You must check your phone a minimum of 3 times every quarter-of-an-hour
- If you go into a shop (and please go into a shop, even just to look around without being whinged at or having to collect bits of soggy Jatz from the floor like a well-known fairytale, marking your exact path through Country Road) don’t buy anything for anyone other than yourself. Not even that super cute tee that’s on sale for Miss 3
- Apologise not
- Drink wine. If someone tells you it’s too early for wine, cut them out of your life. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your world
- Eat chocolate (or whatever it normally is that you’re hiding from everyone else - generally without any success)
- Lock the door
- Be ok with an electronic babysitter (TV, iPad, electric fence) if it means you get a breather during the day
- Ask for help. For Eff Sake. Ask for it. At the very least, accept it when it’s offered
- Pick a hobby. Just for half an hour. That should definitely be enough time to watch a few YouTube vids on crocheting, give it a burl, get frustrated with it, break your crochet hook and pour a wine. Try a different one tomorrow. I hear mouse taxidermy is on the rise
- Call a gal pal. Even if it’s just to cry down the phone and reminisce over those days when you used to be cool and glamourous
- Take yourself on a lady date. Chuck it in your calendar. Might be a nice meal that doesn’t contain the words ‘left’, ‘overs’, ’happy’ or ‘meal’. Or it might be a massage. Hell, even grocery shopping with a coffee in your hand instead of kid-wrangling down the canned fruit aisle feels a bit luxurious doesn’t it
- If you didn’t post it to social media, it didn’t happen
Now seriously, have a think about what Me Time actually means to you. Doesn’t have to be fancy, flippant, fabulous or fricking expensive. Just needs to be for you. For YOU. *insert creepy voice* YOOOOOUUUUUUUUUU*