What did you do for yourself this week?
This was the question posed to us mommies at our “Play Together Learn Together” class at NOVA Southeastern University’s Mailman Segal Institute in Davie, FL. Laurie Waldman, Parent Educator for the past 32 years at NOVA asked us all, “So how was your week? Tell me, what did you do for yourselves this week?”
As all of the moms stared blank faced at each other and looked around the room in uncomfortable silence, I could almost hear the crickets start to chirp…when I blurted out suddenly, quietly and quite self-consciously, “Well, I sort of worked out today?”
“You did?!”, she exuberantly responded in her high pitched preschool teacher voice. I felt like I had just received a gold star in Kindergarten! Yep, I worked out for a whole 30 minutes, while talking to and entertaining my toddler the entire time. I was the only mom in the class out of eleven total, that had done anything for herself this week. And I was damn lucky (might I add) to get in this one lone workout this week. This is modern day motherhood.
Wait, this is motherhood?
When and how did it come to be that mom’s have fallen off the priority list? I’m not talking about putting themselves last on the list…I’m talking about not even being on the list. In this world of monumental multi-tasking, how can a mom even find the time if she wanted to? Between a career, grocery shopping, bill paying, laundry, kids, school projects, and fort building, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to just…well…”be”. Don’t we deserve more?
After this toddler class, I came home and started looking at my schedule and realized, I don’t have myself prioritized either. I’m always scheduling my activities around the school schedule, the dance class schedule, the HEAT schedule, my husband’s schedule, the nanny’s schedule…but never do I ask my family to plan around me. Why is that? Don’t I deserve more?
Are We on the Brink?
A friend of mine forwarded me an interesting article about a woman who wrote the book The Brink. The author, Katrina Alcorn, says many working mom’s are simply falling apart. “Most jobs are still made for people who have an adult at home who can take care of the kids and do the grocery shopping and fill out the school forms and attend the parent-teacher conferences in the middle of the day. That’s not how we’re living anymore.” I couldn’t agree more. It seems that with family size and expenses growing and growing, so does the need for two incomes. And while both parents working is more the norm these days, the pressure to handle the majority of the children’s care largely falls on the mother.
That’s not to say fathers don’t pitch in. There’s a large population of amazing stay at home dad’s that would trump many moms these days! And my husband is a whiz when it comes to laundry and other household chores. But as Waldman emphasized in class, it’s still a 70/30 spilt between moms and dads when it comes to kids, which is definitely true in our house. I even recently thought about going on strike, yesterday in fact, just simply because I was tired. Tired of doing dishes. Tired of the tantrums and trying to come up with another listening chart. And tired of having to get up at 5:30am just to get a workout in. Does it really have to be this hard? Don’t we deserve more?
Put ME Time on the Schedule!
So I decided a few weeks ago to literally schedule myself in. Each Sunday morning I print out our weekly schedule and write in time for me for everyone in the family to see. There might actually be a day the nanny comes this week just so I can run errands, and go hopping. (GASP) I know, right? I’m actually going to go to the mall alone, without packing sippy cups and snacks, loading in the double stroller, and lugging a heavy diaper bag. And I’m working out three mornings this week, and I implore you all to do the same! Schedule something just for you because you love it and it makes you happy. And bury the mom guilt, you deserve more!
Several top financial advisers always say the first step to managing your money is to pay yourself first. Well, think of this as an investment in your mental and emotional health, and pay yourself with time. I can’t tell you how incredibly great it felt last week to eat dinner with my husband and girls, and then leave to go to Sam’s Club. He gave them a bath and did the dinner dishes, and I cleared my head, had fun looking at the books, clothes, and toys, and came home an hour later totally relaxed. (And of course with the checkbook $200 lighter.)
Being a mom in itself is a full time job. And with all the added pressure to bring in a second or even primary income, some of us are drowning. It’s time to be OK with not making homemade cookies on cookie day, popping in chicken nuggets when you don’t want to cook, and hiring a babysitter just because you want to sit in the sun and read a good book.
So Really, What Did You Do For Yourself This Week?
I recently asked for friends on Facebook to tell me what they did for themselves this week. Here are some of the very few responses:
Thanks to these awesome women for sharing, and hats off to all three of you for taking time for yourselves!
I recently chatted with US Olympic soccer star Brandi Chastain, who is most known for her sports bra bearing celebration in 1999, when the US defeated China in the World Cup. I asked her how she balances motherhood and her career, her response?
