Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…
When it comes to Mom Time, we all know how it goes. “I don’t have time to do anything for myself because I am always taking care of everyone else.”
Right now you are one of two moms reading this. You either agree with the statement above and hate when people tell you that you need to “make time” (a phrase that is literal nonsense) or you are a mom who actually does have regular Mom Time and you can’t stand when the moms who can’t “make time” seem to think that they have more on their plate than you do.
Either way, I’m here to advocate for Mom Time, 100%.
Disclaimer: I do not think that Mom Time is something that is easy to accomplish, nor do I mean to imply that you should selfishly ignore your children. So for those of you looking for a comment war, take it easy.
Why is Mom Time So Important?
According to The Maternal Mental Health Coalition, 15-20% of pregnant women and women in the postpartum period (year after birth) are affected by Maternal Mental Health Disorders. That’s crazy. We need to take this seriously. It’s not just that women are moody when they are pregnant. Or that they didn’t get enough sleep last night with their newborn baby’s constant waking. In the U.S. alone we are talking about more than 600,000 women suffering from Maternal Mental Health Disorders.
Now this goes without saying, but not everyone is sharp enough to pick up on the obvious so let me clarify. I am in no way a mental health professional. If you are suffering from what you believe to be a mental health disorder, please seek medical advice from a medical profession. This post is to promote mental health for mothers in general – not to treat an actual disorder.
What The Heck?
Surely there must be a reason why so many mothers are struggling, and I’m willing to bet it’s not that they are just bored from watching reality TV and eating BonBons all day.
Personally, I need Mom Time the same way that I needed Me Time before I had my son. The only difference is how hard it is to come by. Before my husband and I decided to have a baby we both worked full-time and had hour-long commutes. That instantly provided me with two hours of time by myself a day. Granted, not my favorite way to spend it, but I gave me the space I needed. If I was able to get a little more time to myself at some point during the week that was great but the need was always met. Then came baby.
First off, my amazing husband took the full three months off with me because he was fortunate enough to have that option. So I had a newborn baby and a husband every second of every day. Neither of whom were ever really sleeping for long (ha!). I decided to stay home after having the baby so my husband went back to work. Now that meant that the Mom Time I should have got during my son’s naps was spent desperately trying to get done whatever chores I couldn’t do while he was awake. Then hubby comes home and it’s dinner, clean up, baby bedtime routine, mommy and daddy bedtime routine and bed. Bam! Day is done and NO Mom Time.
I Know I’m Not Alone
I’m sure this is something that just about every mom can relate to in some way. I think for me it’s the fact that my first thought is to do whatever “needs” to be done and focus on my husband and son first. This isn’t because I have a jerk of a husband who makes me act this way. It’s just my natural response. My husband is actually the one who insists that me taking time to shower, get ready and feel like a human everyday is more important than clean floors.
5 Reasons Why You Deserve Mom Time
1.Taking care of your body allows you to better take care of your family.
Just 20 minutes a day of exercise can potentially keep you in good enough shape to keep up with your kids. A clean diet will help support energy levels and keep your blood sugar stable, reducing moodiness. I can’t tell you how many times I realized that my snappy response to something was in direct correlation with the blood sugar spike I had from my sugary snack earlier in the day. It comes down to this: when you feel better physically, you feel better mentally.
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2. Mental clarity makes you happier and more productive
Want to be one of those magical moms who gets everything done somehow? I can’t make promises but you’ll be a lot closer with a clear head. Take 10 minutes for some deep breathing or meditation. Take a long shower and clear your mind. Whatever you do – make sure the thoughts coming in are positive. I like to use affirmations depending on the day. Some days I may do deep breathing for 10 minutes and repeat mantras such as “I accept where I am today” or “I am capable of [insert challenge here]”. It sounds silly but it really does change my outlook for the day.
3. Your mental health can affect your kids.
Ok, so I’m not a fan of guilt trips and this feels a bit like one, but I couldn’t leave it out. It’s too important and I believe it to be true. If you are struggling with your mental health, your kids can feel it. Obviously we all have bad days and I actually think it’s good for kids to see that their parents are human, but when highly negative emotions are a daily reoccurrence, it’s going to have an impact. If you can’t bring yourself to take care of you for you, then do it for your kids.
4. You just might learn something.
When you force yourself to look inward and set aside time for yourself, you often have to think a bit about how you want to spend that time. You might discover a new hobby, maybe even one that can earn an income and improve your family’s finances (like blogging!). Or maybe you discover something new that you can then share with your spouse or children. For me, self-reflection has had a huge impact on my life. I have a new outlook on who I am and who I want to be as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, you name it.
5. There is no reason not to have Mom Time!
How many days would you say you get everything done? If you get everything on your to do list done every day with precise scheduling and you truly have no additional time slots available then you’ve got me. But I’m willing to bet that’s not the case. Most of us, even those of us who are obsessed with planning and organization, end the day with at least a few items left on the to do list. That being said, what difference do you really think the half an hour you take for yourself is going to make on the outcome of your day?
Pick the least important task you were going to do today and bump it to tomorrow! At the very least take ten minutes to just sit by yourself and chill the heck out, even if that means asking your spouse or friend or whoever you are comfortable with to watch your little one(s) for ten minutes do you can drive around the block blaring whatever music you never get to listen to anymore – just do it!
These are just my top 5 reasons for Mom Time, but there are so many more! Let me know in the comments why you have regular Mom Time (or why you want to start)!