…”He never tells his wife he has annual leave, she thinks he has 28 days for the year even though our company has now given us an extra 4 days. He gets dressed and leaves for work as usual and she doesn’t suspect a thing! He plans spa days, he goes to the gym, the cinema and just enjoys those 4 days to himself. Otherwise, he’d be catching up with home improvements, getting roped into sharing the childcare and household chores. He says if he doesn’t do this he’d go crazy, it’s what keeps him sane.”
I was initially horrified when a family member shared this about one of her work colleagues who is married with 3 children. I thought “how selfish, what about his wife? When does she get ‘Me Time?’ The response to that was, “well, he said she goes to her mums once a month for the weekend with the kids and her mum takes over and does everything, so that’s her quality time to herself.” Wow, that’s some quality ‘me time’ right…
But then I contemplated the reason he’d given, ‘he’d go crazy, it’s what keeps him sane’. So while I definitely disagree with the deception of the situation, I can fully empathise and understand his reason and need for that quality, undisturbed ‘Me Time’. I figured that like me; if his wife was aware she’d probably bombard him with a list of unfinished household business to get through and in a way, I thought to myself, well why shouldn’t he. I mean, as mothers we never ever seem to be afforded that quality time to ourselves, when we have a day off we pack in as much as possible, work through piles of washing, catch up on that much-needed cleaning, ironing and maybe get a TV show or a film in whilst the iron is steaming away blocking out most of the sound, it’s just so different for us mothers. Moreover, if it means that her husband is coming home with a positive mindset and a great attitude then…perhaps…it can be justified… I know, I know, it’s morally challenging and I’d much rather for my husband, to be honest with me, but deep down in the back of my mind, I can really understand his rationale.
Almost a year ago now, I realised that I was simply doing too much, I was always on the go, I’d leave my day job to continue my full-time job of being a committed and dedicated mother. I’d rush home from work, drop the children off to this class or that training session, race home, cook dinner, rush back out to collect them, feed them, usher them into the bathroom, wash the dishes, bedtime stories (if I managed to fit it in) eat my dinner and then finally, have a 10 minute shower then straight to bed ready for the next day of breakfast club and work, after school clubs etc. Tiring….I didn’t even have the privilege to relax or soak in a bath; I’d completely forgotten what that experience was like as time and fatigue just didn’t allow for it.
It was at a Mother and Baby picnic sharing with other mothers about the daily grind when one of them spoke about having a day to herself once a week. Such a great idea (lightbulb moment), I don’t know why I had never thought of that myself, she talked about how she enjoys her ‘Me Time’ and how much it had improved her relationship with her family.
So one evening hubby and I had some serious words and I shared my deepest emotions along with buckets of tears and the plea that something needed to change. I just wasn’t ready for an early grave and the more I did the greater the impact on my body and mental health, coupled with the added complication of heart-failure, change needed to occur.
I mean, my husbands evening routine was so different, he’d come home, eat his dinner that was already served on a plate and covered up, sit and relax on the sofa with his iPad in one hand, his phone in the other and alternate between devices whilst watching the television. He’d then wash his plate, take a 1.5-hour bath and then climb into bed relaxed and ready for the following day.
This really got to me, it was so unfair and I felt very much unappreciated and disadvantaged. I did empathise and acknowledge that he was going out to work a 40-hour plus job, he works really hard and many teachers are underpaid and overworked.
In contrast, I work part-time 16.5 hours a-week however, it still felt very unfair because my job as a mother was never completed.
So I put forward the once a week idea and proposed that every Wednesday, I’d like for him to come home early, sort the children out and I’d be free to do whatever I wanted for that evening without the pressure and responsibility to the family or home for a few hours.
Yeessssssss! I’m having ‘Me Time’ I’m gonna have fun!
Initially, I didn’t even know what to do with myself so I would drive the car around the corner and just sleep. Now, my Wednesdays are exciting as I visit friends, take myself to the cinema, go for walks, go out to eat or for drinks, enjoy relaxing massages and so much more. Oh how I love my Wednesdays!
More importantly, having that time to myself has made me a better woman. I feel empowered and so much more than Serena mum of 5. I arrive home on a Wednesday evening and all is calm, the children are in bed, the house is quiet and I’ve had a great evening doing whatever it was I felt like doing. It even makes me a little more forgiving of the plate they may have left in the sink or the stained cup of hot chocolate left on the table. My Wednesday ‘Me Time has literally transformed things as I no longer feel resentful or unappreciated. Instead, I get excited about who to see or where to go next week, it has also made me appreciate my husband so much more.
I remember my first ‘Me Time’ Wednesday, I sat in the car and slept, listened to the radio and caught up on What’s app messages and Facebook profiles. When I returned home, it was as though I’d been gone for a whole week. The children jumped out of bed and gave me the most rewarding hug, “Where were you mummy? We missed you SO MUCH”. This was amazing, the expressed appreciation had begun.
As women and in particular mothers, having time to yourself is fundamental. I read an article in the Huffington Post that highlights the benefits of relaxation, apparently, relaxation can even keep you slim; well that’s reason enough to me to take time out! There are great advantages and yes a few disadvantages too, but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages immensely.
- It’s an opportunity to be yourself,
- You return home a better you.
- You deserve it and your family will appreciate you more.
- You’re partner will value the challenges you face.
- Your children and partner can enjoy quality time together.
- It’s an opportunity to rest, recuperate and recharge.
- You will value and appreciate your partner more.
- You might just miss your little-ones.
- A time to catch up with friends.
- You can go home to peace and quiet.
- You can have a relaxing bath.
- You can go straight to bed.
- You can look forward to next week.
- The home might be in complete chaos.
- You might not want to come back!
- Your husband might be a better ‘mum’ than you and make it all a breeze!
- A few hours just might not be long enough.
So how do you do ‘Me Time’? In fact do you have ‘Me Time?’ I’d be so interested in hearing your stories and how you actually spend your days or evenings off from work and the family or the hours you may have to yourself if you’re a Stay At Home Mum (SAHM).
Please use the comment section below because sharing ideas is definitely a worthwhile blessing to us all and you might just give me a few ideas how to spend my ‘Me Time” next week 🙂