How on earth do new mums find ‘me time’?
SHANNAN theo (15 weeks) Each week I set aside a night when my toddler is in bed and my husband is in charge of baby Theo for a couple of hours. During this time, I paint my nails. It makes me feel like a human for a little while. My sisters come over every fortnight and we spend some time watching TV, painting our nails, eating great food and chatting about non mum-related stuff. Initially, it was a struggle to find some alone-time with my firstborn, but the second time round I feel like I’ve adapted. It wasn’t instant – it took a couple of weeks to establish a routine, but now I don’t need to feed him all the time it’s definitely easier. I try to plan my time wisely, making the most of the time when they are having a nap, even if it is just spent doing household chores, on the sofa in front of the TV or catching up with a friend. JESSIE kalani (16 weeks) Once a week when my partner gets home from work, he looks after Kalani and I run a bubble bath. I love baths; they have a knack of really helping me to calm and unwind, even if it’s only for half an hour. It can be pretty tricky finding a hint of time to myself though, so on a Tuesday my mother-in-law, who lives close by, comes over and looks after Kalani whilst I head to the shops to stock up on groceries or to potter about. Finding ‘me time’ was hard at first, but now Kalani is a little older and has longer, more frequent naps, it’s easier to catch my breath and focus on myself. During naptime, I’ll also do little, quick activities that don’t take up much time. I’ll paint my nails or do my hair. I’ll catch up on my favourite TV show with a coffee or I’ll clean the house.
“NO TIME TO SHOWER? WHY NOT INCLUDE THE BABY IN THE SHOWER. WELL, NOT IN THE SHOWER ...IN THE BATHROOM. WHACK YOUR BABY IN A BOUNCER, FACING YOU IN THE SHOWER, AND GO FOR IT. CLEANSE, SHAMPOO, CONDITION – THE WHOLE NINE YARDS. YOU’LL EVEN HAVE TIME TO EXFOLIATE – FACE AND BODY. I WOULD DO THIS BEFORE MY BABIES’ FIRST NAP IN THE MORNING.” – BEC JUDD, THE BABY BIBLE
LOUISE Elara (17 weeks) ‘Me time’ is when my baby is sleeping. During that time, I relax on the sofa with a coffee whilst catching up on some TV, or I make a start on some housework. I try not to do too much as Elara doesn’t go down for long. She is generally a pretty chilled out baby. I can pop her down during the day and have some time, though recently she has started to roll over, so I have to keep darting back. ‘Me time’ definitely has its limits. Initially it was really hard to find time alone, but now she is a bit older and loves her toys, it’s become a lot easier. Joining a coffee group has really helped. I can catch up with people who just ‘get it’. We’re all in the same boat, in the same moment. The babies, being similar ages, are also all at a stage where they are starting to acknowledge each other. They’re watching us, watching each other, keeping themselves entertained, which means we can relax and have a chat. I would really recommend finding your local coffee group and going along to a meeting. You won’t regret it.
NICOLE âlucy (15 weeks) To be honest, there’s not a lot of time with a newborn, especially in those first three months. I also have a two year old so it can be limiting. As they get older and time becomes more available, I am able to find ‘me time’ in the little things. Every day I have a shower, be it quickly in the morning or at night, or I go out for a walk to get some fresh air and exercise as Lucy sleeps soundly in the pram. It’s good for my mental health and great for Lucy, too. As time goes on, it gets easier. I don’t need to breastfeed as often so time between feeds has increased. The other day I took my toddler to the movies, whereas a month or two ago this wouldn’t have been possible. Lucy would have needed feeding. The best advice I could give is to use your people, your family or your friends during this time. They are your village, your support system if you’re feeling a little alien. What’s more, they will probably only be more than happy to pitch in and help out if you’re having a bad day. MICHELLE âhudson (16 weeks) I find ‘me time’ through Kanga training. I’ve been going to classes since my baby, Hudson, was six weeks old. Essentially it’s a mum and bub fitness class where you wear baby in a carrier and do a combination of floorwork and cardio. Hudson is with me, so I guess it can’t really be classed as ‘me time’, but the babies generally sleep through and I feel amazing at the end of it. I would really recommend finding some sort of fitness class where you can take bub along as personally it has really helped clear my head. Being part of a coffee group is also great to socialise with likeminded mums in similar situations whilst not feeling anxious about being apart from baby. I also really look forward to catching up with everyone every week and have made some great, life-long friends as an outcome. But if you’re not into group classes or meetups just yet, I find a cup of coffee – while it’s still hot – a slab of Whittaker’s chocolate and a sunny spot on the sofa does the trick. TATUM âcallan (17 weeks) Finding time for myself is difficult. My three-year-old is very physically active and strong willed and my four-month-old has reflux so doesn’t sleep too well. He’s up every 2-3 hours nightly, with multiple 30-minute naps during the day. In a way, I was prepared as my firstborn had a similar body clock. As they are such hyperaware and sensitive babies, time for myself is two minutes for a coffee a few times a day with music on in the background – non-baby-related music! Or I listen to the radio in the car. Everything I do involves Callan and once the housework and toddler-related jobs are done there’s not a lot of time left. Even getting time for a shower can be difficult. Before I had my two children, I used to really enjoy running and cycling, so I plan to do this again once my little one is older. For now, I try to go for a walk with him in the front pack, where he can sleep, and I find this is relaxing.
“The key to ‘me time’ is to be honest about what makes you feel rejuvenated and what drains your energy. Mothering is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re there for the long haul, start investing in your future health.” – Kathleen Kendall-tacklett, The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood