Any mum (and dad), new or otherwise, is bound to go through a phase of wondering where the time went and whether they’ll ever get any to themselves ever again. I’ve been through a few of them since Tigger arrived last October and while they do come back, and with it a level of frustration, they do get easier to deal with. I’ve certainly got more realistic about what I need ‘me time’ for but the key thing I’ve learnt, and this is pretty obvious really, is that it’s the quality of the time, not the quantity, that makes the biggest difference.
If the time genie granted me a whole afternoon to myself watching TV for its entirety wouldn’t, in my opinion, be the best way to use that time. But let me have a BIG cup of tea, a magazine, a chance to do my nails, maybe read a chapter of my book (I’ve forgotten what it’s called because it’s been so long!) and/or get the sewing machine, crochet hooks or knitting needles out and I think I would count that as time well spent. And although it might need doing, because it always does, housework would not feature in my list, other than maybe putting a load of washing in the machine or put the dishwasher on.
So while I’ve not got time for a glass of wine while in a hot bubbly bath (it just isn’t going to happen again for a few years yet!) I do have three super simple ways of eeking the most out of the few moments I do get.
Get a ‘treat’ drink – And I don’t mean gin! Mine is tea and my new favourite is my recent find of Yogi Tea’s Choco tea with cocoa shells, liquorice and cinnamon with a dash of almond milk. Even if I can only catch 5 minutes, having my treat drink to hand while I take a deep breath really helps ‘make’ the moment. I’ll always try to have a magazine or my notebook within reach too, after all I may also get the time my tea has to cool as well!
Think of nothing – Meditation isn’t something I’ve ever really tried, well not properly, but I’ve recently given the Headspace free 10 session trial a go and really enjoyed it. Clearing your mind and thinking of nothing really isn’t that easy but the sense of calm I got afterwards was so nice. I don’t think it’ll be something I follow routinely, at least not with the Headspace app as I’m not sure I’d get the best out of it for what it costs, but I will adapt and use a few of the techniques and make time to do it too so I can get that calmness back.
Write a list. This may seem counter-intuitive but by writing a list of what I need to do I can get a grip and prioritise. It means that when I am able to grab ten minutes while Tigger has a nap or her Dad is looking after her, that I know I can relax, guilt free, because things are under control. Don’t get me wrong, my list is often a few points short and I do think of new things when I’m trying to relax, but adding to the list during some time-out is far from doing something on it during that time instead.
And one thing (I try) not to do – Look at my smartphone. There are times it would be convenient if my iphone was attached to me. I’ve always got it to hand incase I get a message or need to take a pic of Tigger. But that lovely 10 minutes of potential peace can vanish in a blink as you check your emails, check facebook/twitter/instagram, have a quick peek at the news headlines and then get lost in Pinterest.
And if I manage all of those I exude a fabulous sense of serenity for at least 20 minutes (depending on the nappy situation and what music is on the radio!) – I hope you might manage to too!