Friday, 11 September 2015

Finding Time for Me in Motherhood...


'Me time?'
Ask yourself honestly, do you get any as a parent - as a mum?

I think on this pleasant, carefree, little phrase every so often and I've got to admit, these days I struggle to identify what me time even is exactly.

Can you be a mum and still have me time?
It seems this mum is getting very little, if any, of that sweet pie.

On so many occasions, I have watched on in fascination as my husband managed to churn through novel after novel on weeknights and weekends, blissfully uninterrupted. The kids waft past him cautiously, intentionally leaving him alone and even go as far as to ask me something that could have been directly addressed to their dad.

..."But dad's reading!" They reverently chime with a respect not gifted to me outside of Mother's Day.

How does he find the time and score the magic ability to do his own thing when there's just so much to do as a parent in these high-traffic times?

What makes his 'me time' noticeably more successful than my own attempts at grabbing a slice?

Usually during these moments, the kids are everywhere, the mess is abundant, the noise incredible and all those little eyes and requests are aimed directly at me and yet there he sits at the centre of it all, rested, content and oblivious to the chaos, carefully absorbed in his rhythmic page-turning.

There's no doubt about it - he's certainly getting a decent dose of time alone.

It seems time out for dads can never be on the same level as time out for mums. (At least not in this home.)

I too have tried to read novels like my husband in these situations. After all, there's no better way than reading to define me time is there?

It's impossible to read being a mum in my house though!

I borrow books from the library. I buy them. All my good intentions for becoming absorbed in the joy of reading are excited and firing, yet somehow those books pile up and grow dusty (some accruing nasty overdue fines), or they simply go missing altogether, after my kids have done all manner of odd things with them. (Used them as skis on the carpet, treated them as TV dinner trays or carelessly kicked placed them under a table or pile of washing so that they're impossible to find if I do manage to grab a rare opportunity to actually sit and relax for a moment.)

Sadly, the wonderful idea of those books just doesn't happen for me like it does for dad and it has become a bit of a joke in our family, when I express an interest in reading something new.

So I try to watch my favourite television shows instead, which are subject to a different kind of dead-end on the me time front: Never ending interruption while my four sons bounce chaotically on the sofa next to me in the throes of their epic play fights. (It's worth noting that these always seem to begin as soon as I sit down to relax.)

Other times, I typically struggle to hear the set as the boys play their noisy video games nearby, the tinny sound of their devices scratching at my nerves, a constant source of irritation mixed uncomfortably with the aurally-strained dialogue of my entertainment.

Ever noticed how turning up the volume on the television only turns up the noise of your kids with it?

Let's not forget that I have a clingy little toddler too, who never leaves my side. Like a heat-seeking missile, she hones in on my every move. This one's finely and fiercely attuned to the tell-tale signs of my daily routine and comes running frantically at familiar sounds, like the jangling of keys (mummy's going out), rustling plastic (mummy's got treats), or silence; (mummy's snuck-off somewhere, like the bedroom, toilet or laundry and she must be found and monitored).


That's motherhood for you, in all its sweet reality. And I love it - I really do, it's just it's so constantly overwhelming and demanding when you want to chill-out don't you find?

There is one special place I can retreat to in our home however and that's my bathroom.

This room has a lock on the door.

Twice a day, I visit this special place to shower and thankfully, it's strictly alone-time for me.

Beneath the refreshing roar of the tumbling water, I can hear the distant muffled sounds of my kids thumping and shouting on the other side of that protective door and for a brief moment, oblivious to the me they naturally seek to drain at their every opportunity, I am happily removed from being the centre of their universe for ten, small minutes a day.

It's the finest 'me time' I get. ...Any longer and I would start to miss them.

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22 comments:

  1. 'Me time' is important, learnt that the hard way. When I had all littles I thought the phrase a bit selfish to tell the truth, but 'in balance' it's not. It might only be a little thing, like your shower, or a wander in the garden snapping photos but it is important, we need to nurture ourselves

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    1. It's odd how we think the phrase is selfish isn't it. It's so essential to remember yourself each day and address your own needs first. If we don't, we end up unwell and generally unhappy. And yes, it only needs to be a small moment to recharge. I think it's an inherent trait of motherhood that we want to be around our kids always but just 10 minutes thinking time alone, helps you to stand back and appreciate it all too.

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  2. I wish I could send you a pic of the tower of books on (and around) my bedside table all bought with the best intension but I'm yet to get to. I feel your frustration.

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    1. Yes - and it's not just the books either. For me there's sewing projects, craft projects and a whole lot of things I would like to plough through. Glad you have the book tower too!

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  3. You need to take those books into the bathroom with you hun.. just saying ;) xx

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    1. The thought occurred to me actually as I was writing this post! For the first time too - it's just a bit cold in our bathroom. Maybe in summer! x

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  4. I'm not a mum but I'm with Sonia - you can definitely squeeze some quality reading time in the bathroom! If it's any consolation, I don't have kids and I never have time to read. Except in the bathroom, of course! Thanks for linking up to the Ultimate Rabbit Hole.

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    1. Yep, I am considering it for the summer season. I am sure the kids will hover around the door, banging on it and slipping notes under the door!

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  5. I miss "me" time too! I agree, take your book to the bathroom! I only get time to read on the odd occasion I take a train alone these days!

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    1. I try to read when my daughter takes her day nap each day. I get one page in before I also fall asleep, only waking to my alarm when it's time to do school pick-up. I must be really tired!! It's hard to get into a book when you can only manage a page at a time. I think when bub goes into her own room eventually, I'll manage to get this valuable me space back. Reading on a train - that sounds like a true luxury to me!

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  6. So true .. My hubby seems to get his time but mine is constantly interrupted. As my kids are older, I secretly love the fact that it is still me they need to talk to, me they need when sick and me they love to cuddle( even at 15yrs)

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    1. I love that too! It's so sweet and so overwhelming.

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  7. Oh I'd kill for a lock on the bathroom! My me time is going to the gym these days, love it :)
    #TeamMM

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    1. Now gym - that's GREAT me time! Wouldn't mind joining one of those again...

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  8. lol me time on Mothers Day. What's that?! The mum/dad me time definitely sways in favour of the dad here, but I am forcing more me time a lot more lately. I deserve it!
    I am so glad my toilet and bathroom door has a lock. Some days the best thing is being able to turn that lock. It doesn't stop them standing at the door, still making demands or whining about what the other just did.

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    1. Haha! Yes! Mine too, linger by the door, wailing, shouting even opening it when I am in the toilet! (No lock on that one.) Kids excel at dobbing on one another at the most inconvenient of times!

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  9. Me time is so important. You've just got to take it when you can! #mummymondays

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  10. Me time is so very important, even in small doses. I blogged a little while ago about how I try to fit in just 10 minutes a day for myself. It's not much but it's achieveable for me and it still seems to make a difference. Books are non-negotiable for me, even if it's to wind down before bed. I also have a growing pile on my bedside table ... but I think that speaks more of my love for online bookstores haha

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    1. I have a love of all kinds of online stores!
      I will be able to read again once my toddler moves out of our room. Presently I go to sleep when she does. I am so tired by then however that I cannot imagine managing to read. Good on you for grabbing some time for you.

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  11. I found that as the kids got older, the 'me' came back. Mind you, every single night before bed I have always put 10-15 mins aside for a little reading, which often turns into longer these days, but when the kids were smaller I used to drop off halfway through the first sentence. It will come. x

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  12. Me time is absolutely important! My bub's 4 months old now and this is the only time I've been back to blogging. Soon enough, I hope to start reading books again! ;)

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