This weekend I went away to London for a friend’s 30th birthday. I could have just gone for the night and come straight home, left Saturday morning and come home Sunday morning. But I decided to extend the trip, leave on Friday evening and return Sunday evening. Booking the trip has made me think a lot about why we as Mama’s so often deny ourselves time away like this. Having time away from the family is hands down one of the best self care activities for any Mum.
Mama Needs More Self Care Activities
Any brief Google search will tell you that self care activities include things like;
- having a bath with candles
- reading a book
- going for a run
- going for a coffee alone
- meeting up with friends for lunch
- write a journal
- schedule ‘me time’ into your week
- do a kind deed
- do something creative
All of these are fabulous ways to take care of yourself and your mind. But what about simply getting away from the everyday? We’re so intent on having ‘me time’ that we can achieve at home, or at least relatively close to home, and why is that?
For me, a big factor is handing over control. I don’t mean control in the sense that I have some kind of ultimate Mama power that I exert over my family and am not willing to give up, I simply mean that, as Mum, I am the head of the family in a sense.
I know what everyone’s doing from one minute to the next, where the favourite toys are hiding, who has to be where and when. I know what we’re having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, who likes what, and at exactly what point during a meal Wills is likely to get bored and start throwing his food.
I know when they get cranky what the reason is, if they’re tired, bored, or hungry. I know all these things, not because I’m a better parent than their Dad, but because I spend almost every waking minute with them. I know them inside and out, their idiosyncrasies, the things that will likely set off a tantrum, when they need me to play, and when I can walk away.
But Did the World End?
Handing over the baton for an entire weekend felt strange. I’m not the kind of Mum who can’t bear to be away from her kids for more than an hour – in fact, I loved every minute of my weekend away. But I did worry.
Part of me felt guilty for leaving them, but an even bigger part of me felt guilty that Mr C wouldn’t know all the things that I know, and struggle as a result. In all honesty, there were probably moments when he did (he’d never admit it!) But is that a problem? Hell no!
They all survived, probably had loads of fun not bothering to get dressed and eating junk to their heart’s content. And if Mr C found them difficult at any point, then great! He’ll know next time that Wills just needs a cuddle around 11am because he’s hungry and tired. He’ll remember that trying to watch the football at lunchtime is a bad idea because that’s Amelia’s time with the TV.
Times Have Changed
As I’m writing this, it strikes me that it all still feels a bit 1920’s… Like Dad doesn’t know his kids as well as Mum because he spends all his time at work. Like Dad’s can’t be amazing parents because they’re just not there as much. It’s all bullshit, really.
The reality is that, yes, I spend a lot more time with them with the result being that I pick up on the smaller things. But the rest of it is in our heads. Dads are more than capable of being left with their children for more than hour without the house burning down and one of them cutting off all their own hair!
Disaster will not strike because we’re away for a night or two. They will survive, and thrive even, with a little time away.
More importantly, we will thrive. We are human beings with needs outside of our children. We have minds of our own, brains that need to be engaged in something other than a 3-year-old’s toilet habits. We are introverts, extroverts, creatives, book lovers, coffee drinkers, art fanatics, dance enthusiasts, theatre go-ers, cinema addicts, fashion gurus, and a thousand other things.
We are people.
Person First, Then Mama
I’m not saying our kids’ needs shouldn’t be a top priority. I’m saying they shouldn’t be the only priority. We’re so concerned with our kids’ well-being and development, but what about our own? And what effect does our own well-being have on our kids?
As far as I’m concerned, a little time away every now and then is good for the soul. And what’s good for the soul is good for my parenting. I have come back refreshed, energised, and ready to take on another week smashing the shit out of this being a Mama thing
that we’re really all just winging!
Maybe next time I’ll take a week… 🙂
When was the last time you took some proper ‘me time’ away? What did you do? I’m after ideas, can you tell?!