"Me time": We want it. We need it. But we don't have time for it during the holidays without feeling guilty that we're taking time away from things that actually need to get done. Who's going to get the gifts? Who's going to make the food? Who's going to do all the things? There just doesn't seem to be any time to reset or relax! Because, most of the time, it's moms who get, who make, who do all the things.
A few years ago, I regrettably realized I'd become part of the "I Hate Christmas" club. Basically from now until the end of the year, I'm booked, accounted for, over-committed, and locked and loaded for all things holiday. What the hell is this?!
What's supposed to be a time of peace has now become as un-peaceful as possible. So, I did what any overly busy mom would do and went to the internet (i.e., Facebook) for real-life hope and inspiration from the mouths of mom friends.
Here's what they shared with me about how they sneak in some "me time" during this crazy season in the name of reclaiming peace, joy and self-care.
"Have a game plan for triggers that might surface during gatherings. I save a few 'mindset mantras' to the lock screen of my phone—things to help reconnect me to the intention for the holiday/event and redirect thoughts when I'm feeling off-kilter. Things like 'my family is all here together, my kids will remember this' or 'I am grateful to get friends gifts to show how much I appreciate them' helps reset everything." - Stephanie M.
"Target run. Solo." - Kim P.
"Does grocery shopping count? But maybe I sneak a massage in while grocery shopping." - Karen C.
"Plan a moms' night out with gift exchange before the holiday rush actually kicks into full gear. It forces you to go out with friends when you’re focusing on kids—AND you get a gift you didn’t pick out! -Jennie O.
"We often feel guilty if we're NOT getting some kind of work done, so I sneak in 'me time' when something else is being accomplished, like while laundry is going or the roast is on the oven, so I can more freely enjoy whatever it is." - Leyna, Leyna Nguyen Unscripted
We crave 'me time' to reset back to center because we've allowed ourselves to become yanked and stretched in so many directions.
"I can’t slow down time or wave a magic wand, so I do a total mind reset. For me, it’s realizing that taking joy in making the holidays beautiful for the family is the new creative 'me time.' Shift the focus. Shift the angle." - Kristin Cruz
A mom who wished to remain nameless confessed that she spikes her coffee with Irish cream liqueur (AFTER dropoff) just to take the edge off her morning to-do lists during holiday time, like when she's cooking/baking. (No judgment here!)
As for me, I find power in lying about my whereabouts. #Sorrynotsorry. "I'm going to the store" can sometimes really mean that I'm going to get a pedicure and then ordering groceries online ... while my toes are being exfoliated. (If you tell my husband, I will deny, deny, deny.)
Yet, in the midst of all our modern-mom lamenting about the lack of alone time, Sheila L., a grandmother of five, reached out to me and put it all into perspective:
"As a grandma with my child-raising years behind me, I’ve been able to look back and evaluate things. I don’t think families were as busy back then, but any advice I can give now is to slow down. Kids don’t have to be involved in every single activity. Sometimes, we have to say 'no, we won’t be able to do that' in the name of staying sane, whether during holidays or not. The kids will survive! Some of our best memories during the holidays were doing things together at home: gingerbread houses, making cookies. I know it’s difficult these days, but just having family dinners every night was a blessing."
This year, I'm taking Sheila's words to heart: to re-evaluate and take positive control of not just these holidays, but the long run. No, my kids don't need to go to the cookie-decorating party thrown by the friend-of-a-friend or participate in the added "Christmas tournament game made for holiday fun."
We crave "me time" to reset back to center because we've allowed ourselves to become yanked and stretched in so many directions. Maybe we can use this time to cut out the extras so that we don't veer so far off center in the first place.
So, let's all raise that glass of eggnog, wine or our fourth cup of coffee, and cheers to taking our time back—for ourselves, for our families and for the joyous season this time of year is supposed to be.