It’s Monday morning, I’ve been up since 3.30 and I’m feeling exceptionally good. I might not have had much sleep last night but besides that I had the most refreshing, invigorating weekend I’ve had for a long time, and it didn’t involve my husband, my baby or my dog. That’s right: I spent an entire weekend away from the family. Not for work, not for family, for me. Me-time.
Does that make me a bad mom?
And if you answered yes to that question you and your high horse can just stop reading right here.
You see, for the last 10 months I have been momming to Baby J and it’s been rough. I have a very hands-on, supportive husband,but this introduction to parenthood has been difficult for me for numerous reasons relating to myself, Baby J and the Beard. And before that I had the 9 months of growing Baby J which was exhausting as well. (Anyone who tells you to sleep while you can when you are pregnant doesn’t know the first thing about trying to sleep with restless legs, a ginormous belly and a pregnant bladder).
So a few weeks ago the Beard broached the idea of him going fishing in Namibia for 2 weeks and I was all for it. I’m perfectly capable of holding down the fort while he’s gone and he’s crazy about fishing so there was no reason he shouldn’t go. At the same time I started to notice on the Interweb a number of posts and articles about self-care and identity as relating to mothers, like this post from Mommalikeme: Losing yourself to ‘Mommy’, which is usually the way the universe works with me and tries to tell me things.
It got me thinking.
Why shouldn’t I take some me-time as well?
I was tired, physically and mentally. J is still waking at night and is quite clingy during the day, plus I’m a work-from-home mom which really means I’m a working mom and a stay-at-home mom at the same time. J has not been the easiest baby and lately it has felt like I have lost myself to a certain extent. Plus we sold our house and bought a new one so that’s involved a lot of stress and energy as well. But I don’t really need to be trying to think of excuses, do I? Why shouldn’t I get some time off to relax, recharge and remember myself? (Ok, there is another reason I wanted to go away now but I’ll let you in on that secret later on in the week).
So I booked an Airbnb in Kommetjie and off I went with a friend, my Kindle and a bottle of champagne. Not a dummy, diaper or doodoo to be seen.
And it was glorious. Walks on the beach, soaks in the pool, afternoon naps, the Bachelor. I had a lot of time to myself to think and breathe and just be and the best part of the whole weekend for me was the fact that I didn’t have to think about anyone else. I didn’t have to make sure J’s dinner was defrosted, or that the nappy bag was packed, or that the dog had been for a walk, or that we had enough milk. I didn’t have to watch anyone to make sure they didn’t crawl off the stoep or eat the dog’s toys or stick their fingers in a plug. I didn’t have to listen to crying or have my hair pulled or my shoulders bitten.
None of that.
I could do whatever I wanted.
So I ate jellybeans for breakfast and pretzels for dinner, read my book in bed until 9 (!!!!!) and got sunburnt.
(The sad thing is that all seems so irresponsible and crazy and if that’s how far gone I am already… but that’s a story for another day).
What did I learn from this weekend of heavenly solitude?
- When you are alone you will never get rid of the nagging feeling you are leaving something (someone) behind.
- You will always hear your baby cry and it will take you a few seconds to realise it’s just the crazy in your head.
- Even though you are not with your baby or your husband, they will never be far from your mind. The need to know if your baby is sleeping, eating or fussing must be encoded in our DNA because I really did not expect myself to give these things a second thought once I had left the house.
- Even though you might not have read a book in a looong time, this does not mean you have forgotten how to read.
- If you take away crying babies, snoring husbands and needy dogs, your body is still able to sleep for 8 hours. In. A. Row.
- You need more than 2 days to recover from a year of interrupted sleep.
- Tea tastes better when it’s hot.
- The Beard will survive without me. And so will Baby J.
- And the kicker, Baby J sleeps better when I’m not around.
- I’m a much happier person after some sleep, sunshine and solitude.
Would I recommend taking some me-time?
Abso-frickin-lutely. I know moms who have not spent more than an hour or so away from their baby and while I commend them on their dedication, I think it’s necessary (vital even) to have some time away to recharge. Being away gives y’ou much-needed rest. You don’t necessarily need to sleep, because if you sleep every time the baby sleeps you will still never have any time for yourself, but you need to take a time-out and be by yourself. Think about yourself. Do things for yourself.
If that’s getting your nails done, reading a book, going for a run or eating a giant piece of chocolate cake when no one is watching, then do it. It’ll be even better if you can get away for a whole 24 hours or more, but your circumstances will dictate what you can and cannot do.
Will I be taking some me-time again?
You bet. As soon as the move’s over and the Beard is back from his fishing but before he goes away on his next trip, I’ll be booking myself into another little Airbnb for Me-time Part 2.