Last weekend I had a well overdue night out with the girls. I don’t have nights out very often, purely because I am too damn tired all the time, but it made me realise the importance of having ‘me time’ when you are a mum.
I’m embarrassed to admit that before I became a parent I was one of them people judging mums that went out most weekends. All I saw was women that couldn’t wait for any chance to get rid of their children for a night so they can drink so much that they forget they ever had them. I didn’t understand why they would even want to leave their kids all the time. . . why wouldn’t they want to tuck their little angels in and be there to answer their every cry?! But then I had Marley and I was hit with the reality of NEVER having a break.
I don’t need to point out that parenting is a 24-7 job, but I was naïve in thinking it was going to be fun and games all of the time. It is so physically and mentally demanding that if I ever do have a few hours without Marley I spend it sleeping, catching up with housework or ‘treating myself’ to washing my hair. I’m not saying I don’t get time to go out and see friends or go and do some shopping or for a nice meal because I do – but Marley almost always comes with me and it can be draining!
It is so easy to let the days all roll into one and to become completely absorbed in your baby’s world that you forget to take time out for yourself. I’ve learnt that it’s so important to have a few hours where I am just me – the me that isn’t googling what a healthy baby poo should look like or spot washing the sick out of my hair.
I know from experience that spending time away from our babies can make us feel guilty, as if it makes us bad mothers. But we spend all week feeding them, changing them and putting them first that a few hours at the weekend (when they are likely to be sleeping anyway) really does no harm.
So, this is my apology to all you mamas that I judged. Next time I see you enjoying a night out, shopping without your baby or just enjoying time on your own I will salute you. Because we NEED that time! It doesn’t make us bad mothers, it makes us better. It’s a cliché but a happy mum really does equal a happy baby.