You hear moms say that all the time don't you? In fact, you probably say it too. Sometimes, you are referring to getting it all done, but many times, you are talking about how fast your child/children are growing because it seems like just yesterday, you were taking them home from the hospital. How has your little baby gotten so big?! Where did the time go??
I think it's important to think about it sometimes because the truth is, we can't stop time. We cannot even slow it down. But we can pick and choose where we are spending our time (at least some of our time) and we can make a conscious effort to be present in our own lives because let's be honest, nobody knows what the future holds. You could have lots of time left here or only hours. Don't you want to make the most of your time? You can only do that if you are coming from a place of happiness. Whether you are a working mom or a stay at home mom, do you ever take inventory of where all your time is actually going? What are the time wasting traps in your life? How can you minimize them? And how can you find a happy balance?
When I was a working mom (I completed the last two months of the school year teaching as a new mom before becoming a stay at home mom), my time with my child was limited. I sort of felt like I was given a short amount of time in the evenings and on weekends with my daughter, so I needed to soak up every minute. I was very conscious about not getting too caught up with cleaning the house perfectly, cooking time consuming meals, and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook when I could be spending time with my daughter or including her in the errands I ran, the laundry I was doing (she loves putting the wet clothes in the dryer and closing the dryer door), and unloading the dishwasher (she likes handing me each clean plate). But, I often felt completely drained and guilty if I ever took time for myself because I had a list a mile long that of things that needed doing.
Once I became a stay at home mom, I started to spend my time making even more lists of things I should be getting done and constantly feeling like I'd never catch up with everything. I had this new guilt about being a stay at home mom, like I should be getting everything done perfectly now that this is my full time job. It was a lot of pressure and I was constantly falling short of my own expectations.
For example, during my daughter's nap time, I spent my time getting household things done. But, once my daughter woke up, I found myself still working on household tasks and not being present with her like I wanted to be. I also found myself sort of feeling like the "work" never ended. Like I never "shut down" my work laptop and was "done" with work for the night like I used to feel when I left work. My job seemed like it went on forever. I now sort of "lived" in my workplace, if that makes sense (?). And it was hard never getting any feedback about my "performance" as a mom. You are putting everything into it, yet nobody is patting you on the back, ever. I was lacking some balance. Of course, this is where the voice of reason comes in and I realized I needed some serious balance and moderation.
It's not possible to be really good at anything unless you are taking care of yourself as a mama, and let's be honest, nobody else is going to do it. Can I get an Amen?! Even the most helpful and prince-like hubby cannot read your mind and does not know what you need at all times and likely is not complimenting you on how well you change a diaper and how fast you can clean up after dinner (I'm laughing out loud at this idea!!!). So you have to make yourself a priority. Expecting others (like husbands) to fill you up when you're running on empty, is just not going to happen, and we all know that leads to arguments about stupid little things like, "Do you KNOW how hard I'm working?!".
Now I don't mean spending hours on end pampering yourself nonstop because who has time for that? I'm talking about making a little time for you. Even if you are a working mama, you have to strive for this balance. You will literally lose your mind if all you do is work and take care of others non-stop. You will start to feel totally unappreciated and frankly just worn the hell out. You will have less to give because you are exhausted and you will be less likely to enjoy the "little things" and more likely to say, "Where has all the time gone?!"It's time to start accounting for your time and being able to be present in your own life.
So what are you doing to take care of you? I want you to take this as seriously as you do changing your own child's diaper- not optional is it? And neither is your "you" time. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. In fact, sometimes just going to a coffee shop on a Saturday morning with a great book all by yourself can be dreamy. Or maybe you like to take an evening stroll by yourself and just breathe?
Some my my favorite indulgences are:
1) Going for a walk with a friend or alone
2) Girls dinner/wine night out
3) The occasional pedicure
4) A 20 minute massage in one of those massage chairs at the mall
5) Taking a warm bath and reading the latest gossip magazine
After doing these things, I feel recharged and less likely to snap, crackle, and pop on my husband if he has to work late....again. I also find that I'm a happier person, and because I'm happier, everything is a little sunnier around me. I'm able to be more present and enjoy the little things. I'm not depending on my husband to cheer me up or "fill me back up." I'm not resentful of him for not "making me feel better" because I'm taking charge of how I feel and remembering to make my happiness a priority. I don't feel guilty about this me-time, because I realize it's making all my other time, more meaningful and enjoyable.
Lastly, I will say that you can't forget that your husband also will need some of this time. Make a conscious effort to schedule time for each of you to recharge. Make your needs known to him by explaining that you will need 20-30 minutes to take a warm bath twice a week, or whatever your needs might be. Encourage your husband to take time for himself as well and schedule it a week in advance. You will be better parents and spouses to one another, and you will actually feel more appreciated by one another because you are each considering one another's happiness and you are insuring that your needs are being met instead of blowing up once you are both worn too thin and completely exhausted.
Make a tiny investment in yourself like this and you will be amazed by how much it will change your perspective and allow you to refocus on what's really important. It's time well spent. YOU. MATTER. YOUR. HAPPINESS. MATTERS. Comment below about how you take time out for you! How do you recharge?