Just about every time I hire a babysitter, it’s so my husband and I can go to the movies. We don’t do dinners by ourselves very often or other grown up “dates” on our own (but, you know, 1 year olds aren’t very welcome at a 7:30 showing of the Avengers).
“But Katie, haven’t you said before that parents need time to themselves and time to meet their own needs?”
Why yes, dear reader, I have. But I have figured out ways to get that time to myself and to meet my own needs without having spa days or date nights. Impossible? I think not. How?
#1 I set our agenda
I’m the boss between the two of us (!), so if I’d like to go get a cup of coffee and watch people for a while, that’s what we do. Sure it isn’t always super relaxing, but the more often I take my kid to sit somewhere in public, the better she gets at it. If I feel like going to see some art, we go to a museum. She hoots around and I breathe that cool, arty air. Win-win.
#2 She naps
Today during nap (which is still going on), I watched a full hour of TV, made lasagna for dinner tonight, went to the bathroom, wrote in my journal and am now writing this post. Yesterday I slept pretty much the whole time she did. Her naps are my time to ‘play.’ She can clean up her toys when she wakes up. I’m not going to spend her nap doing her chores.
#3 I take care of myself even when she is awake
It’s not always easy to read my book or write when my dear one is awake, but I think it’s good to show her that her mom reads and writes! I don’t just switch into mom-mode the moment I hear her wake up. I’m not at her constant disposal as soon as she is cognizant. I can daydream. I can listen to music that I like. I can give her a kiss and then keep taking care of me. Maybe she’ll even learn to take care of herself (and entertain herself) because of my “wonderful” modeling.
#4 I talk to my husband when my kid is around
We can all go out to dinner because my husband and I have/make ample time for ourselves to talk even while we’re with our daughter. We even occasionally discuss things that are going on in the world. My daughter learns that this is how grown-ups communicate & that this is what love looks like. She also learns patience since she’s not the only one involved in the conversation anymore. Even though she’s young, we ask her not to interrupt us (ha!), though this will take years for her to learn, we want her to start getting the hang of it now. Our talks and our adult relationship are just as important as our relationships with her. Plus I’ve known my husband way longer than I’ve known my daughter. He has seniority (in more ways than one).
For very busy people who don’t have much time to themselves, I totally get needing to have some time off from your kids. I’m not knocking date nights, but I do think that sometimes parents forget that we’re people too. We can choose the radio station. We can say ‘no thanks’ to playing legos if we’d like to catch up on some email. We can choose what’s for dinner. We can choose to go see the new Terminator movie (without kids of course)! Finding time for ourselves doesn’t have to mean allotting ourselves the 30 minutes after they’re in bed but before we fall asleep on the couch.
Take some of your time back for you even if it’s being spent with your kids. This can be what taking care of yourself looks like. It doesn’t always have to involve holding out until the sitter gets there.
6 thoughts on “Taking care of me (you!)”
Taking care of me (you!) http://t.co/FzoHUqYP0W
I’m all about modeling reading and writing! Can you remind me (again) how to get the kidlet to put his/her own toys away? Whenever we “practice” this, it becomes a game: I put a toy in the basket, and he takes it back out with much hilarity!
Oh wait. I just found this from another post: “’Put the block IN! In the basket! The block goes IN! Nope. In here. IN IN IN!’ And on and on and on.” Hmm. Sounds like lots of repetitive fun
Totally Megan (which is why I’ve also written about annoying myself :)! You can also do “hand over hand,” holding his hand in your own, but making his hand pick up the toys, etc. Often once you get them started with this little nudge, they begin to do it themselves.
Love this! You have such a loving and sensible approach Katie and you express your point of view so clearly!
Thanks so much Freddi! So nice to hear!