When L&H were first born I had so many people, including my own mother, tell me that I needed to find a babysitter to give me a break. I would brush it off. I didn’t understand why I would need a break. I’m a mom – there’s no break in mom life (cue: Tom Hanks in A League of their Own saying “there’s no crying in baseball!”).
But around when the twins were 5 months old, I suddenly understood that while there’s often no break in mom life….there NEEDS to be a break in mom life. Staying at home with twins is certainly the best job I’ve ever had. But at 24 hours a day, 7 days a week it’s certainly the hardest I’ve ever had. So when the twins turned 6 months old I started to put ‘me time’ on my to-do list.
We don’t have any family in the area so I found a babysitter via a local listserv. I lucked out and on the first try found the MOST wonderful, caring sitter who L&H absolutely adored – and as a still new at the time mom who had never left her kids, it was everything to know they were happy and safe. So, that was that, I had the sitter – we set a schedule for one afternoon a week – but now what? I hadn’t been alone in 6 months for an extended period of time. What would I do? Where would I go?
It felt strange to spend “me time” alone – since so much of me was now my children!
So, I started slow. Some weeks I would cook in the kitchen – alone, and uninterrupted. I enjoy cooking so this was a treat for me. Then I started to go to the grocery store alone. I’d leisurely wander the aisles browsing products and daydreaming up new dishes based on the fresh ingredients I spotted. And slowly, I got used to my “me time”.
And still, some weeks my set sitter time comes around – and I groan at the thought of having to leave the house. Why would I leave when I could just hole up at home in my workout clothes? And why would I leave – what if L&H miss me?
But you know what? Leaving the house ALONE at least once a week is crucial for my survival. And for the record L&H don’t miss me. In fact, it’s good for them to be with another caretaker – they are with me ALL the time so I think a break does them good too!
Sometimes it’s lonely. Most of my friends are either moms and/or they work – so not many people are around to hang with me at 4pm on a Wednesday afternoon. So I spend time by myself. Sometimes I run errands, or get a pedicure, or browse at stores. But more often than not, I go to local coffee shop and just hang. I catch up on emails, I write blog posts (I’m currently alone at said coffee shop as I write these very words). I get a glass of wine (or two!) or I’ll take a walk.
It’s not glamorous. It’s not exciting. But it’s 3 hours a week JUST for me. And you know what? That’s pretty luxurious in my book.
That’s the most important thing I’ve learned about “me time”. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need to have wild plans. Or even any plans at all!
Get a sitter, call a friend and offer to watch her kids today if she can watch you’s tomorrow. Go do what you want to do – even if that’s nothing. Refresh your batteries. Don’t worry about the laundry. Don’t think about dinner. (But if you’re like me I’m sure you’ll try to make at least one to-do list….but I swear I enjoy that so I count it as me time!). Just focus on you.