Need some time alone? You’re not alone…
Do you remember the last time you spent an extended period of time by yourself? I don’t mean the occasional trip to the grocery store but some REAL alone time where you have time to let your mind wander. Some time to be in the present moment without really trying or time to write or to do something you really enjoy.
I recently had the luxury of having 7 days by myself and it was amazing. It was a time to have the focus be just about me and my needs, to not have to set an example for anyone, to stop and chat with strangers if I so chose and to choose whatever I wanted on the radio. Sure I missed my girls but I also loved having freedom and space to be me and not MOM.
I know that I am blessed to have had 7 days alone but I worked to make it happen and you can too if you so choose. Here are some helpful hints on how to get there:
First and foremost, be ok with doing it. Do your best to get your mom guilt out of the way. Research shows that when a parent takes care of themselves, their children do as well.
When I went on my trip those normal nagging thoughts about my husband’s ability to remember to give the kids vegetables and to limit screen time came roaring up, but I HAD to let them go in order to ensure my good time. Of course when I came back they did have too much screen time and didn’t eat well, but what is more important for this short time?
Second, deal with the feelings that may come up when you are alone. Some people hate being alone and I used to be one of them. There were too many feelings of loneliness and too many messages like “How dare you take time for yourself” or “You’re not doing enough!” I eventually found this exhausting and truly worthless to my self-esteem and value. One thing that helped me was to separate myself from the messages and just notice them. Where did they come from and why. Then it helps to turn them around through mantras, post it notes or literally talking to yourself. “I deserve a break.” “I do ENOUGH, I AM ENOUGH”, etc. It really helps.
Third, negotiate your alone time with your family. A family meeting is a great way to make this happen. Get clear with yourself about your needs and share with your family that this is important to you and why. Think about the self-care you are modeling!
And lastly, if money is an issue and part of the reason alone time is a challenge, arrange for a kid swap with a friend or family member. Have someone take your kids for a few hours and then reciprocate.
When resentment, irritation and jealousy begin to creep up, it is time to reevaluate your needs and put yourself first. What can you do today? How do YOU get in your alone time? Feel free to share in the comments below.