Should I or shouldn’t I? Can I justify hiring a babysitter just for me to have a free morning? But I don’t have specific plans… is it still worth it? Is it selfish? But I really need some time for myself.
Oh the back and forth! Welcome to my brain. And yes, I should hire that babysitter.
I have been a full-time stay-at-home mom for the past 18 months, my longest stretch yet. My eldest son attends part-time school three days a week, and I have started to occasionally hire a babysitter to watch my younger son on school days.
A babysitter gives me a free morning to do whatever I want <sometimes>. Too often this time is devoted to personal doctor appointments, vet appointments, car maintenance, or household errands. But every once in awhile, these precious mornings aren’t booked with any family business, and they are mine to fill as I please. Some weeks, a solo morning may be what I need to stay sane, to recover patience, and to restore the joy of motherhood (on those days I’m struggling to find it).
In the journey of becoming a mom, we so often lose a sense of who we are as individuals, our own interests, and what brings us joy and peace apart from our roles as mothers and wives.
I’ve written before about the importance of date nights with your husband to maintain your marriage, but I also strongly believe in “me time” to maintain your sense of self. I often find myself spending sunrise to sunset meeting the needs of others – my two young sons, my husband (who works odd hours and many nights), and our dog. I love them all greatly and love my time with them. But I also value taking care of myself and think it’s worthwhile to carve out time just for me in my week.
The more emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally healthy I am, the better mom/wife/woman I can be.
So how do I take care of myself? I spend time doing the things that I love, that I loved before becoming a wife and mother, the things that bring me joy and peace.
- I go to the gym or work out during nap time 5-6 times a week. Being active helps me feel better about myself and maintain my health. I love being active with my kids as well, but sometimes there can be no greater joy than running on a treadmill while watching Fixer Upper.
- I attend a weekly Bible study with childcare. I dedicate time each week to build relationships with other women discussing the Bible and encouraging one another.
- I play music that I like while making dinner or washing dishes. I don’t just play Pandora Kids, although I love to jam out to the kids’ tunes as much as my boys do. It may seem simple, but music helps soothe my soul and brings me such joy. There is nothing like jamming out to Mumford and Sons or Dirty River Boys while working in the kitchen.
And at times, I hire a babysitter to do things alone such as:
- Grab coffee or lunch with friends without our kids to have real conversations, life-giving conversations. It’s amazing how much you can discuss without trying to wrangle children at a restaurant.
- Go shopping solo. It’s a true joy to actually take my time to pick out clothes and go into a normal-sized fitting room (no need to fit a stroller) alone. Shopping solo is a true luxury if you’ve ever attempted shopping with children.
- Go to the beach alone and read a book. To soak in the sun and focus on a book. A BOOK! Imagine. I love to read, and a book is the perfect reminder that my brain still works. I may not be working outside of the home right now, but I can still grow and stretch my mind while staying home with my kids. Or maybe I just need an easy beach read to escape the sound of screaming children. Either way, it’s good for my well-being.
All of these things help me restore my sense of self, refresh my spirit, and bring me joy. And all of this helps me to be a better mom. A refreshed mom. A loving and hopefully more patient mom. So yes, hire that babysitter.
How do you spend your “me time”? What brings you joy when you have time to focus on yourself?