You know I have only been to the hairdressers once in the last year? And that was only for a cut, because I felt bad about staying longer and getting a colour done.
I go and get a massage probably around once a month, but only after the kids are fed and tucked in bed.
I love having baths, but since the birth of my youngest daughter, the only one I have had was with her in there with me.
Some of you might look at these statements and think, “What a devoted Mum”. Others may say, “Geez, sounds like this one needs to learn to relax!” If you ask me, I’m going to tell you, “This Mum is in desperate need of some alone time”. In the words of the wise Lily Rabbit, “I know that for a fact”, because this Mum, is me.
I can be a mystery wrapped in a riddle sometimes. Desperate for “me time” but as soon as I get it, the guilt creeps in. I know I am not alone because when I posted on Instagram a couple of weeks ago mentioning how I feel, the comments I received were overwhelmingly in agreeance. There are a sea of Mums out there who need to be alone sometimes but feel terrible about it.
Stories are everywhere of Mums who have a problem leaving their children to spend some time on themselves. Why do we feel bad going to the hairdresser, going out for dinner with friends, or gasp! Spending the night away from the children? We all know how important me time is. How you “can’t pour from an empty cup” blah blah blah… We need time to rest and recuperate in order to best look after everyone else.
So why is this such a problem? Why do I feel guilty every time I spend time on me? I know the girls are going to be fine without me. I know my Husband is going to be fine with the girls – he is more than their babysitter! Maybe this is about me. Will I be fine without them?
Before I had children I was so confident that having them wasn’t going to change who I was as a person and I would always be more than “just a mother”. Yes, yes. Please stop laughing. I know. I KNOW! I have changed so much in the last couple of years I barely know who I am anymore.
So I think that’s it. I’m still coming to terms with this new version of myself. She’s softer (both metaphorically and literally), wears sneakers pretty much everywhere, and cries when she watches sappy commercials. She is used to being covered in baby spew and having unwashed hair with way too many greys poking through, but isn’t used to spending time on her like she once did. Her calendar is full of play-dates and children’s appointments with no time left to spend alone on things just for her.
But just like the old version of me managed to adjust to mum-life, the new version of me will adjust again, to allow herself to be focused on every now and then.
So to the guilty Mum reading this, I am setting us both a challenge:
- Make plans today to do something for you (I’m going to ask a friend to come and see a movie)
- Set yourself an achievable goal (I am going to have a bath once a week for a month)
- If you’re on Instagram, post about something you’ve done for yourself using the tag #nomoremumguilt – let’s spread the word that spending time on you is good for you and your family!
Now, excuse me while I go and check the movie listings for this week.