“You need to do something for yourself,” I told my husband. We were 2 years into parenthood, and he was a devoted father. He came straight home after work every day to be with our son, and we spent every weekend together as a family. He missed friends and hobbies, but couldn’t bring himself to give up any time with our son.
Michelle Foreman, author and mother to a neurodiverse child, had a similar issue. She writes, “I gauged my value as a mother based on the extent that I sacrificed myself.” She felt like any spare moment wasn’t her own—it had to be used to help her son.
Foreman recommends reflection and practicality. Not every instance of self-care has to be the much-vaunted “night out”—if you have ten minutes here and there, make the most of them! A nap, a workout, meditation, journalling—something that appeals to you that just hasn’t been enough of a priority. Make your me-activities part of your routine, so your child learns to respect them and you—and when your child grows up, he’ll remember that it’s okay to take care of himself as well.
In the end, my husband chose nightly workouts for time completely alone—and we started playing his favorite early 90s RPGs together as a family. Once every month or two, he takes an afternoon to himself, and our son has come to expect it and be happy for his dad’s happiness—the best outcome of all!
—It’s normal to feel a little lost and like you’ve lost the activities that make you YOU—but you don’t have to live that way!
—You can’t pour from an empty glass. Nourish yourself so you can nourish your family!
—Your me-time doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Find what you love and what works with your schedule—and enjoy!