It’s funny how before I became a Mom, I made time for EVERYTHING my heart desired, even with a full-time job. I’d wake up early and exercise, treat myself to nice dinners, have coffee with friends, spend hours in my Mom’s art studio creating art just for fun. Maybe I’d even read a book! Becoming a Mama meant that all those activities I used to just do without any conscious planning or maneuvering of time, suddenly needed a reservation on my calendar. At first, scheduling “art” or “time with hubby” seemed counter-intuitive. I mean, who puts “create art” on their iCal from 7 to 8pm? Now here is the tricky part, putting it on my calendar was easy, it was KEEPING the appointment with myself that was the challenge.
How many times a day or week do you plan to take care of yourself, now that you are a busy parent, only to cancel on yourself, putting work or errands before all? If you have to think about it, then my guess is that your priority list looks something like this: 1. Children, 2. Relationship, 3. Work, 4. Animals, 5. House, 6. Help Friends and Neighbors, 7. Volunteer for Community, 8. Maybe have time for…more work. If this is sounding familiar, I have a simple trick to share with you, so you can put yourself at least at the number two priority level. After all, our children do come first.
Start with 15-minutes a day of uninterrupted time doing something just for yourself. If you keep a To-Do list, separate your tasks into categories and create a category called “Self-Care”. Put at least one 15-minute “self-care” task on your list and consider doing it before those errands. If daily is too much, try committing to 15 minutes for the week. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but there is something miraculous about being kind to yourself on a regular basis and all those bits of time add up. If you are worried you will cancel this little meeting on yourself, consider asking a friend or spouse to help you stay accountable. Start small (if you are a planner like me, you’ve probably already put 1 hour instead of 15 minutes – DON’T!), and take it a day or week at a time. Your persistence will pay off.
By the way, KEEPING that appointment with myself is still a challenge as I balance Parenting, Self, Partnership, and Career. I love being a Mom, I love being a wife, I love doing things I love, like dancing Hula and creating art, and I love my job. In fact, when I became Head of School for Montessori Hale O Keiki in Kihei, I felt like I became a mom again…60 times over. BUT, there is something I’ve learned in my years of learning to keep the balance that has helped me stay focused. Taking care of myself is one of the most important gifts I can give myself and my family. When I’m doing things for myself that feed my spirit, I am SO much happier, more relaxed, less stressed, and more patient. I am more connected and present to time spent with my family and more focused at work. Most importantly, my son is learning about self-care and self-respect by seeing his Mama find the balance. Take time today, even if it is just 15-minutes to do something you love or something to take care of you – trust me, it works!
Image Credit: Cadencia Photography