In response to Hybrid Rasta Mama’s Mindful Mothering Challenge #5, I will share some of the ways that I get some ‘me’ time while being a devoted mum.
When Leo was only a couple months old, I didn’t really get much ‘me’ time since he would get upset if I wasn’t nearby, or even if he wasn’t held by me. He had a healthy attachment to me and this meant that I needed to be conscious of the anxiety it generated when we were separated. Every little while I tried to go out for an hour to the movies or whatnot but always within twenty minute of me leaving he would freak out and panic. I would always return promptly because his emotional needs were more important to me than any outing. And so I’ve had to find creative ways to recharge my batteries without being away from him.
My most used tool is babywearing. When Leo goes down for his naps in the morning and afternoon it is while being snuggled in my sleepywrap. I usually bounce on an exercise ball in front of the pc while listening to soothing music with the curtains drawn and do my internet business then. I take this time to check emails, FB, and blog, etc. If I try to use the pc any other time, Leo will insist on playing with the keyboard.
When I am breastfeeding in bed, usually when nursing Leo to sleep at night, I usually take a book with me to catch up on some reading. I have trouble doing so during the day because Leo likes to eat paper and enjoys turning pages in my books so reading when he is awake is difficult. I used to be able to read a novel in about two days, now I’m lucky if I finish it within a week. There are so many books I want to just power through but it is not going to happen.
I’ve been lucky for the last few months that my hubby took parental leave and has been a great help in playing with Leo so that I can have a bath or do some scrapbooking without being interrupted by a curious baby. I have to come and check up on Leo every once in a while to say hi otherwise he just crawls through the house looking for me.
In the last few months I have been able to put Leo down some times to nap without me, freeing me up to take care of housework and the like without a baby underfoot which has been great. Leo doesn’t let me do dishes if we’re in the kitchen together, since he wants to watch me which makes getting anything done very difficult. I don’t always want to carry him in a woven wrap on my back all the time either since he’s pretty heavy. Those times that I manage to sneak away are great.
To get my social meter filled back up I attend many parent-child outings in my community. I go to La Leche League meetings, attend info sessions at the Association for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth, go to playgroups at the Military Family Resource Center, as well as visit friends and go to special events in the city while babywearing. I also take regular walks around my neighbourhood and go shopping. I only attend events or places that allow me to bring Leo however. We are symbiotic, a dynamic duo, and as such have to be taken as a package deal. I am willing to patiently wait until he is emotionally ready to be without mum for a bit and he certainly isn’t right now. Besides, going anywhere without him feels strange and makes me anxious. Not exactly a great way to relax.
Since becoming a mother the way I perceive ‘me’ time has changed drastically. Before it would mean shopping for new clothing, going clubbing, seeing a concert, or reading self-help books. Now it could mean catching a nap instead of cleaning, taking the time to cook a healthy meal for us, and taking my family out to the park. My ‘me’ time has really become ‘our’ time and I’m okay with that too.