Can you remember the last time you sat quietly with the sunlight shining upon your face while sipping a cup of tea? Or the last time you watched the sun set and listened to birds chirp as the day turned into night? Perhaps these are not your ideals of taking a moment for yourself but with that in mind, when was the last time you truly took a moment for yourself? Alone. No distractions. To just be?
Being a mama is no joke, and being a single mama deserves more praise than I can ever express. We work hard, work hard, and work hard. But where is our play? Joy? Nourishment?
I remember the first day my ex-husband and I started our new custody arrangement with my little ones. My boys were 1½ years old and 4½ months. It was the first time I would be away from my children for longer than one night; and besides the discomfort of not being with them, I had absolutely no idea what to do with myself.
Friends (mostly single, sans children) would tell me I was so lucky to have my ex’s support and to get some “alone” time. Little did they know, I would spend my “alone” time cleaning house, paying bills, catching up on work, staring at the ceiling, and feeling really, really lonely. Where were all the awesome social events and activities I was supposed to be engaging in? Where were the invites and friends who were pumping me up not too long ago? Crickets — not that I am the party type or enjoy crowds — but I knew I needed to find myself a downtime groove and create a self-care regime that would not only allow me to connect with myself as a woman, but also strengthen my confidence as a mother.
At first, the process was slow yet steady. I began by reintroducing myself to activities I once loved and embraced the peace that could come with being with myself. Once I created a routine that felt natural and empowering, I was always in anticipation of my next alone time.
So, I ask: What does self-care look like to you?
Imagine you have been gifted with a full 48 hours of non-responsibility. No children, no work, no obligations whatsoever. How would you spend your time? Would you go to a movie? Have a spa day? Read a book? Take a long hike? What if you could have this experience regularly? Do you think you could fully enjoy every moment?
I, for one, think a time-out is a necessity for every person, as it gives us an opportunity to regroup; it also allows us to find clarity and focus in any situation. As mothers, we could definitely use a regular dosage of time-outs to help the controlled chaos that can be our world. A regular time-out can give our mothering skills a boost while supporting and nurturing our emotional and physical well-being.