I know, I know, kids come first. But do they? In the last 6 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I learned that, although it may sound selfish, I have to put myself first. Put your pitchforks away, let me explain.
I thoroughly believe in the old adage, if you want to help someone else, you first need to know how to help yourself. If you’re a worn out and sleep-deprived mess, how can you expect to be your best for your children? I always put myself on the back burner and I know, at times, my family suffered from it. It’s OK to take care of yourself. It’s OK to need quiet time. It’s OK to say that you need to do something for YOU. After all, you are doing everything for everyone else every hour of everyday.
It took me too long to realize this, but I finally figured out that the ‘Me Time’ I thought was lost forever, was right under my nose! A few months ago I changed my routine. Not my family’s, not my kids’, but MINE. I started getting up at 5 am to go running. To be outside in the early morning fog with the sounds and smells of nature and not another human awake on my street, is absolutely liberating and refreshing! I allow myself 30 minutes to be outside with my own thoughts. I come home, bathe, iron my husband’s clothes, pack my husband’s lunch, make us coffee and sit down with my book. A GROWN UP BOOK! I know, right? And my family isn’t even awake yet! I get to be alone with myself, I get to do what I want to do, and need to do, to feel like me. After so many years of embarrassingly saying “I don’t have time to read”, I get to read a few chapters of a book with no pictures! And guess what? When my kids start to stir and come bounding into the room, I welcome them with open arms! I am chipper, I am alert, I am able to dedicate my full attention to them. I’m not groggily pulling myself out of bed and rushing to make some coffee and hushing them because I’m not ready for their questions and their chatter. I’m a happier me and a better mom. I’m available to them. All because I took time and made time for me. I’m not sure why no one ever told me this super obvious secret, but I’m glad I figured it out now, because it has solved so many morning struggles and I’ll never go back!
So, it’s ok to need time for you. But the time won’t fall in your lap, you’ll have to make the time yourself. But when you do, you’ll be a better mom and wife because you took care of you first. You’ll be happier and be able to offer more of yourself to your family.