I am an introvert. I get rejuvenated having an alone time, just me, a little quiet time to ponder and let my thoughts flow peacefully. But being a mom of two kids and living in a fast paced urban city like Singapore with a helper that has an off-day from Saturday to Sunday evening and a husband with irregular off-days on weekends, me-time can be scarce and almost impossible.
Weekdays, I would wake up by 5:30AM before the sun rises and go home late at 7:00PM. I used this few hours before sleeping time to play then bathe my kids. My kids and I would sleep by 9:30PM. And I make sure weekends are for my kids alone.
The struggle is real. My time with my kids will always be a priority but there is a tired mama in me that also in need of a me-time once in a while.
I would hear talks from helpers in the playground about parents not spending too much time with their kids, making parents guilty of accepting invitations for events not involving the kids or going out with friends. There is much hype and ads guit-tripping parents, usually moms that helpers know the kids more than their moms, seeking their nannies for comfort rather than their moms. Thank God, my boys still prefer me and sought after me when they want a hug, kisses when they have boo-boo, when they want to show off something, my arms to caress to fall a sleep.
The balancing act of caring for your kids as a working mom and the necessity for a me-time must be address. It is hard but must be done. We should stop guilt-tripping parents for giving them an equation that me-time equals selfish parents. I know of a mom who was criticized for taking a once a week me-time to recharge and have her relatives take care of her kids on those times. I know of couples who get whispers from their community that they go out for drinks weekly as their date night and leaving the kids with the helper. Just stop. Psychological health needs to be taken care of to take better care of the little ones. You need to fill in your love tank to allow it to overpour towards your loved ones. In order for you to be a better parent, a better mom, you need to be gentle towards yourself, cut yourself some slack and take that me-time to recharge. Not stepping on those breaks from juggling work, mommy duties, stresses in life and challenges in living abroad can make a person grumpy, stressed and a ticking bomb about to explode. Who would want to be around that kind of person?
Take that warm bubble bath. Go for a mani-pedi. Go out for a coffee at your fave cafe. Take that exercise class. So you can go back to your kids after your deserved me-time and give your kids the loving and unfrazzled attention that they deserved from a happy calm mommy.