It’s 5:30 in the morning and I stare at a computer screen, sleep still in my eyes and tiredness pulling at my bones. Sometimes I wonder if these early mornings are worth it – if losing those last few moments of rest really helps my sanity, or just ensures that I lose it a bit slower.
Yet as the house slumbers and the smell of coffee fills the air, I know it is. These moments are mine, and they are precious few. When my parenting journey first began, well meaning people offered advice like water, touching on everything from sleep schedules to feeding, discipline to ‘socialization’ – yet it was quiet words on personal time and self-care that struck a chord within my introverted soul. As the days and nights filled with the demands and sounds of my children, I knew I needed to heed those words – both for my sake, and for the sake of my family. I am not ‘me’ without some ‘me’ time, even if it is only a few minutes stolen before the sun rises, spent in solidarity with a cup of coffee and my imagination.
Setting my alarm an hour earlier than the rest of the house works for me. It offers me quiet contemplation time and peace from the noise of life. Self-care is vital when it comes to parenting, it is difficult to give 100% of yourself to another 100% of the time. Eventually, something will break, and more often than not – what breaks is your temper, causing guilt, hurt feelings and damaged relationships.
Finding a few moments to yourself to recharge and just breath can be a challenge. Waking up early is my trick, but it might not work for you or work for your schedule. My other Parent friends have offered up their own tips and tricks for carving out those precious few moments:
- Take a bath (light candles if you like)
- Read a book
- Go to the gym (even if it just to take a shower… alone)
- Take a walk
- Instead of cleaning the house once, sit and watch YOUR favorite show
- Hide in a closet or the bathroom (I am only half joking with this one, I have been known to sit on a stool in the bathroom with my smart phone..)
- Arrange a babysitter for a couple of hours then go for a drive
- Go for a drive,let the kids fall asleep in their seats then keep driving
- Say no to that extra commitment
All these are viable options and are ones some of my friends swear by. All can be dubbed self-care, yet few answer the time issue. If you’re like me, then your kids are with you most, if not all, of the time, and that severely limits any self-care you can incorporate into your day. My solution is getting up a bit earlier, most often an hour, but sometimes just 15 minutes. What is your solution? How do YOU find moments to yourself? Leave a comment and let me know, I am always looking for new ways to find my peace. I am a better parent when I take care of myself, and I am sure you are too.