Question from Shon in Chicago, Ill.: "I am a busy wife and mom of 5. I am constantly on the go with kids, work, activities, socials...you get my drift. I love my busy and energetic life! So it is very difficult to take "me time" without feeling guilty or getting "How could you?" looks from those in my house. What is the best way (with ideas please) to take short "me time" moments during the week so that I get enough de-stressing so I don't have to run away to Barbados (or the bathroom or my mama's house) for a week just to de-compress?"
Bette's Advice: It's not uncommon for busy moms to put themselves last on the priority list. Hearing that your family is giving you "how could you" looks tells me that you have taught them that you come last. So, here's my advice to you:
First, you'll need to re-train yourself and your family! Have a Now-Hear-This Meeting to let them know that without your own love tank being filled up, there's no way you can fill their love thanks. You can't possibly take care of all that you do for your husband, your kids, for the house, for work and all of your commitments without nourishing you! Let them know that things will be different; that you'll be asking for more of their help (and do that!) and that they're sure to see a happier and healthier wife and mom as a result! It's the oxygen mask theory. If you don't put your own mask on first, you'll eventually be of no help to anyone else.
That's the easy part. The harder part is actually doing it! I assume that you are a slave to your calendar with that busy schedule of yours. Let it be your friend by actually putting an appointment on the calendar for YOU. You have to look at it as a very important appointment that can't be easily changed. Then, at your appointed time:
- Take a walk.
- Do an art project (or other hobby you haven't done in years).
- Browse through a bookstore.
- Go to the gym.
- Have coffee with a girlfriend (or even by yourself!)
- Get a pedicure .
- Take time alone with a good book.
- Visit that museum you've been dying to see.
- Take a day-trip alone or with a friend.
- Do whatever truly recharges you and nourishes your soul.
OK, the even harder part is doing it GUILT-FREE. If you were ill, you wouldn't feel guilty going to the doctor. If you needed medicine, you wouldn't hesitate to take a minute to take your pills. Look at this "me time" as preventive medicine. It is to prevent you from getting sick! Your family needs a healthy and happy wife and mom, not a martyr! Remember, those five wonderful kids are watching you and absorbing what being a wife and mother looks like from YOU! Be a role model for healthy balance.
Now, go have a good time and be a little bit selfish, for once! You deserve it!