Remember when me-time used to mean curling up on the settee on a Sunday afternoon and watching a chick flick or three with a box of chocolates? Or binge reading a novel in a day? Or using your lunch break from work to sit in a coffee shop on your own for an hour? Or even just daydreaming. Oh, how times have changed. Since having children I have used the phrase me-time to refer to all of the below activities. Who am I kidding?! People without children would never class any of the below as me-time. I’m doing a massive disservice to myself by calling the me time – but it’s amazing how your perspective changes when you become a parent.
1. An uninterrupted shower
This doesn’t happen very often. Baby Boy I, my 18 month old third child, is usually trying to throw toys into the bath or climb into the toilet. One of the other two will come in to use the loo, or to tell tales on something the other one has done. Even though Cardiff Daddy is in the room with them, they still feel the need to tell me. But some days I get to stand under the hot, running water with my eyes closed for the entire time, and it is bliss!
2. Going to the toilet on my own
Oh, this really is the Holy Grail of motherhood! With three children aged five and under, I rarely get to pee in peace during the day. Toilet trips as a parent are never without a drama so the occasions I actually do get to go on my own are such a treat. Bonus marks if you’re out with your kids and a friend offers to watch the children for you while you go to the loo, and you escape without any little people following you. Yes, I live in a world where natural bodily functions count as me-time!
3. Doing the weekly shop with no children
I generally do our food shop with at least two children in tow. I want them to understand that food doesn’t just magically appear in the cupboards. I want them to understand how to choose a balanced diet. I want them to know how we wait our turn to pay for our food. But sometimes, I don’t want my baby shrieking at me because he’s seen me put grapes in the trolley and he can’t have them right away. Sometimes, I want to take my time and look at the clothes or books while I’m doing my weekly shop. Sometimes I don’t want any pester-power asking me to buy things I don’t want to be buying. After spending all week looking after my children, sometimes I just want to get out of the house, be by myself and get lost in my own thoughts as I wander around the shop. But often I feel too guilty to say I need some time just for me, so I’ll say I need to do the food shop and secretly whoop at the bonus me-time. Even though deep down Cardiff Daddy would never, ever refer to the weekly shop as me-time. It’s a household chore, for goodness sake!
4. Getting Cardiff Daddy to take all the children out so I can blitz the cleaning
It can be so difficult to keep on top of the housework when you’ve got small children, can’t it? Cardiff Daddy does his fair share, but he works long hours, so most of falls to me. I do what I can, but mostly as I’m cleaning one room, they’re trashing another. And I’d much rather play with my children than do the vacuuming, to be honest. But sometimes the mess gets too much and I’ll send hubby and kids out for a couple of hours while I blitz the cleaning. With my choice of music playing loudly and no one to moan at me for singing at the top of my voice! And a sneaky 10 minutes in the middle to catch up on Facebook! Me-time and a tidy house! Win-win! Even though, yet again, THIS IS NOT ME-TIME!
5. When my baby falls asleep in the car and we stay put while he naps
Baby I has a lunch-time nap. The problem is, the time he naps is also the time I take Little Man O, my newly-turned-four-year-old, to pre-school. Sometimes Baby is so tired he can’t wait until we get home and he falls asleep in the car. I’ve discovered the hard way that if I try to transfer him to his cot, he will wake up and not go back to sleep. And he really needs that sleep! So, instead, we stay in the car, parked outside our house, while he sleeps and I catch up on Facebook, read the day’s news, message my friends, etc. Usually if we’re in the house and he’s asleep, I am catching up on work or housework. But I can’t do that when we’re in the car. What a shame!
6. When I just have to take one child to a birthday party and there’s an entertainer, meaning I can natter with the other mums for a whole two hours!
There was a time when most of the birthday parties my children went to were friends’ children – so we’d all get an invite and I’d spend two crazy hours running round after the three of them. Now, however, my big two go to a lot of parties of their school and pre-school friends where siblings are not invited. And a lot of these parties have entertainers who take control of the kids for two hours, meaning we parents can sit and natter and I don’t have a toddler to chase around after, either. Who ever would have thought a child’s party could be me-time?!
7. When all my children are quietly engrossed in a TV show
We don’t watch that much television to be honest. But there are days when CBeebies and Nick Jr are my best friends. One minute, Little Miss E and Little Man O will be squabbling over something, tired after a long week at school, or all the toys will be thrown all over the floor and I can’t take any more mess. And so, the telly will go on, and…. silence! Aaahhhh! Baby I is not always great at sitting still for very long, so this never lasts too long. But the few minutes when all three of them are still and quiet, and I can sit down and relax, are so precious.
Like I said, my pre-child self would be cursing me for calling any of this me-time. But the mummy-me knows that you’ve just got to grab these sanity-saving moneys when you can.
Can you relate? Do you class any of these things as me-time, even though they’re not really me-time at all? Any you’d add to the list? Let me know what you think either in the comments section below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or you can tweet me on @cardiffmummy
photo credit: Supermarket via photopin (license)