Having “me” time does not make me a bad mother

I’m a very happy stay-at-home mom. I LOVE spending each day with my little man [and I’m beyond grateful that I have the ability to do so]. But a recent trip to the gym made me realize [once again] how important and necessary “me” time is on a regular basis and that I’m still struggling with this concept after 11 months of being a new mom.

This past Friday, I wasn’t in the mood to battle the winds on my run (30+ mph winds) and since my husband was home from work for the day, I decided to go to the gym. I had this amazing sense of freedom as I drove along Hylan Blvd, singing to Christmas music on the radio. I wasn’t worried about waiting too long at a red light (my son is great until we stop at a long red light) or preoccupied with singing nursery rhymes to keep him entertained. I wasn’t looking in the rearview mirror every 45-60 seconds to check on him (okay, maybe I still was – but that’s only because it’s habit).  It was extremely liberating to know that I was alone and driving someplace to do something that I wanted to do.  And I was going to be alone for the next two hours! JOY!

When he was first born, I felt that I was a bad mother if he cried or if I thought about doing something other than staying home with him. My “job” was to be with my son – I was his source of nourishment, his provider.  In my mind, that meant that I had to be with him 24/7. In the first few months of his life, I didn’t do much of ANYTHING except stay home and take care of him. 

 

 

As a new mom, I NEVER wanted to leave his side.  I was breastfeeding on demand – so anytime he fussed or cried, I would offer to nurse him after checking his diaper and/or rocking him for a bit [regardless of when he nursed last].  When he was hungry, I fed him.  This meant that I always had to be “on call”.  My son did not take a bottle until he was 4 months old, so pumping and leaving milk for my husband was not an option.

I wouldn’t leave for a run unless he had just been fed AND was asleep. At that point, I would head either to the gym in our apartment complex or outside where I’d stay within 2 miles of the apartment.  And even when I did manage to go for a run, the time was not relaxed and enjoyable. I ran with my cell phone and would receive a call the moment he started getting fussy – so I was constantly checking my phone and worrying that he was up. I didn’t go anywhere without him either – he was attached to me (literally and figuratively) for months.

There were plenty of people [family, friends] who told me to make time for myself – to ensure I was relaxing and taking a break.  But I had this perception that I needed to do everything and be with my son 24/7 in order to be a good mom.

Sometime when my son was four or five months old, I reached a point where I was stressed all the time, losing patience and becoming way too frustrated (with my son and family), and sad because I was not enjoying motherhood. Thankfully, I have amazing an amazing mother and husband who helped me realized that I needed make a change with how I was approaching being a mother.

Over the last several months, I’ve made time for myself.  I run 5-6 days/wk, my husband and I have attended several weddings or work functions (including two out-of-state overnighters), we’ve had nights out together, and I’ve gone out to dinner with friends.  And despite doing all these things without my son, I know I am a good mother. 

I realized we are both happier when I just "let go" a bit

I’ve learned that a daily break from my son does not make me a bad mother – it allows me to clear my head and provides me with the opportunity to return calm, full of patience, and more willing to devote my complete attention to my son.

Did/do you have a hard time leaving your child or doing things without them?  How do you spend your “me” time??

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    7 thoughts on “Having “me” time does not make me a bad mother

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    2. I think it is a big problem for moms to not only make time for themselves but to do it guilt-free. We all need ‘me time’ no matter what it is. I try and make sure I get at least 15 minutes a day to myself. Now that doesn’t mean alone, just to myself. Sometimes I will take my son to a friend’s so he can play with her kids while we get some time to talk, sometimes it’s going on a girls’ night out, and sometimes it’s staying in and reading a book or watching TV. When I can’t get out I set my son up with some toys, a drink, and a movie, make sure he’s fed, and pull out my headphones and laptop and cruise around the internet or do some crafts though I have to say I usually take to the internet. I usually watch TV online or check out parenting blogs. It took a while for me to find a decent site for watching TV but a coworker at DISH recommended DISH Online and I’ve been using it ever since. I like it because I can watch my shows instantly without setting a recording and it gives a chance to catch up with my grownup or girly shows. ‘Me time’ always gives me patience and helps me be a better mom so I never feel guilty about it. Thanks for sharing.

    3. Me time is so very important as a mom, whether you stay at home or work. When my younger son was little, I’d occasionally get a babysitter just so I could run. Heck, a couple of times I got a sitter just to go to Target by myself. I love my kids and I love being with them, but I’m a more patient and better mom when I get breaks – whether that’s to run (my usual first choice), read a book, or even grocery shop by myself. And trust me, as they get older, those breaks are still just as important!

      • I can only imagine that the breaks remain just as important as they get older (and as you have more and more!!). I don’t enjoy taking my son food shopping or just shopping in general anymore. It was fun before he was mobile. Now, he refuses to stay in the stroller or shopping cart (I can’t blame him) and just wants to be able to roam free. Makes shopping extremely difficult – and fun for no one!!
        Thanks so much for the comment =)

    4. I love this. And totally agree that “me” time is SO SO SO important to a balanced and happy life – as a mom or as a woman in general. I think it’s important from a confidence standpoint, but more importantly, from a sense of self standpoint. If you love to workout and its what you “do” then you should still do that, even if life gets crazy busy. Carving out that “me” time is so so so important. I’m so glad you feel the same AND that you know you’re still an amazing mom even if you take that hour to yourself everyday. Great post