I’m an Anxious Person by Nature
In college, my perfectionism led to so much stress that I fell into a dark bout of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I’m not talking about the organizing-your-closet-by-color kind of OCD. I’m talking about the check-everything-five-times-before-leaving-the-house-or-surely-the universe-will-make-something-terrible-happen-to-you type of OCD. My mind had me in this game, and the stresses of life dictated my every move.
Fortunately, my parents saw this problem growing within me and helped me navigate my way out of the clutches of OCD. But that’s not to say that I don’t still have tendencies. In fact, I know that a lot of moms (maybe even the majority) have certain tendencies to focus-focus-focus on their children and nothing else. Carving out “me time,” however, is key—and necessary.
The Busy Mom
PTA bake sale? Sign me up.
Swimming lessons? We’ll be there.
Lunch monitor? I can do twice a week.
Playdate? Yes, we’d love to have your child over!
Sunday school teacher? Of course, I will.
Does any of this sound familiar? For a lot of us, the above is just a tiny snippet of everything we’re contributing to our children’s lives.
A lot of us also spend a great deal of time micro-managing our children’s lives. Do you have your backpack? Is your homework in it? Do you have your library book? Do you have your lunch?
We’re busy moms. But if you wrote down everything you’re doing, would it reflect that you’re doing anything for yourself?
If you wrote down everything you’re doing, would it reflect that you’re doing anything for yourself?
Carving Out “Me Time”
Chances are, you have a to-do list. Chances are, taking time out for yourself isn’t anywhere on that list.
For so many years, I considered me-time a luxury—an optional luxury at that. It’s not, though. Let me tell you that it’s OK to take time for yourself; it’s imperative.
My house may be a mess, but my sanity is intact. The world is not going to end if I decide to sit down and read a magazine for twenty minutes instead of vacuuming our living room for the third time this week.
Find Something that Feeds Your Soul
Awhile back I wrote an article about practical self-care actions for moms. There are certain things like doctor appointments that we definitely shouldn’t let go by the wayside, but we also need to find activities that feed our souls— that really get down in there and nourish us to our core.
For me, this activity is researching family genealogy. I love family history, and I love organizing old photos, researching documents, and learning about the areas and histories of where I came from. When I’m studying ancestry, I get this little fire in my belly and it’s like the rest of the world is shut out.
What feeds your soul? Maybe you’re not sure yet. Maybe you’ve yet to find that passion. In the meantime, it’s still important to take that time for yourself.
Maybe treat yourself. Richmond Moms Blog owner Christina recently wrote an article about how a massage helped her be a more patient mom. In her post, Lucretia wrote about how running helps her carve out time for herself, and Catherine wrote about how Zumba helps her recharge.
Finding Something That Gives You That Inner Spark Might Take Some Time
I know that the busier I am in my day-to-day, the less time I have to be anxious. When I was dealing with OCD, staying busy was a sweet spot for me. If I just kept as busy as possible, I didn’t have time to worry about anything.
The first time I really tried to carve out some time for myself, I ended up in tears at a local bookstore. I was bored, and I felt like I was wasting time when I could have been doing something productive. But what I learned from that day is that tears can be incredibly healing as well. I wasn’t crying because I was bored; I was crying because something in me was unfulfilled, and I didn’t know how to fix it.
If one activity doesn’t work for you, I encourage you to try another…and another, until you find something that you do truly for yourself. Being a better you will help you be a better mom, wife, friend, sister, neighbor, and woman.
I’d love for you to share what you’re going to do this week for yourself. You’ve got this, mama.