When was the last time you did something for you? As a new parent it may sound ludacris that you’d have time to do something for yourself. The days of even just sleeping and showering regularly seem like a lifetime ago, so the thought of sitting down and taking a breather can seem impossible. However, it’s actually vital for both you and baby, to take time out for you.
Why Is “You Time” So Important?
It’s common for parents to feel guilty about taking time out for themselves. However, it’s not just a luxury – it’s a vital health necessity. When you have a baby to look after, it takes up every last bit of energy. You need to be on your game and let’s be honest – how can you be when you’re mentally and physically drained?
Taking a little “you time” allows you to recharge your batteries. It provides much needed relaxation and helps you to literally stay sane. Babies are hard work. They take everything out of you and leave you feeling drained, emotional and highly stressed. Yes, it is absolutely worth it in the end, but this stress isn’t good for you or for them. They’ll pick up on your increased stress levels and become stressed themselves.
There’s also the fact that if you never experience any time for yourself, you could start to feel resentful. This resentment could be directed at a partner, family or even your baby. It’s a dangerous road to go down and can make life extremely difficult.
So, not only is you time good for your emotional wellbeing, it’s also going to improve your relationships and the health of your baby.
What Exactly Is You Time?
Ok, so now you know how important it is to experience some you time. The question is, do you know what that means? When you’ve spent so long looking after everyone else, you can almost forget what it means to look after yourself.
Let’s first establish what you time isn’t. Taking time out for you does not mean:
- Cleaning the home.
- Checking your emails.
- Taking care of chores.
If those things genuinely excite you then by all means crack on. However, real you time means doing something you actually enjoy.
Everyone is different. For some, yoga is an enjoyable activity that helps them to relax. For others it’s reading a book or going for a walk. Or maybe you’re just desperate to have a long soak in the bath? Think about what you did before you had a baby. Becoming a parent doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you enjoy.
Ok, So How Do You Get It?
It’s all well and good talking about you time but the real question you’re likely to be asking is how do you get it? When you’re struggling to get through each day and there are still a hundred and one jobs left to do, how do you fit in time for yourself?
Here you’ll find simple, effective ways to make time for you. Even if you’re a single parent, there are still things you can do to ensure you’re getting a little you time, even if it’s just a few minutes each day.
Get up just a little earlier – This idea probably sounds a lot more difficult than it is. Sleep deprivation can be a killer during the first few months. However, if you set your alarm just a few minutes early, it gives you chance to have a little breather before the day starts.
You’ll need to have done this for at least a week before you start to see just how much of a difference it makes. The first day or two you’re likely going to struggle to wake up properly but you will get used to it. Take the time to write a journal, read a chapter of your book (if you have more than a few minutes), or just lay there and enjoy the peace for a few minutes. Under no circumstances should you start your chores early! This is you time so do something that feeds your soul.
Take a night off each week – Yes you read that right, a whole night off once a week. You may want to do everything on your own, but there are people who are ready and willing to help you. Whether you take baby to their grandparent’s house or have a friend come over and babysit, taking a night off will do you the world of good. Never feel guilty for asking for help.
You can also do a lot more in a night than you can with a few minutes during the day. You could go to the movies, go out for a meal, or even just spend the night watching TV. By the next morning you’ll feel fully refreshed and ready to take on parenthood once again.
Have a pamper shower – On the days where you do actually get to have a shower, make use of those precious few minutes alone. Invest in pampering shower products and practice deep breathing techniques to release stress. It’s amazing how much good this can do.
Schedule a date for yourself – Take a look at your calendar. Is there a day coming up where you don’t have much planned? For example, a lot of days will be taken up with doctors’ appointments, routine family visits and all kinds of new parent activities. On the rare days you have nothing extra scheduled in, arrange a babysitter and organize a date with yourself.
Really treat yourself, much like you would with a night off. One of the best ways to make use of a full day and night to yourself is to book a spa day. Imagine the peace and quiet and treating your body to a range of luxury treatments. Or hey, if that’s not really your thing, why not meet up with a group of old friends and just have fun? Being around other adults, even just for a little while, is sure to be a welcoming feeling.
Overall you time is very important and it’s actually easier to fit in than you might imagine. Use the tips above to start enjoying a little bit of time for yourself. Without it you’re likely to go crazy! So what are you waiting for? Schedule a date with yourself today and see just how much of a difference it makes to your wellbeing.
You are so right. Parents specially the mother must indulge in herself because I have known mothers resenting their children and even hating them for ‘spoiling’ their life per se.
The postpartum depression could be attributed to the first four weeks after birth of the child which is normally fully devoted to the child.
Thank you for recognizing that women need “me” time. Not many men understand it.
And you’re right… women can lose their mind due to post partum depression, and what feels like “isolation” because they need to care for the baby.
A time for oneself would greatly help alleviate the depression.
You are right when we are parents we don’t have time for us anymore. I’m helping my wife as much as I can, I’m trying to offer her a time out from time to time.
In my case sometimes I go out with my friend’s to a beer or just play games online!
Good for you! Your wife is lucky. It’s really good to know you understand her needs and that you do your best to help out.
May I also suggest that you spend some time together? It would be good for your husband and wife relations as well.
I couldn’t agree more with everything that you’ve written. At the beginning, and especially during the first months I never took any time for myself and I felt like I was starting to go crazy. I started to get agitated easily and so on. That’s when I realized that I didn’t have a proper time for myself in months…
What I suggest that you do if you have a partner is – talk to him/her and discuss how each of you can have some time for yourself at least once per week. When it’s my time ”off”, he takes care of our boy and vice versa. It actually works out perfectly!
This is so right! Moms need “we” time. This will unburden all the stresses we feel taking care of our family. Being emotionally and physically stressed will be reflected in how we deal with our kids and husband also. No need to be guilty of the time you will spend away from them, it is for our own sanity. Thanks for this very nice article!
When you have a baby it is really difficult to have your own time. I am a freelancer working from home. These days I work in the nursery instead of my office. My wife is so busy in doing the baby’s laundry, cleaning the house and making baby food that she asks me to work in the baby nursery so that I can keep an eye on him. I have to abandon my work everytime the baby wakes up.