How to find me-time as a self-employed mum

I’ll start off by apologising. I have no idea where I heard what I’m about to quote, but I won’t take the credit for it. So, apologies, unknown-but-more-than-likely-stranger-on-the-Internet.

In my last post I wrote about how fitting work into my life currently means trading my precious evenings for hours at my laptop. Goodbye Netflix, hello Outlook. It’s not the most appealing of trades, but it does mean I can work and be a full time mum, without having to pay for childcare. Obviously if I followed this setup for long I’d go insane within the week, so I’m going to tell you how I plan on still fitting in the essential ‘me time’ necessary to avoid a breakdown before my 30th birthday.

My lovely little treat from Oliver Bonas
My lovely little treat from Oliver Bonas

Not long after having Maddie, I read somewhere (hence the apology) something along the lines of, “Whatever you are doing, commit yourself to it fully in that moment. Concentrate on nothing but the task at hand, and everything will work out the same.” Essentially, it means that if you’re putting your kids to bed, and worrying about when you’ll find the time to get the washing up done, whether you worry or not, the washing up will still be there, so there’s little point in wasting energy on thinking about it. This way of thinking not only gives you permission to let some worries slide (you’ll get round to the kitchen when you can), but allows you to be in the moment so much more. Put your kids to bed, really get involved in hearing their bedtime story, rather than just reading it aloud. Listen to them say goodnight or tell you about their day. And enjoy it. When you’re washing up is when you can think about the washing up.

I’m trying to use this in all aspects of the day. If we get home from a walk and Maddie stays asleep in the pram, I might have half an hour free. I might only have ten minutes though. And I used to disregard that time, knowing that it could be snatched away at any given moment. So I’d sit, and wait for her to wake up. Once she was awake I thought about what I could have done in the time she was asleep. So even if it is only ten minutes, I choose something to do, and do that thing completely. Ten minutes might barely sound worth it, but if I pick up a book, or read some articles in a magazine, and think of nothing but the words I’m reading, those ten minutes become really high quality, and I’ve grabbed some time to myself.

I’m also a big believer of simple pleasures, made fashionable by the Hygge trend lately. How many times do you get a tenner out of the cash machine, then later be unable to really see where it’s gone? A few odd things at the shops, a bus ticket, entry fee to a baby group – goodbye money, on nothing in particular. I decided, if I do that so often, then ten pounds isn’t much to spend on something for myself (OK, fifteen). So I bought myself a really beautiful mug from Oliver Bonas. In any given situation I’d think fifteen quid for a mug is extortionate (it really is beautifully made though), but now every cup of tea, chai latte or hot chocolate is a chance to use something I really like and admire, and becomes an extension of the rare treat I allowed myself.

Funny how fifteen quid on some clothes in Primark will feel like no big deal for your bank balance, because they’re cheap, but the same money on something you really want seems like a bigger spend. Quality, not quantity, and that goes for our thoughts too.
Now, repeat after me: Tea. Cup of tea. Tea. Tea. Teeeeeeeeea. Mmmmm.

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