This week has been pretty average in the Abrahams household. We’ve all been sick to varying degrees which is bad but on Saturday I was told I should avoid contact with Hugh until my test results came back so most of his care has fallen to Tim. Sunday night we has the after hours GP around as Hugh has a virus and yesterday morning Tim woke with a cold. Probably something our germ infested kidlet has shared with his Dad. Kids are gross.
Today the two germ infested males are out of house and I have found myself with some Mummy alone time. While there is washing in the machine and jobs to be done I’m also making sure that I try and look after myself for a while.
Before Hugh I was Amy “the wife/partner” and Amy “the Individual”. Now I’m also Amy “the parent” and that definitely requires most of my time. I enjoy the “parent” identity but this week in particular I have felt the lack of the other Amys in my life and I’ve become determined to rectify that. At this point I would like to point out that Tim has a very similar problem. Between work and Hugh neither of us really have much of an opportunity to have some quality time alone or apart.
I think there are a few tricks to achieve this quality time. These have been shared with me by experienced parents who seem to manage to balance their needs and their children’s needs reasonably well so I thought I would share with you. Having said that I also think it’s a balancing act that I haven’t quite got right yet so it’s a work in progress.
1. Get a baby sitter and use them!
Tim and I finally have a local baby sitter in Canberra. We met her last week and she is just a delight! I have no problem with leaving Hugh with her however I am sure that if I dallied we would never book her in unless it was absolutely necessary. So with that in mind we booked her for 2 weekends time. We have no plans yet but we also now have no excuse to not go out, just the two of us, and have dinner or go to a movie or just be somewhere together without our baby.
2. Say yes to the help!
Many people offer help to me. A lot of help. And what do I say when help is offered? “Oh thanks but that’s ok”. Sometimes it’s ok to say yes to help. If someone offers to watch your baby or run and errand or two then why not take them up on it! If it frees up a little bit of time for you to give yourself a little bit of self love then why not!
3. Redefine what’s important!
It might be getting your nails done, it might be going for lunch, it might be going to the gym, it might just be reading a book in peace. Self care is an individual thing, it’s about what makes you feel good. While it might seem silly to book a baby sitter to go to the gym perhaps find one with a crèche or some nearby occasional care you can use. Or use family and friends if you have the option. Perhaps you can take an annual leave day from work on a day that your little cherub is in childcare. Leave them there and enjoy a day to yourself!
4. It’s all about give and take!
Negotiate with your partner. It takes some timing and organising but you can both make time to look after yourselves and each other by taking turns to have your “you time”. It might be once a week, it might be once a fortnight, it might only be once a month but it can be really important that you make it happen. There is a word of caution with this one, it has to be a give and take. While it doesn’t work if one person does all the taking it also doesn’t work if you’re both determined to all the giving. Tim and I have an unfortunate habit of not wanting to relax or indulge in “me time” while the other person has Hugh. This means we both insist the other person goes first but we both feel bad that the other one misses out so in the end neither of us do it. Completely counterproductive.
5. Remember the couple part too!
Tim and I are going away this weekend for my birthday without Hugh. We’re staying at a hotel in Sydney for my birthday and Hugh is staying in Wollongong with my Mum. We try and take advantage of having family down to go out for dinner, just the two of us, to spend time talking about each other and about “us”. We feel it’s really important keep the couple part of our relationship strong. It makes us better people and better parents. Going away for the night is the ultimate in couple time and we cannot wait! And I don’t feel bad about leaving Hugh. He’s with my Mum and he will be safe, well looked after and we’ve done it before so no need for stress and anxiety.
So now that I have sprouted these words of wisdom it all sounds pretty simple. It’s not. It’s hard. But anything worth doing requires a bit of hard work.
I’m off to indulge in my me time now, might paint my nails, might watch some Netflix, might write a self indulgent blog about me time…who knows 🙂