Me-time, taking a break from your children and doing something just for yourself, is something I often here parents speaking of wistfully. It is something I’ve been known to speak of wistfully. But in my opinion, me-time can be a dangerous obsession. Let me be clear here, I don’t mean that you shouldn’t have any me-time. If you are getting some me-time then, by all means, keep enjoying it! What I think is dangerous is the way that parents can be encouraged to obsess about me-time as the solution, as the vital lifeline that will keep us mentally and emotionally well. Here’s my problem with that: parents don’t get much me-time. Parents are never going to get a lot of me-time. So if me-time is the answer then every parent’s mental health is hanging by a thin thread. Here’s what I think is important: leading a rewarding life. Sure, me-time can be a part of that. But leading a rewarding life also means making the time that you spend with your child rewarding for you. So, it is about finding activities that you enjoy doing as a parent and giving yourself permission to enjoy them (instead of getting caught up in a mental to do list). It is also about building enjoyable activities for yourself seamlessly into your time with your child. For example, I love taking my child for a walk to the park, the fresh air and gentle exercise does my mental health the world of good. I also love putting on some music (my music too, not just Wiggles!) while we play together. There’s something about listening to my favourite songs that always lifts my mood. So, sure, enjoy your me-time when you get it. But don’t forget to enjoy your time with your child as well and make sure that you build enjoyable activities for yourself into the time you spend parenting.
Apply it to your life: What activities can you do, while parenting, that boost your own mental health?