I know it’s hard to find the time, trust me. I know that sometimes it feels a little excessive or selfish. Sometimes you feel a little guilty for wanting time for yourself, especially when there’s so much to be done at home or work. Having “me” time is so important, even if you can only get little bits here and there. Make the time, and take good care of yourself. Do it for you. Do it for your family.
Self-care is not selfish or self-indulgent. We cannot nurture others from a dry well. We need to take care of our own needs first, then we can give from our surplus, our abundance. — Jennifer Louden
Take advantage of the sleeping hours.
When my girls nap, I try to do as much cleaning and organizing as I can. This way, when they go to sleep for the night, all of my chores are done and I can relax. After bedtime, I can take a little “me” time, even if that means only getting through one page of my book before I get sleepy. At the very least, I feel like I have done something that I want to do, and I sort of clear my mind of the baby world. I watch something funny on TV, and eat ice-cream in bed with my husband. Physically and emotionally tired from a day that somehow felt endless and quick at the same time, I relax in bed with my husband while we eat something sweet. Knowing that I get to go to sleep soon, and hanging out with my favorite person…I think this is the best part of the whole day.
Carve out the time.
The time for you, the “me” time, is not going to come running to you. You have to find the time, make the time…carve it out. Twins (or small children of any number) can be incredibly demanding and all-consuming, in the sweetest way possible. Every breathing second of your day is devoted to meeting their needs. Feeding, cleaning, feeding, cleaning, feeding, cleaning – and a nap or two somewhere in between, if you’re lucky. Sometimes I think if I have to wipe down those high chairs and pick up teeny pieces of food off the floor one more time I’m going to scream. My point is, the time for doing something for yourself will not just appear. Set aside something for yourself during the day, call a friend as ask them to come over for an hour, schedule a babysitter, or plan something during the weekend when your partner is home to watch the kids. Last Saturday, after an especially challenging day on my own with the twins, I came home worn-out, drained, and completely checked-out. After I was able to muster up enough strength and motivation to leave the house, I left the babies with my husband and went for a massage. I came back a new woman. Seriously.
Make something about you – it’s okay!
As parents of multiples, day after day our lives are devoted to our children. It’s okay, necessary even, to make something about you. Not only does this help to keep you grounded, sane, and happy, but it helps you to keep your sense of self…a little bit of that person you used to be before you had babies. Most weekday mornings I take the girls with me to the gym. They play in the kids club and I get a whole hour to myself. Whether I’m tired or not (and I’m always tired), I go. This one hour break, this time alone, this time to relieve stress and exercise – it’s for me. I take this morning hour for myself, and as I do this, I show my girls that I’m important.
Sometimes, it’s the little things.
I consider buying a drink from Starbucks to be a luxury. I can make a drink at home, and it feels a little indulgent to spend the extra money. So guess what? I often find myself pushing the double stroller into Starbucks for a drink. Why? Because I deserve it! It’s a small gesture, but it makes me feel good. I love walking into that Starbucks – the warm scent of coffee enveloping me like big hug, lots of busy people studying, reading, chatting with each other. Give yourself permission and treat yourself to something delicious!
On the days I work at the office, I often use my lunch hour to run errands. It’s so much quicker to get things done without two babies and a double stroller weighing me down. I try to be as efficient as I can with this time. Sometimes, if I am caught up with my errands, I use this hour for “me” time. I eat lunch at my desk, and then take off to enjoy a quick manicure. When you’re busy, every second counts. And when you’re constantly doing for other people, a quick manicure can feel like paradise.
It doesn’t have to be expensive.
For those of you who want “me” time without breaking the bank, it can be done! A Chinese foot massage can cost $35 for 60 min (and this is usually full body + feet!) Look up Chinese foot massages near you on Yelp. Find one that people like, and go for it! It’s an affordable, relaxing way to practice self-care. Or, if you don’t want to spend money at all, go for a stroll by yourself. It’s a great way to clear your head, relax, and gather positive energy.
It doesn’t matter which one, just pick a method that works for you. Find your “me” time, and enjoy!
You deserve it.
Rachel Brehm, mother to fraternal twin girls, blogs regularly on eating disorder awareness and insurance denials for eating disorder treatment. Brehm writes for an Insurance Law Blog as well as an Eating Disorder Law Blog (rated as one of Top 25 Eating Disorder Blogs of 2012) focusing her writing on insurance advocacy, insurance coverage, body image, eating disorder recovery, and weight stigma. As a new contributor to Twiniversity.com, Brehm plans to shift her writing on body image issues in the insurance world to include body image issues in the mommy world. Brehm’s writing will address navigating pregnancy and postpartum with eating/body image issues as well as her experiences raising twin girls-and all the “twin moments” that go along with it. For more Twiniversity posts by Rachel, click here.