This week at the monthly La Leche League meeting, a thought of mine caught me off guard.
We were nearly finished with the formal chat session and were about to shift into play mode when one of the leaders wrapped up the conversation with one final point.
We’d been talking about integrating a second child into the mix – what it meant for our relationship with our first child, breastfeeding, night time sleeping habits, etc.
She said, “And we can’t forget ourselves! We’ve got to take care of us too. Does anyone have any tips on how to do this? How do you find time for yourself during the day?”
I immediately scoffed at the idea. Time for myself? Are you kidding? That doesn’t exist! Tips? Nope. I got nuthin’.
Of course, I didn’t say any of this out loud. I sat the question out and listened to other mothers respond.
One said, “I get up before anyone else does and take a shower. If the kids wake up, my husband can handle it until I get out. It makes me feel so much better to start the day clean.”
Another said something similar, but she woke early for a different reason. Her morning ritual was to write, drink coffee, meal plan or read while the rest of the family slept in.
Good idea, I thought. Only, I really enjoy morning cuddles. I’m more of a night owl. Although, I would really like a hot cup of coffee.
When no one else had a thing to say, I finally spoke up.
“You know, as much as I try to find a moment here or a moment there, most of the time I’m just reminding myself that this time goes by fast, and to just enjoy it. Because it’s super rare for me to get time to myself with a nursling under one and an energetic toddler. Sometimes it’s better just to say I don’t get me time right now, but this phase will pass soon and I’ll have a lifetime of time to myself later. I’m going to be wild during my 50′s!”
There was laughter around the room and a few nods.
The meeting progressed into a playgroup and I hung out with a few of my favorite locals.
Later that day, I thought back on what I had said.
Was my situation really that dire? Was I so hopeless to think quality me time was impossible?
Just to prove myself wrong, I devised a little experiment (and it worked).
I took the kids out to the porch with a few toys. Walked across and angled the gravity chair toward the sun and parked it. I made an agreement with myself that unless someone really needed something, (which was unlikely at the moment as both kids were fed, dry and well-rested) that I wasn’t going to get up.
Heck, I wasn’t even going to open my eyes (I kept them open long enough to capture these shots).
It worked! I got somewhere around 10 minutes of peace. The sunshine of my face felt amazing. I counted it as “me time,” and it felt great. Do it! Get it in while you can. It’s refreshing.
I realized it all comes down to re-framing thoughts. I could have sat in that chair and complained – said it wasn’t me time, because the me time I want is to be alone at a coffee shop with my laptop writing all day.
As soon as I told myself, ‘this is me time right now,’ that is what it became. We believe what we tell ourselves. Sometimes all it takes is a change in perspective.