As a full-time working mama, my life seems pretty neatly split in two segments. I have my work segment, where I get to help make decisions and put on fancy clothes, and my kids segment where I watch My Little Pony and try to stop Liam from hurting himself. But I also have a third, equally important segment: time for me.
It’s not always easy to carve out time for myself. Often, that time happens before my kids wake up for the day (though lately I have been too tired to do that). Getting up to a quiet house and going for a run in the dark helps me know that no matter what type of work or kid crazy the day brings, I at least started out doing something for myself.
Lately I have seen what happens when I don’t make that time for myself. I get stressed more easily and have less patience with my kids and my husband. I feel more lethargic and generally blah. None of this is good for me, my family, or my coworkers.
And so I plan on recommitting that time to myself. Since running first thing in the morning is hard for me, perhaps I will start the day with some yoga or strength training and shift my run to later in the day (when it’s cooler out during the day this will definitely happen). Or I will make myself take a lunch break to go to the gym or read a book, no matter how busy things are at work.
Taking time for yourself is not selfish. It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself and your friends and family. For me, that time is best spent exercising. For someone else, it might be reading, catching up on your TV show, or meeting friends for a drink and dinner. Or maybe a mixture of all of the above. The important thing is to remember that you are as important as your work and family commitments, and you can be stronger and more present for those commitments if you have your own thing to look forward to.