A Happier Me: Making Time for Self-Care + Me Time

I spent a good amount of time until recent years thinking that I was “happy,” but it turns out I was not, not truly with intent. I’m not saying I was unhappy, but here’s the thing: we go through much of life as mothers caring for our children first and foremost and we delight in every new milestone, adventure, sports or club they do. We literally feel joy from watching and raising our children, I know I do. But I’ve realized over the years, that’s living in someone else’s happiness, even if it is your child’s. We can be happy for our children and feel love and warmth in our heart and smile with joy daily. I was going through some big changes and a very tough break up. I had some self discoveries of my own. I realized I may love myself, but was I really demonstrating the happiest, best version of me to my children? No, absolutely not. And I don’t think most moms do. We give and give and give to our families and their schedules, their lifestyles, our jobs, pets, the home and so on. For me I did the motions of “me time” but when convenient, as if that was intentional self-care.

Self-Care is Vital ::
For me self-care happened once in a while when I might grab lunch with a friend , actually blow out my hair after I showered {if so lucky} or eat the food I cooked {while warm}. I know, I know! That’s life as mom: self sacrifice! I know I’m not alone. But with that, there has to be a balance or we lose ourselves and our own passions. After self-reflecting, I realized to occasionally do things for myself, when I could fit it in, wass definitely not living with intentional purpose and happiness. MAMAS: THIS IS NOT SELF-CARE!

We have to work at happiness. Happiness has to be a priority and to do that we have to make ourselves a priority! We do NOT have to put our lives or desires on hold because we make our kids a priority. We do not have to live with mom guilt for taking care of ourselves DAILY. This is self-love and self-care! The time is now! I want my children to see the best me! I am a better mother if I am truly happy internally, even if that means saying no to them and yes to me daily. Even if that means I have a weekly date with me – myself and I doing what I want. I am worth my love. And if act as though I am not,what example do I set for my children? I want my kids to also learn to be intentionally happy people! 

Happiness is intentional. I started to make a point to include myself on my daily tasks and routines. Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. What I do in my life, for myself, defines me. If I feel good about myself I have a better day. I feel better, look better and do better. In return, I make myself happier and healthier all around, and better for my children and people around me. They do notice! 

Making Time for Me ::
I make time for me. Yes some days this is a tough one! Some days, I literally only have time to myself for a few moments, no matter how much I try to fit me time in. I’m a single mother who works. It is what it is some days. But I’ve found a way to make the best of those moments. In those few moments, I meditate. It’s my way to take time for myself. I’ve found my own way to meditate, what works for me, a way to let go and yet be completely mindful. 

I’ve begun to self-reflect and recognize what I d0 and don’t want for myself. I’ve taken up writing and journaling again, something that gives me purpose and brings out my passions. Something that makes me happy! It’s important to self-reflect. How else will we grow, or have those “ah ha” moments of self-discovery? How else will we acknowledge mistakes to be corrected for growth. How can I teach my teenager daughter to expand herself and challenge herself if I don’t? 

Indulging in My Own Interests ::
Another hobby I have been doing again is DIY crafts and home decor. I can completely get lost in a project and that is good for my soul! In order to truly demonstrate self-care, I had to begin to be as good to myself as I am to others. This included not putting my needs off, as if they weren’t as important as everyone else’s. I spend a lot of time servicing others in my work and personal world. Why didn’t I also service myself? Because I did not make it a priority. Well, I do now! 

I also took up yoga. I’ve never been one to work out or make real commitments to my physical health. But yoga was one I could handle and do on my own, with holding only myself accountable.

Overall, I personally have made a point to practice both gratitude {a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible}, and mindfulness {a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, daily}. It’s easier said than done, and this is one that will be a continued practice I have to work at intentionally. I try very hard to not get caught up in what’s happened in the past, or to not worry and stress about the future. I don’t want it to effect my peaceful now.

These few things have made me a better me and more importantly a happier me! 

Start Small, Let Go + Learn to Live in the Moment ::
We get so caught up in the daily monotony – the schedules and routines – that we let life make us. But sometimes we have to make life. From the smallest changes in those daily routines, it’s important to set time aside for ourselves. This for me was a hard thing, because I like routine. I like organization, I like planning out my schedule, and truth be told I like a clean organized house {LOL}! I had to learn to let some things go! The laundry or dishes are not as important as my emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health. And although I’ve spent many years letting my children’s schedules consume my life for their happiness, my children have now become a real teaching tool in reminding me to utilize mindfulness daily.

Actively living in the moment is so much easier when you do it from your child’s perspective in a sense. If there’s one thing I’ve learned with having a young child again {after raising children who are now adults} is just how fast time goes. People told me day in and day out how quick adulthood would come for my older children, and it did. So with my young one now, I certainly hang on tight. But the key is that I make a point to value the moment, and each day with her. In the past it was easier for me to say, “we’ll play that game in a bit, mama has to fold some clothes, or clean the kitchen,” or some other tedious household chore that needed to be completed. Today I am able to look at my little girl when she asks, and take more moments than not with her. I get down on her level and play and pretend and see through a child’s eyes. Dance parties, dress up, jump on the trampoline pick flowers and more.

I can’t express what a valuable lesson this has been in my self-growth, in feeding my soul and giving me moments of sheer happiness! Our children can be wonderful teachers! They live life without the kind of stress, expectations and guilt that we as parents do. We can take a lesson or two from our little people! 

Do what makes YOU happy. When you are the best you, and are internally happy, your children benefit. We benefit. Find the passions you once loved before you forgot about them. It’s OK to intentionally schedule time for yourself daily! There’s no need for guilt when you’re doing what makes you happy, and treating yourself as you treat others! You deserve it!

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