Finding time for yourself when you’re a full-time working mom is so much harder than I ever could have imagined. A few months into going back to work after maternity leave, I often feel like I’m running on fumes and a little too much caffeine. I’ve realized that almost all my time at home and at the office feels like it’s devoted to others. This is usually completely fine and doable–until every few weeks, it hits me. All of a sudden, I feel completely depleted of all of my energy and I need to find a way to recharge. A few weeks ago, I promised myself I’d make a big change in my life in order to find a better balance. Sharing the one thing that’s made me happier this year (other than Naiya) since giving it a try.
Scheduling ‘Me’ Time
The one thing I’ve been trying to do every week for the past few weeks is scheduling ‘me’ time.
I was really good at finding time for myself before Naiya came along–probably to a fault. Looking back, I should have slept more while I could have because those days are clearly over. I was almost always able to find time for self-care, shopping, yoga, workout classes, hiking, etc. Then again, life was so much easier to plan out pre-baby. Now, it’s all about Naiya and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
That said, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss my ‘me’ time.
Prior to becoming a mom, I used to workout at least once–if not twice a day. This was so important to me because it fed my soul, it allowed me to clear my mind and recharge. I loved participating in triathlons and other races. I loved fitting exercise into my day.
In going back to work, finding the time to work out has become so much harder than it was before. Likewise, my mornings with Naiya are almost comical. I basically wait for her to wake up any time from 6am-7:30am. Depending on when she wakes up, nurses and I change her diaper, I have to decide whether I have time to work out. Usually, I don’t, but I try to go anyway out of principle.
This ends up being super stressful because my workout ends up being extremely rushed, I come back and Naiya only wants me to hold her (usually she sobs for me while I take a two minute shower) and by the time I finally run out the door to work, I’m a total mess who still has over an hour to drive in to work.
Needless to say, mornings in our household are still very much a work-in-progress.
How We Lock Down ‘Us’ Time
In order to help ease our mornings and the rest of the day too, Phil and I have decided to go over our schedules together every Sunday night.
From there, we pick at least one night per week where he is able to go out with friends. We pick some time that I am able to reserve for myself too.
I’m still working on what ‘me’ time looks like now that I’m a mom and I want to spend as much time with Naiya as possible.
Mom guilt is real and I definitely suffer from it. Since I work out of the home all day, I have a hard time breaking away from Naiya whenever I actually have the time available to be with her. I never want to miss a moment and it doesn’t help that she now has “stranger danger” where she hysterically cries whenever I leave the room.
However, in scheduling an hour or two to run errands, to workout or go shopping, I’m able to gear up for some ‘me’ time and I come back so much more refreshed. I’m thinking this will ultimately make me a more patient, present, happy mom and that carving out some time away is only healthy.
Eventually, my goal is to be able to have some sort of time on the books where I can get my hair done or go to a spa. These are two things I haven’t really had time to do since Naiya was born. With all of this pumping, diaper changing and everything in between, this mama needs some pampering!
Photography: Azusa Takano