“I make time for myself everyday, its mandatory. Sometimes its 5:00am, sometimes its lunchtime. Sometimes its only 5 minutes. Women are overworked and don’t give themselves enough credit, and feel like we have to do everything. But if we don’t care for ourselves, ultimately we are not going to be what we hoped to be. And I deserve it.”
So do I. And so do you.
This is so true. When I was working, it was 7 days a week. After my 5 days at my job, I then spent the entire weekend cleaning, doing laundry, running errands, and getting ready for the next week. It felt like I was always running and it took a toll on me. I now am at home due to an auto immune disorder, RA, and it has lessened the craziness some but it’s hard being at home too! At least I do get the time while they are in school to do things for me, but I usually wind up cleaning, running errands, cooking, etc. I need to do better at planning some “me” time – when I get burned out, the whole house suffers.
Tenns Reid says
I’ve tried to take some time out everyday to focus on something I want or needed to do. However, today I did take an extra long shower, including washing my hair an shaving while my son napped. Now, I’m off to blow dry it.
Hope you have a good weekend and that you get some rest!
Tenns @ New Mama Diaries
Janine Huldie says
Still trying to get in more me time and have to be honest it sometimes till alludes me, but still I am a work in progress on this. But thank you for the reminder here today 😉
Nicole Johnson says
My husband does hockey two nights a week and has beer with the boys after. I just told everyone that once a week I am going to head out of the house with my laptop and find a place to write and get a coffee. Now I just have to stick to it. Time to breath and think makes us happy to come home to our family!
Live from the Playroom says
this is such a good reminder!! The only way I get time for myself is staying up on the weekend evening, catching up with TGIT. So I continue the exhaustion!!
I learned many years ago while standing on the driveway in a puddle of tears for no reason other than feeling lost that I could no longer give away myself without doing something for me.
Every couple days I do something.
Long long long shower
Watch a movie of my choosing
You can’t give without getting… Otherwise you run out…
You are awesome! We had a dance party yesterday. And yes, we all run out!
Angela Cruz says
This post is so true– although I’m not a mom, I see the struggles of my friends who are mothers and how they never focus on themselves. Mothers are incredible giving, but you can’t fill up other peoples’ cups when your own is empty. Me-time is well deserved for you moms!
Thanks so much for sharing your perspective Angela! It’s nice to hear from a working woman to – and I love that quote. Luckily my cup if filling back up!
Love this!! I need to start scheduling ME time!! I really cant think of anything I have dont just for me in the past month.. let alone the week! ha!
It’s really a big deal for me Lauren. I’m blogging less (recycling old content) and really trying to workout and eat better. I’m SO much happier too! Good luck mama!
Aubrey @ 53 Weeks says
It can be so tough to FORCE myself to carve out time for myself…BUT it is so necessary…and dare I say it truly is a “break!” Even on the days when I work, it is nice to have adult conversations and be able to do things completely solo. And sometimes we all need an extra nudge and encouragement to just do it!
You know what’s weird Aubrey, most women think WORK is me time. Time to break the stigma!
This is so important, and it’s so unfortunate that so many moms feel like they don’t have time to do something for them. I don’t always get time for me, but I’d say most days I do something, even if it’s small like reading blog posts for a few minutes. Being a mom is so demanding, and we need time to regroup. Thanks for sharing!
Jenny Kanevsky says
I did the elliptical two days in a row! This is monumentally huge. Yay me.
Jill Ginsberg says
I am really protective of my “me” time and if I find it slipping due to unforeseen circumstances then my bitch switch can flip on pretty darn fast! It’s absolutely essential for me. Spin class. Massage to help with my troubled back. Time to write. A night out with friends. I’m not shy about asking for this time and luckily my partner is super supportive which makes it easier.
Where were you 5 years ago?! I needed you to teach me this!
Elizabeth - Savvy Sandwicher says
Yes!!! Self care is not selfish! We don’t find the time…we have to make it. And we will be better parents, wives, employees and caregivers. Our kids will do what we do…especially our daughters. We need to model self-care. I want to enjoy my golden years and travel!!!
Yes I love the point about modeling self care Elizabeth! Part of the reason I take my kids when I work out – so they can see how important fitness is!
Oh my gosh!! Absolutely nothing! Besides showering, but that is also for the well being of others. No one wants to be the stinky person in the room….
I feel the same way you do, exhausted and wanting to go on strike some days. Working and taking care of my family can be a tricky balancing act. Taking time for myself should not be so hard. Note taken, thanks for writing this timely reminder.
