“Me-time” is complete bull, but not for any of the reasons you may think. Yes, mothers should have time to themselves. I would even argue that it’s a necessity if we want to maintain some amount of sanity. It’s how we view what me-time is that needs to change.
Yes, me-time is the time we as mothers need alone to relax and just be (whatever that may be, individually), but it should also be taken into account that we still need to do the basic things to take care of ourselves mentally and physically that came much easier before kids. And often, unfortunately, that’s the first thing that goes out the door when we have children. So, on top of the time we want to relax, we also need to stop throwing out our needs and cutting out our me-time just because we’re not viewing general upkeep and self improvement as me-time, too.
Since kids, I often go months between getting my eyebrows waxed, years between haircuts and probably even longer than that wearing yoga pants with a hole in them.
I once put off buying razors for five months, FIVE months, and was basically running a piece of plastic up my legs in the meantime. During those same five months, plus about seven or so other months, I also managed to neglect buying myself mousse. And every single morning I actually had time to take a shower but not enough time to do something with my hair, I just sported a lion’s mane all day and thought, “Hmm, I really need to get some freaking mousse.”
So when I asked myself what exactly me-time is, while sifting through the cliché New Year’s resolutions I wanted to attempt, I didn’t know. I pictured myself sitting in a chair, scrolling through Facebook on my phone uninterrupted as my me-time, but the truth is: if that’s the only thing I consider me-time, it’s not helping anyone, especially me.
Even though I’ve always been adamant about having me-time, the basic things that should be happening to merely take care of me still weren’t getting done, and that’s inexcusable bullshit. So, instead of telling myself to utilize me-time this year, I forced myself to reevaluate what me-time really means. And here’s what I came up with:
Me-time is… doing things that will benefit and grow who I am as a person instead of just finding the most mindless thing available and doing a bunch of nothing. Instead, I should do things I enjoy in peace, like read a book or listen to an educational podcast and turn the TV off sometimes.
Me-time is… making sure that I have weekly, monthly and yearly appointments scheduled and in our family calendar so that I’m no longer going two years without a trim or shaking my head at my eyebrows every time I put on makeup in the visor mirror.
Me-time is… taking a class or going to a session, whether it be intellectual, physical or otherwise, because even though it may seem like more work, it’s work I’m choosing to further myself and my interests.
Me-time is… turning off my flipping phone every once in a while. Because my life should never be fully encompassed by work emails, Facebook feeds and texts.
Me-time is… taking the extra time and effort to make real food and consciously making healthier choices, even if that means taking time away from other areas in my life, because if I don’t take care of the actual me, there won’t be one left.
Me-time is… finishing that project I started weeks ago because even though that may also seem like more work, there’s really not many feelings that beat finishing a project. Plus, it’s helping me out in the long run, which is exactly what me-time should accomplish.
Me-time is… still, of course, Netflix binging or drinking an entire bottle of wine with a friend while reminiscing about old times (or bitching about present times), because life is about balance and moderation. As long as I’m using me-time to make sure I’m taking care of me on a basic-needs level and a relaxation level, it’s more than okay to just let loose from me-time to me-time.