My biggest personal revelation to date… I’m a closet introvert. Forgive me but I was under the impression that introverts weren’t allowed to like people or parties and since I love both… Obviously I must be an extrovert. Yes, not even a minor milestone can go uncelebrated in my world and yes, a good party with great people sounds fabulous to me but do you know what sounds even more fabulous…
A book. A cafe. Absolutely no one talking to me. And hours of that holy grail called ‘alone time’.
Although I truly do love people and even the buzz of a good crowd, I can only ever recharge when I’m alone. Crowds still drain me!
This used to be a lot easier in ‘ma single dayyzzz’ and even when Howard (my hubby/sexy Englishman) joined the party… But now with two kids, one who refused anything but constant breastfeeding for six months, I was finding my battery was getting dangerously low pretty quick. I was never ever alone!
Which is why six months ago, convinced my mind must have exited my body along with the baby during labour… I broke down in my doctor’s office and received an understanding referral to a PND clinic. Long story short… Amongst the joys of rehashing ones past, discovering my biggest fears and concerningly realising that my thought processes are essentially irrational, we hit the simple but neglected fact that my ‘me time’ was non existent. And for someone who can only recharge when alone, I was basically running 6 months in the negative.
Yes, my right eye might still twitch when I hear my name called (muuuuuuuuuuum….muuuuuuuuuuummmmmyyy), and there’s a chance I occasionally cry when a stain doesn’t properly wash out… But I now just read these as handy universal signs saying. ‘time to escape’ 😉
So if like the old me, and quite a lot of us really, the fear of dying from ‘mum guilt’ in the pursuit of alone time keeps you avoiding it… Read on for some life (sanity) saving advice.
- First very very crucial step: Chant this to yourself (yes, even if other people are around, any street cred left when we first got excited over half price nappies)..
Happy me, happy family… Happy me, happy family
The greatest perspective you can ever realise is how valuable you are! Yes being a mum can often seem eternally selfless but don’t let this fool you into thinking that you come last! Prioritise yourself!
- Find what makes you tick. Is it reading, exercising, watching crappy tv, the great outdoors, pillow forts? Whatever floats your boat, make.it.happen. I struggled for a long time with not having a ‘hobby’. My husband surfs, my brothers hike, my sister bakes. I felt like reading in cafes wasn’t quite justified. But the day I realised that popping out for an hour to read with a large warm cup of the good stuff literally made my whole week more manageable… Well, that’s more than enough justification for me.
- Talk to people. Express your need for some ‘me time’, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty! There’s very much a stigma around mums wanting time away from their kids, but the more we talk about how healthy it is, the better.
- It’s not for everyone. While not having a mini ‘escape’ every week is enough to give me anxiety (quite literally), for many people the idea of ever leaving their kids will do the exact same thing. Remember, it’s about finding what makes you tick, not what works for me, or your neighbour, or your mum… but what works for you.
Yes, finding time for a ‘break’ when it’s a struggle to brush your hair most days can seem laughable but it is possible! Prioritise it above laundry, cooking from scratch or painful mum groups in the park. Wiggle that weekly schedule around and you’ll find once you start prioritising your needs again that everything else will be more manageable.
A good place to start is curled up with a face mask, candles, glass of vino and catching up on seem WM reads. I can strongly recommend any articles by… ahem… Elise Willson 😉
Look after yourselves ladies.
More about Elise
“Wife to someone ridiculously handsome. Mum to sassy, hilarious little Evie and gorgeous baby Lola. Past pro events planner who you now find in my loved escape of both exploring the inspiring and FUN world of kids interiors and fashion, while writing REAL, relatable and (hopefully) humorous posts on this incredible and overwhelming parenting gig!” @_baby_bean
Elise’s Website: babybean.co