Today, I’m going to give you some advice that I promise you’ve heard before. It is this:
spend time on yourself.
See, I told you you’ve heard it before! But hear me out, because I’ve got a few things to throw into this discussion.
Finding time for myself is hard.
Exhibit A: husband
Exhibit B: four small children
Exhibit C: shopping for/cooking food for Exhibits A & B
Exhibit D: activities for Exhibit B
Exhibit E: part time job
Exhibit F: bloggity blog
Exhibit G: church responsibility
Exhibit H: housework
Exhibit I: eating
Exhibit J: sleeping
Exhibit K: showering
These are all sort of in priority order. Don’t be grossed out by how low showering is on the list. I promise it gets done on the regular.
But let’s be honest, I could probably go on. We all could. We can all find plenty of things to do that are either for our families/jobs or necessary for matters of hygiene/life. They are there, always beckoning, sucking up our time and our energy and before we know it, we’ve forgotten to just…be people.
Being a person is important. I listened to a podcast recently and the guest was talking about how mothering is one of the things she does, but that’s not all there is to her. I really liked that. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m a mom, through and through. But I’m also a woman. I enjoy things that have nothing to do with wiping noses/floors/countertops/bums/windows. Wiping in general really just isn’t one of my favorite pastimes. I know — it's crazy, right?
I think it’s easy to lose yourself. I think I’ve lost myself a little bit. Not in some like heroically selfless way, but just in a “there’s so much to DO” way.
As I’ve come to realize this, I’ve also tried to come up with some ways to combat it. One particularly brilliant idea my husband had was weekly “Katie time.” During this 3-4 hour span, he’d be in charge at home, and I could do exactly whatever the heck I wanted. No questions asked.
I’ve been doing this for several months now, and guys, it’s good. I mean, I don’t want to throw around the phrase “life-changing,” but…it’s kind of life-changing.
But here’s the thing: as weird as it sounds, I’ve kind of realized that there is very much a right way and a wrong way to do “Katie time.” And since I now know how oh-so-important this time is, I’ve decided to share with you some of my tips on how to have the best “Me time” possible.
Make the time
If you had asked me a year ago if I could find three hours to myself every week, I probably would have laughed at you. The thing is, "time for you" isn't just lying around waiting for you to pick it up and use it. You have to make it -- you have to.
I know that sounds tough, especially if you've got kids to take care of. But believe me when I say this: someone, somewhere, is willing to help you make this happen. Whether it's a spouse, a friend, a sibling, or a hired babysitter -- there is someone that can help you make this happen. Don't be afraid that you don't have a "good enough" reason. Saying "I just need some time to myself" IS a good enough reason! (And if your helper has kids too, maybe consider doing a little swap!)
So anyway, plan for a specific time period. Don't just say "I'll go out sometime on Saturday," say "I'll be gone from 3-6 on Saturday." Treat it like an appointment. If the dishes aren't done or the floor isn't mopped or your latest work project hasn't been submitted...well, that's too bad. You have an appointment.
Don't run errands
Even with 9 months of regular "me" times under my belt, I still struggle with this one. But you've got to trust me on this: don't use your time to run errands. I know how tempting it is to run to the grocery store when you're kid-free, or to go to the Post Office to finally mail that package, or to return those Christmas presents now that it's July, or whatever.
But here's the thing: if you use that time to run errands, you're not really filling the purpose of "me time." You're doing stuff that would get done eventually anyway (never mind that it would take three times as long with your kids in tow); and honestly, a few times when I've broken this rule, I've ended up feeling resentful that I spent the only time I had to myself, doing stuff for other people.
Of course, if you're actually recharged by those things, and there's nothing else you'd rather be doing than running those errands, you can make the occasional exception. Just don't forget: this time is all about you. Do something that you enjoy -- something that will help you relax and that won't get done otherwise.
Let go of guilt
My husband is laughing his head off right now, because trust me, I am in no position to give anyone advice about not feeling guilty. "The struggle is real" only begins to approach how big of a problem "guilt" is for me.
Here's the thing that helps me when I can remember it: my "me time" keeps me sane. It recharges my patience and gives my brain a chance to slow down. It helps me feel appreciated and even a little spoiled. It makes me feel human and just flat-out happier. And when I feel those things, I'm a better, nicer, calmer person. I just am.
It's really, super, incredibly hard to let go of guilt. I am fighting that battle constantly. But you (and I) have to realize that you deserve to do things that make you happy, for no other reason than that they make you happy. Because you're a human being, goshdangit.
So there are my three biggest tips for doing "me" time the right way. If you've been feeling a little more like a wife/mom/housekeeper/employee and less like a YOU, you should try it. And let me know what works for you and what doesn't when it comes to "me" time; it's an art that we're all trying to perfect!