But even when your life is intertwined with another’s in such a deep web, I encourage you to make time for yourself. To be alone, to be pampered, to seek rest and refreshment. The interests, hobbies, and dreams that you possessed before becoming a mother may shift and evolve, but don’t give up on them. Now that your time is more precious than ever, it is all the more important to be intentional about how you spend it. And setting aside a few hours each week to recharge will make all the difference in the way you parent. Make time for yoga, that spin class, a (dare I say it?) solo afternoon at the beach. It is because other people depend on you that it’s imperative you don’t let go of what makes you, you. Yes, parenthood is a lifestyle change. The fact that you’re “on-call” 24 hours a day restricts a few of the activities you once enjoyed more frequently. Life may seem less spontaneous and it’s okay to mourn that season of your life but I encourage you to retain a bit of that free spirit for motherhood.
Take a pottery class, prioritize that book club, schedule a ladies brunch once a month, and stick to it. Motherhood is full of sacrifice but your personality and the years and experiences that brought you to this place shouldn’t be one of them. Find ways to fit your baby into these activities! Go for a run together, give your little one a set of paints while you dabble on your own canvas. What a gift to grow up in a household that makes time to pursue fulfilling activities. For the kiddos to see firsthand that rest is valuable and success in other areas of life are contingent upon it. Taking a break from kid-centric activities also reminds them that the universe doesn’t revolve around them. Carving out time for yourself will fight the bitterness that can sometimes, understandably, creep up when you just give, and give, and give of yourself. And you’ll be surprised at how refreshing just one hour out of the house, doing what you choose, can be. Everyone wins.
There is an epidemic in our society to glorify busyness. Don’t confuse rest with laziness or recreation with irresponsibility. Take some time to remember the activities and pursuits that you really enjoyed before baby came along and make it a priority to fit those things into your schedule. And you must be ready to protect that schedule just like you would a work appointment or baby’s ballet class. Make time for the experiences that revitalize you and continue to shape you into a multi-faceted being that in the end, has even more to give to your children.