When my son was born, little did I know that my entire life would turn upside down! Right from meeting the basic needs of my body like eating and sleeping to the more easy sounding jobs like taking phone calls or even the door bell, everything looked like a humungous task. Things became more tedious as I didn’t have much support system to help me in the wee days of this daunting journey!
Everything was driving me crazy as I was half the time praying that my son would sleep so that I could manage all this. Alas! He didn’t sleep much and I became more and more panicky as a mother. It was becoming a matter of survival against the fittest! My emotional survival was becoming excruciatingly painful with the demands of the baby and without a decent support system.
My son would take twenty minutes of power nap on and off within every two hours, while feeding the rest of the time. Hence, I was trying to manage one household activity every twenty minutes of this break, while peeping into the room like an uber-lunatic mom, fearing that he wasn’t up !
The months passed and although I managed with a lot of difficulty, yet I can say I sailed through. However, the price was quite high. I was left physically and emotionally drained and exhausted and to the brink where I was not enjoying the journey anymore. Yes, I said it and although I sound like a bad mother, but I simply couldn’t evade the feeling. I don’t mean that I didn’t love my child. I loved him a lot, but I loved him a tad bit more when he slept. Not when he was up, awake, screaming his heart out and driving me crazy!
It was a difficult phase and I prayed for a “Mary Poppins”, who would help me with babysitting and rescue me from this maddening journey of parenthood.
Finally, after ten months, I was lucky, but by then the damage had already been done. My milk production had suffered because of the physical and emotional stress and as a result my baby had switched from breast to bottle.
Post the arrival of my caregiver, I started having time for my work. It was a big relief. I resumed my work and was feeling happy spending my two hours of time, reading and writing. What initially started with guilt was soon embraced with a lot of positivity from my end! I realized I felt better and less stressed out. This also helped me in enjoying my journey with my baby and planning life around him!
I had unearthed the secret to mommy hood, which was a “happy mom”! Although, I had lapped up several parenting articles before and listened to new mommy stories, I didn’t realize the basic simple tenet was to focus on myself.
Gone are the days when ‘motherhood’ was synonymous with the term ‘sacrifice’ in order to raise a happy child. Now it’s at par with the word ‘fulfillment’, which let’s face it, cannot be possible for a mother without her ‘me’ time.
A baby brings in a lot of joy, a sense of belonging, acceptance and unconditional love, which a woman doesn’t get to experience before. Nonetheless, one cannot ignore the huge change in lifestyle, adjustments, loads of compromises, not to mention some amount of turbulence with every age and stage of a child. Yet the pros, top the list than the cons and hence the joys.
However, for some the pros might be lesser than the cons. In such cases, parenting to such newbie parents is no less than a chore. For them, life after baby becomes a monotony, a routine, and even sometimes “just another duty”.
This is only when they equate the arrival of the baby to that with their loss of ‘me’ time or loss of doing things as a couple. This feeling sometimes rubs onto the child and that’s when the problem strikes. There’s doling out of anger, frustration, shouting and screaming, leading to an endless vicious cycle with time. The result is an unhappy ambience at home with an unhappy child and of course, an unhappy you.
There’s a saying, ‘an empty cup cannot pour out anything’, which is absolutely true. No matter how much you spend time with your children, if you are unable to find time for doing things that you enjoy, you will never derive a sense of happiness from within. In order to extend this happiness around you, you have to do things that make you happy first. You have to take regular doses of ‘me’ time as a medication, post mommy hood, compulsorily by fail. Whether it’s talking to a friend, or watching TV or simply switching to some headphones for some music time or a light stroll around the block, any kind of solitary time helps in rejuvenating you as a mother.
If you are a newbie mommy, then initially “me” time could also be about sleeping. Sleep deprivation is not something to be taken lightly during the first few months, especially after the arrival of a baby. For this make sure, you create a support system where you outsource your household work or other important stuff, while you spend time snoozing, eating and feeding the baby.
Forget about the messy house. Ten years down the line, it won’t matter whether your house looked clean and organized, what will matter is how well you transitioned and bloomed with your baby. Therefore, sleep and forget everything. It is your ‘me’ time during the first few months, so don’t compromise on that. It will only give you strength for later.
Once the baby’s sleep pattern regularizes, you can think of ways of incorporating things that you used to do earlier.
Do not go about bringing everything all at one go, but one step at a time, always keeping in mind about the child’s new routine. Let your life revolve around your little bundle of joy, so that your baby stays happy and those crushing feelings of guilt are always at bay.
Choose the baby’s snooze time or when he’s with some other caregiver, to plan your activities. If you like to go out for shopping or spend time with friends, plan it in a way so that the baby is happy to be with someone else. However, if your baby is an active one, then all the better. That way, you can try and plan your shopping spree with him, provided he has been well fed and rested. Later on, planning play dates for your child can be a good way of socializing and getting that “me” time too. This will be good for both you and the baby.
For the mommies, who love their solitude, it’s always best to utilize the ‘sleeping’ time of the baby. You can do your reading or chatting on phone.
i figured the concept of “me” time slightly late, but when I did, it worked wonders. It helped me look forward to each day with a lot of positivity. I had started planning my days on a regular basis, creating time for everything, while planning my time with the baby in a more efficient way.
Since I knew, I was getting just an hour in the morning to myself, I managed to utilize it more efficiently. I either did my writing work, meeting my deadlines or spent time reading. It was something I looked forward to and cherished throughout the day. Hence, taking that break for “me” time, every six hours was doing well to me and my baby.
Now my baby is three year old and understands that his mommy has to read and write on her “Tap-top”! Sometimes he struggles to take it in a positive stride, yet he co-operates in his own small way!
I now consciously spend time with myself. Hence, am able to derive that feeling of happiness from within. I feel more useful and worthy of myself than before. I take pride in being a mommy more than before.
Regular spending time with yourself will revive and rejuvenate you, making you feel adequate and worthy of yourself.
We as women, are individuals first and then a mother, wife, daughter, sister etc. In order to sustain these relationships that we hold so dearly in our lives, we need to nurture and derive a sense of fulfillment as an individual first. Figure out what nurtures you or makes you truly what you are and indulge right away.
Remember only happy mommies can raise happy children!