Moms, push through the guilt and enjoy more me-time. Here’s how to quiet that voice of responsibility.
Tuesday morning, smack in the middle of the work week, I checked out of the everyday grind for five whole hours while my kids were in school, and drove out into the woods to go hiking with a few friends.
Subversive, I know.
I played hooky and it was beautiful. This is not an apology. I’d do it again. And you should, too. This is a public service announcement. Take a time-out as soon as you can and do whatever it is that makes your soul sing a little.
The park was ours, green and rainy and quiet on the trails. Empty. Just the frogs, the newts, the snails and us. Moss growing thick up the tree trunks and hanging soft and stringy from the branches.
Despite the many productive household or money-generating tasks I could have packed into those hours, I went anyway. For a friend’s 40th. For fun. For me. Like I said, subversive.
The earth did not fall out of the sky. My house is still standing. The work I didn’t do will all get done. My kids won’t be scarred for life because I went hiking midweek.
See how easy “me” time can be. Or, how easy me time should be. Because it should be easy, or at least easier than it is, for us to prioritize taking care of ourselves.
I don’t have to tell you that scheduling a yoga class or taking a walk, or swimming laps or having a girls night, or taking 15 minutes everyday to do something for yourself, will make you a happier, healthier human and a better parent.
You know this.
But, oh the guilt. The guilt.
Why is talking leisure time such a struggle? Why, why, why? This is not a rhetorical question.
I asked my 9-year-old and she nailed it.
“Adults have less fun than kids because kids can go out to a party or something like that and come home to a messy room and they don’t care if the room is messy,” she said.
Don’t get me wrong. The voice of responsibility did not rise up and ruin the day in the woods. If I had it to do again, I’d be there in a heartbeat. Twice.
But, she was right. It’s hard to take leisure time when the price is added stress on the other side. If life feels harder after a vacation, why go?
Life doesn’t stop for our pleasure. We can either take the time we need, or not. Either way, the list will be there.
Please, please, remind me next time I have a chance to take a weekday hike with friends that it’s worth it.
That my life is better for it. Remind yourself, too. The earth will not stop spinning, your house will still be standing, your family will be fine. We will all be better for it.
My challenge to you (and me)…
Enjoy More Me-Time:
1. Call, text or email a friend right now, today and make a plan.
2. Put it on the calendar.
3. Go to a movie, go to a coffee shop, go for a hike.
4. Tell the ugly voice of dissent, “It’s OK. It will all get done.”
5. Notice how good it feels to enjoy yourself.
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Photo credit: Getty