Melissa (Wading Through Motherhood) says
You’re so right! I take the dog out for a walk every night! Not too exciting but it’s something. My husband was talking about taking the kids away for a night sometime next month. I have never had a day to myself in 7 1/2 years so I am looking forward to it.
Kristen, this post is SO good. I kind of have this life philosophy right now that if I want to do something, I’m just going to do it. End of story, It came about when I started taking riding lessons again. They’re expensive, at a super awkward time in the day, and make me very, very sore. But I feel more like myself when I leave the barn than I do any other time in my life! Life is too short not to make time for the things we love. So I make the family a little more broke each month, have the hubby pick up the kids, and basically do whatever it takes…I need that in my life and I’m at a point where I don’t see the point of sacrificing these few precious hours each week. And guess what? We are finding the money and we are finding the time to make it happen because it’s important.
Pinned and sharing everywhere!
Years ago I heard my wife and friends commiserate about not having time for themselves and I couldn’t help but interrupt.
I told them you either make time or you stop complaining. I don’t believe it is impossible or that only mom can do some of the things that happen. But I do believe that moms apply pressure to themselves that doesn’t always exist.
I’ve been on a self-care kick lately, and you may have noticed. Even a hot shower here or there. A nice walk. A day off from working (I work on weekends.. sheesh) A night out. A good meal. Whatever it takes, I’m so about it.
Very inspiring and a GOOD REMINDER that I need to take some time to nurture myself. Thank you!!!
Healing Mama says
I went to MOPS yesterday. It’s two hours away from kids and I get to do stuff I like. When the kids naps I also do somethings I like. I realized I’m not a happy camper unless I get some me time. Great post!
I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do when my kids stop napping because that 1-2 hours I have to myself in the middle of the day is the only thing keeping me sane!
Contrary to so many others, I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of carving out “me” time over the years (kids are 10 and 7). Between running (when I did that), book club, serving on boards, writing, catching movies with girlfriends…I seem to make time on a fairly regular basis. It’s SO important, and thankfully I have a husband who’s on board. (I make sure he gets plenty of “me” time, too!)
i fully believe me time is important. for EVERYONE in the family. no one wins when MOMS a martyr!
Still love this!! I’m hoping to get some time this weekend!
Ugh I LOVE this post. I remember traveling to the office everyday and thinking, “once I get to stay home, that’s when I get to do the stuff I want.” And now that I am home, I keep thinking, “Can I go grab some office time so I can get my own stuff done?” I am so with you – I need to schedule me time. It will NOT just happen (so pinned that quote graphic, PS). I will NOT just “fit it in.” And I’m tired of feeling like my husband resents me and my kids are miserable when I decide to take that time. So maybe they will run around and need to play on their own while he plays video games. So what. They will still be safe, fed, and clothed. I need to get over it and make it happen.
Going to come back to this post again and again, girl! Great one!
Good for you for getting out and taking care of yourself! Just last night I was telling the Husband how constantly overwhelmed I feel. In many ways, I’m counting down the days to when the baby is three months old and can be put into child care at the gym. In the meantime, I’ve joined a mom’s night out group with some of the other moms at L’s preschool.
Kristy as Giftie Etcetera says
I’ve been taking the time to journal and exercise every day.
LOVE IT! Totally featuring this on my blog round up in the middle of the month. For me “blogging” is my me time. Not ideal, but that is the only time I have to do stuff and I use it on blogging. Once or twice a month I might get in a walk or crafting session but it’s true being a mom you just fall off the list. For my house as well, my husband is helpful, but for me to have “me” time it means we have to sacrifice other things we want to do as a family or need to get done around the house and to me that just doesn’t make sense!
Oh girl that’s hard! You need more ME time if you can. Thanks for featuring! so nice to meet you!
This is so true for ALL moms, not just moms who work outside the home.
Great article and great advise!!! I’d love it if you’d share this on Worthwhile Wednesdays Link Party!
This is a constant struggle of prioritizing myself and my own needs, so I can be a more productive, kind, and great ME. I read books this week. Guilt-free. I let the razor take a break from shaving and quickened my showers a bit, and maybe didn’t blog as much, and I thoroughly am enjoying myself! It is purely for me too- I love the quote “make time” too…It is hard to wake up so early sometimes, but I love having that alone time to get things done without distraction.
I love this comment BARRIE! I took a LONG weekend off from blogging to go on a girls trip. WOW!!