Before you are a mom, you always hear moms talking about “mommy time” or time that they should, do or want to, intentionally take away from their children to do something meaningful for themselves. I always respected this, but equated it to the time that I needed away from work or my husband to do things on my own. I never truly grasped what it meant to give every second of your waking to day to someone else- regardless of your own needs. It took about 3 months of being a mom for me to get past the tensions of self-preservation and fully give myself over to that new reality. But once I did, I knew exactly what those moms had been speaking about, and “mommy time” became a crucial part of my survival. I want to share with you some ways in which I choose to use my “me time”, in hopes that you might be inspired by a new way to take care of you!
Buy yourself a Magazine
I love reading, but as a mom it is hard for me to commit to a full novel because I simply don’t have enough time to get through it. What I have come to really love is a good magazine! I didn’t realize until I started subscribing just how inexpensive magazine subscriptions really are. I spend about $25 per year on Magazines and I get titles like Better Homes & Gardens, Food & Wine, Travel, Parents, and a ton more…every month!
Try out a new hairstyle!
This may sound silly, but I find it both relaxing and helpful! I have thick, long and naturally curly hair. That is a combination that always equals a lot of time to style. I have seen tons of different “in between wash” styles on Pinterest, but don’t always have time to take a risk on something new when I am trying to get out the door. Take some time to yourself and follow a hair tutorial, or if you are creative and talented with hair, try something from scratch! If you love it, great! You have found a new go-to. If you don’t, no big deal. You took some time to yourself.
Buy Your Baby's Necessities Beforehand
This is easier said than done, but hear me out. Certain things you just need: bibs, bottles, food, etc. Purchase a few bibs and bottles right away so you always have a clean one at hand and get different sizes too so that you wont have to scour the stores last minute when your little munchkin grows to big (only a week later). If you'e formula feeding, have enough formula on hand to last you the month. I would always make bulk orders of Holle because, well, it gave me mental freedom. I wouldn't worry about not having enough or when to order. When I was down to my last 3 Holle boxes I'd order another 12 boxes! Believe me this adds to your "me time" because when you're trying to relax but you have a little voice inside your head telling you you need to get something. Relaxing is definitely not feasible.
Go shopping! Bring home only one thing.
Along with the need for time to yourself, comes the newly tightened budget that adding kids to your life initiates. An all out mommy shopping spree isn’t really in the cards for me, but I like to spend time on my own just looking at things I want to look at. I don’t think that completely depriving yourself is the way either, though. Go on your outing knowing that you are only going to bring home one thing. This will both not deny you of your well earned retail therapy, but also ensure that you are sticking to your budget. Plus, if you are only going to bring home one thing, you are more likely to REALLY love what you are bringing home since you chose it above anything else.
Do a mask
In the natural beauty section at Walmart, there is generally always an end cap of naturally derived masks. They only cost a dollar or two and some of them are actually really great. I love masks because not only do they benefit your skin but they are a built in 20 minutes of time where you are reminded to just sit there and be. Sometimes that’s just what mommy needs! Some of my favorites are By Nature and Life of Beauty!
Go to the Grocery store…for you!
Going to the grocery store is an absolute chore when you are dragging along a bored toddler or fussy infant. It gets even harder when you’re up against the clock of nap time and lunch time. What I find really relaxing is to go to the grocery store, in the evening, by myself. I do not bring a list. I do not even necessarily need anything. I am just going to the grocery store to see if there’s a new food or wine or sample of something I want to try. Maybe I want to buy myself a cold brew for a treat the next day. It is just nice to get away and be able to treat yourself in some small way. Not to mention, if you actually do need things, there’s no crowds in your way and no kids to frazzle you and make you forget what you needed!
I think the most important part of “Me Time” is to do something that brings you a little bit of peace, autonomy and joy. If it’s an ice cream cone, a glass of wine, painted nails, a new pair of earrings or even playing a game on your phone- do it, and do it for you!
- Jennifer Akiyama