Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mummy's Personal Time Off

Mummies; we are always putting the needs of our children first, buzzing and fussing over them. It is not uncommon to hear mummies complain about how they have lost themselves in their roles as mother and wife and how their individual identify and needs are placed on the back burner.  In France and Canada where I used to live, I heard of mummy friends who sometimes, on certain crazy days, do not even get a moment to shower themselves! That is the extend of the devotion we give to our children.

Finding a balance in our roles

I am a huge advocate of regular me time for mummies.  I firmly believe that it is important for us, mothers, to maintain a balance in the roles we play, as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, an employee etc. And more importantly, we must not neglect ourselves.  It is essential that we celebrate and give time to our unique person.  As with any other jobs, we would find ourselves short tempered, stressed and on the verge of burnt-out if we are overworked.  Similarly, if we consistently suppress our own needs by sacrificing all our time and energy in the name of being a better or more involved mother, we will face exhaustion.  We ask for work life balance when it comes to the corporate world but we often forget to apply this balance when we are mothers, whether we are a stay-at-home mum or taking on a professional career at the same time. 

Step back and Evaluate

In allowing ourselves me-time, we give ourselves  a chance to step back and evaluate. This can be so refreshing to our mind and soul. We could use this time to look back at how we are doing, plan ahead in how we want to parent our children and allow ourselves to be more intentional rather than reactive in our interactions with our children.  At the same time, we can also allow our inner self to breathe and take stock of where we are in life.  Have you ever stopped to think if this is where you had planned for yourself five or ten years ago before getting married? Are you happy with your current life? How can you make it better and more meaningful for yourself and your family?  These reflective thoughts probably could only take place when we are not overwhelmed with the day to day constant demands of our children and family.  I believe that, sometimes, we need to be selfish to take a short period away from everything, to become more effective in caring and loving the spouse and children. 

So recently, I took two weeks away from the family and went to the US. I started this tradition about 7 years ago when we lived in France and I took three days away to Rome by myself.  It was utterly amazing to not have to answer to anyone for three days.  Three days to just be myself and give me the liberty to put myself first. I did not have to worry about rushing home, what to cook, plan activities for the children or anything like that.  In those three days, I could do whatever I wished and had the quietness and calm to look into how I see my life ahead. I make conscious decisions about the future of our family and was able to see things in a clearer perspective. 

Taking a moment to take in the beauty of God's creation.

From that experience on, I went on to take a solo trip of two to five days every other year.  At the same time, I would also take a trip with one or two girlfriends in the alternate years.  These trips has helped me recharge and provided clarity on my life on an on-going basis.  I also feel that it has helped me not only as an individual, it propelled me forward as a mother.  During these quiet reflective moments, I am able to evaluate myself as a mum.  Am I doing well?  Have I been parenting the way I said I will?  Have I lost control of myself or allowed my stress level to accumulate to a point where I am less tolerant and am impatient with my little ones?  Have I been a good role model at home and in public?  Are my expectations of my children realistic?  And I can take the time to slowly answer my own questions instead of just brushing them off in the hustle and bustle of each day.

So yes, I do recommend parents take some time off, maybe once every two years.  Even if it's just a two days one night trip away.  I had taken two days off to a small resort in Batam to just quieten my mind and it was refreshing.  The break from everything can renew your spirit and bring about a good breather from our sometimes crazily busy life as a mummy.  As it is, our work is never ending right? :) 

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