When is it MY time?

mum and the kids
I am my own worst enemy.
Since becoming a mother I just forget to do anything OTHER than be a parent.
My ‘me’ time is none existent.

There was a time I thought an hour on my own wandering around the supermarket was sheer bliss because I didn’t have a child hanging off one of my legs.
I refused to do internet shopping because that hour leaning on a trolley meant precious time to myself.
I thought to myself, I love shopping because that’s my me time. The bloody supermarket!

Before that I looked forward to going to the loo, so I could shut that door and not hear ‘mummy. mummy. mummy. mummy’ in that flat, monotonous tone asking for something they’ve already asked me five times for already.
Going to the loo was my ‘me’ time.

Gone were the back massages, the hours in the hairdresser’s chair, the lazy afternoon spent painting my nails. Hell I even had time to buff, shape and sort out the cuticles.

But babies come along and those days of spending time pampering myself were long gone; I went from sleek legs to only managing to shave the one because half way through dragging that razor up your second leg you realise your toddler’s bouncing on your bed and you’ve just heard an almighty thud.
Everything has to be done efficiently and at speed. There is no pampering involved.

This photo is from about 10 years ago. Right in the heart of prime I don’t have time for me territory. Mia had just cut her own hair, Dan was starting school and I was caught up in the whirlwind of pre-school parenting. And I bloody loved it.

And as with all things children, these phases pass. I’m now in the ‘they can pretty much look after themselves and I need to stop hovering around looking for something to help them with and sort my eyebrows out’ phase.
In the daily melting pot that is family life I need to carve out more moments for me. Because if I don’t I’ve only got myself to blame.
I find myself hovering in my 13-year-old’s room helping him pack his PE kit because that’s what I’ve always done. He doesn’t actually need me; in fact he’s glaring at me with that ‘can you JUST’ face.

But here’s the thing. While they have moved onto their next phase, I’m still floundering in the past.
So these past few weeks I’ve started to grab some me time.
A face scrub here, a pedicure there. Baby steps!

But. Truth be told I am still my own worst enemy.
I’m not ready for me time even though I know it’s vital to me being me.
Because the minute I find myself with a smidge of time to myself I go off in search of one of the kids to see if they need me. Because actually, being wanted by them still feeds my soul.
My dry skin and knotted back can wait a few more years.

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21 Responses to When is it MY time?

  1. Mwa says:

    I know what you mean. I recently had a weekend ‘off’ – very necessary, but even then I never got around to using moisturiser. So I had some peace, but I still have wrinkly hands. Me time has to be learned again, I guess.
    Mwa recently posted…Weekend offMy Profile

  2. I find myself wanting abit of me time but then if and when i do get it im abit lost. Pampering yourself does sound nice though.

  3. Susan Mann says:

    I can imagine. At the different stages we are at I am struggling to find a minute of me time, but I can imagine in a few years I’ll feel lost. You are doing great and it’ll be an interesting journey to follow x

  4. I’m ok about taking time but I’m very reluctant to spend any money on myself. So whilst I indulge my daughter, I never get my hair done or do mani-pedis, and I don’t buy new clothes for me, I hardly go out in the evenings. I need to work on this.

  5. Expat Mum says:

    I’ve been a parent for 23 years. (Gulp) My youngest is now almost 13 and I forget that a) he can be left alone from time to time and b) he quite likes to be left alone from time to time. That’s my new challenge. Not immediately turning down invitations in the evenings because – Child. (I had teenage babysitters for him up until last year and then they went and moved out!)

  6. Joanne Mallon says:

    It is hard, because once you hit that point where your children don’t actually need you then you have to re-examine what is the point of you, which is quite scary stuff. But then it gets quite exciting once your oldest is old enough to babysit and you get your social life back, which you will then completely relish because you haven’t been able to do that in a long time.

    So the challenge now is to step away from the PE kit and allow your child to do it – and also to allow him to forget it and have to sort that out himself. We really don’t do our children any favours in the long run by rescuing them too much and also we need to rescue ourselves at the same time.

  7. Oh my goodness, I can so relate to this! I’ve found the last few school holidays really hard as the kids just don’t seem to need me as much and I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m not ready to leave them to their own devices and just go and do something for myself, so I feel trapped in a limbo.
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…The girls’ grammar schoolMy Profile

  8. Becky says:

    What Joanne said. I am the proud owner of two newly hatched adults – but what on earth do I do now? Nobody needs a lift, or help with anything… although I still seem to be saddled with all the cooking and laundry. It’s a weird time, which I’m trying to embrace. Maybe I should just have another baby? (JOKE!) xx

  9. I totally get that. It’s often hard to remember what I did with myself before kids! The last few days one has been away on a school trip – just having the 11 year old seemed super quiet and the workload was so much less. I found myself wondering what to do during the normally frantic after school time.

    I remember once blogging about how I loved going round the supermarket on a Sunday morning by myself – it was bliss!

  10. Adrian says:

    Reading this at the start of our parent journey is very poignant. With a two year old and anew eight week old we are on the full speed treadmill. But I know it will fly by. So we try not to moan! Our children don’t remember the intense hours when they needed us so much. I certainly don’t remember what my parents did for me. At least by blogging about those years we are capturing a time that in previous generationsection quickly became a distant memory held in a handful of Polaroids. Hope you find more ‘me time ‘ 😀

    • Tara Cain says:

      You’ve hit the nail on the head Adrian. It’s such a gorgeous time you’re at now. In fact every stage is a gorgeous time. Lots to fret and moan about, but they are all really lovely 🙂
      Tara Cain recently posted…Get busy livingMy Profile

  11. Louise says:

    I can really relate to what you are saying. It’s a difficult transition time, to remember what what did before and/or to search out what to do now. Very unsettling, but a time to look for the positives (I’m telling myself!!)

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