Most of us can accept that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Parenthood is a giving game, so in order to keep giving we need to make sure our cup is full.
When you have met your own needs, you feel better equipped to give to others. You feel calmer, happier and more relaxed.
Filling that cup has become known as ‘me time’. It gets put on the list of to-dos like buying milk and making sure the laundry is done. Simple right? Put it on the list and tick it off once it’s done. Bliss guaranteed.
Unfortunately, it’s not always straightforward. Below is a guide on how to make sure that your ‘me time’ brings you the ultimate peace you’re after.
Don’t let ‘me time’ be defined by the people around you
It’s important to define what ‘me time’ really is. The secret is in the name. This is a time where you get to be as selfish as you were before children. It’s time to breathe and feel like yourself again.
Let me tell you what ‘me time’ is not. It’s not grocery shopping on your own, exercise or work events. These are all normal parts of life that are required for life to keep going. Your children or partner may resist the time you spend away from the house, but simply being away from your family doesn’t mean you have time to reconnect with yourself and relax.
Define what it is that really fills your cup
Having said that, if grocery shopping on your own, exercise or work events fill your cup, then that may be your ‘me time’. I am partial to yoga classes. The point is to work out what really makes you feel good and owning it.
We’re parents now, and we don’t have time to muck about.
If building a model replica of a Millennium Falcon gives you peace, do it. You might love roller skating, karaoke or dancing around the house in your underwear … do it. It might be something as banal as watching Netflix in the middle of the day or having a nana nap.
The important thing is to understand that you are filling your cup, however you can achieve that.
Make it regular, but be ready to accept if things change
If you don’t make space for the things you love, they won’t happen. There will always be more washing to do, budgets to finesse, homework to help with, cooking to prepare. If you put something in your family diary at a regular time every week it will be more likely to happen.
And while making this commitment means it will be more likely to happen, we all need flexibility in our lives. Children will get sick, work will need you to stay back or you might just be feeling burnt out. At those moments it’s important to remember it’s ok to miss something once or twice. Try to keep perspective on the big picture and be as consistent as you can.
What you get depends on the support you have
Having time to yourself all depends on who you have around to help. You need a supportive partner, family or friends in order to take the time you need. Either that or you need a budget to pay for help.
Unfortunately, for many people that support just isn’t there. But most of us have family or friends who would help out if asked.
Sometimes the biggest step is reaching out for help. Once you’ve done that, you can start pouring into your cup, and your world will be a better place.