Putting yourself first and why ‘me time’ is so important

Source:  Image credit: viperagp / 123RF Stock Photo
Source: Image credit: viperagp / 123RF Stock Photo

We live in a ‘me’ society.  It seems we are all obsessed with ourselves and what we’re doing now and seem to think it’s important to let everyone know instantly.  I’m not immune.  This blog is all about me, but as much as I value you my wonderful Readers, I do write for me; this is my outlet.  The fact that other people may find enjoyment or challenge what I write is an added bonus.  I enjoy creating this, making something that’s mine that I can share with others. It gives me a sense of creativity and purpose.  With every post goes a piece of me and I accept that to publish my writing is also exposing my soul in a way.  It is also hard to maintain with my busy family and work life, but I think it is important enough to carve out the time needed to do it.

This is a topic I know (from conducting scientific research – aka asking my girlfriends) is very difficult for mothers.  For one, we rarely are able to get time to ourselves without relying on help from someone else – family, friends or paid childcare to achieve it – so it’s spasmodic at best.  Then if and when we get that time we are often wracked with guilt and fret about how the children are?  What if something happens to them and I’m not there while I’m here enjoying myself alone?  I really don’t need this massage; I must hurry home and other such irrational thoughts.

There are so many demands on mothers that we tend to get used to pushing our wants or needs further and further to the bottom on the list and they never seem to reach a priority.  Eventually you can get used to it.  Aside from eroding any self-esteem you have, it quite simply is not healthy.  My view is that I am a better mother after some time to myself.  Some time where no one is calling my name, looking at me or demanding food or assistance.  Time to just remember myself and then to return to my family refreshed.

One thing I’ve learned about myself as I’ve grown older is that I know the extreme depths of my resilience.  Or, more simply, I am one stubborn nut.  It doesn’t matter to me if what I want is difficult; if I want to do it then it doesn’t matter to me what I put myself through. This is why I stay up later than I should, get up earlier than I want, scribble things down throughout the day and upload posts with Master 1 clinging to my leg and wiping snot on me.  It takes practice and commitment to make making yourself number one into a habit.  After all, how can I look after my family if I don’t look after myself?

So, I am saying ‘No’ more often.  Each time I agree to do something for someone else is less time I can spend on myself.  Every minute counts towards achieving what I want.  I want to write every day.  This is my gift to me.  To get back to what I love.  Is this selfish? Heck, no! It’s reclaiming your side of what is usually the very unbalanced scale of motherhood.  I know that you know I am not advocating that mothers abandon all responsibilities; just that they allow themselves to enjoy some  guilt free ‘me time’ as regularly as they can.

Mr Magentafrog has just asked me what I’m writing about this time.  I read him the title.  He says “What about putting me first?”, and thinks he’s funny.  See what I’m up against dear Readers? I give him a withering look over the top of my glasses, and then he says “But what about Dads’ sacrifices?”

I tell him he’ll be sacrificed if he doesn’t stop encroaching on my time!

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