An hour. Sixty Minutes. Three thousand-six hundred seconds. A period of time which can go by in the flash of an eye, or can feel like a luxurious eternity. My appreciation of the humble hour has increased dramatically since becoming a parent. I have always been someone who endeavours to use time as efficiently as possible – to the extent where sometimes I have to be told to stop and switch-off for a bit. But children have a wonderful way of consuming every moment when they are awake. So these days when H is awake, my time is almost exclusively focused on her. Everything I would have previously spent several hours doing in my pre-Mum life now has to be condensed. Efficiency has been taken to a whole new level!
During our usual chaotic Sunday morning recently, I flashbacked to what a similar morning would have looked like in 2013 – a time before I had a child, before I was even pregnant. I’ve never been a late riser so would get-up at what I thought was an early hour of 7:45am. I’d go downstairs in my PJs and have breakfast. Then over a cup of tea I would spend an hour-or-so reading, listening to some tunes or watching some episodes on TV. Then I’d go get dressed and start the day. It’s in complete contrast to my mornings now…
I don’t resent my ‘new’ life at all, in any way. But it has made me treasure the time where I am not at the mercy of a strong-willed toddler. Little H’s nap time is sacred to me; I will make sure we get home before her nap so she goes down in her cot (no chance of moving her once she’s asleep!) or I will schedule visitors to arrive after she’s awoken so my ‘me’ time isn’t taken up entertaining! Yes, I know that makes me found terribly anti social but I need that break from others. Also the amount I can get done in an hour now is quite impressive. This afternoon I washed-up from lunch, cleaned the bathroom, made some muffins (for my work breakfast) and then sat down with a cuppa. Without that nap time, I’d rarely have any time just to myself. Those 60 – 120 minutes I get Frid – Mon, quite honestly keep me sane!
More often than not, part of nap time will be taken up doing chores. But over the last almost-2-years as a Mum, I have realised it’s important to be selfish now and again; To take some time for me and me alone. Most of that ‘me’ time is for me to sit down and do my blogging or exercising. But occasionally it needs to be something that takes me completely out of routine
I strongly suspect many parents are guilty of not giving themselves a regular break to focus on their physical and mental well being. It’s so easy to find more things that need doing. But whilst a snatched 5 – 10 minutes of downtime is enough on a day-to-day basis, the sometimes a bit longer is needed. Sometimes, we need an hour! So get the other half to look after the kids. Or put the get the grandparents round. Send them off to the park, or into town. Turn off your laptop, your phone and your tablet. Take 60 minutes back for yourself and do something FOR YOU!
If you’re stuck for ideas of what to do (because it’s been that long), here are some suggestions:
- Have a nice hot bath with a book and a cup of tea / glass of wine;
- Watch an episode of your favourite TV show giving it your complete attention;
- Snuggle up on the sofa and read a book;
- Do a proper workout, with a nice stretch afterwards;
- Go for a massage;
- Go and get your hair cut;
- Wander aimlessly round the shops (not buying kids clothes) and stop off for a cuppa with a magazine;
- Ring a friend you haven’t spoken to for ages;
- Bake something you really fancy eating;
How often do you get an hour just for yourself? What do you do? Or what would you do?