Thursday, September 24, 2009

Take Time For Yourself

Cafe Cup, from Tea Forte

Women are the caregivers of the world. We take care of our husband/partner, children, relatives, friends, and pets first. Only then do we stop to take care of ourselves. But if we don't take good care of ourselves, we'll have nothing left to give to others.

This autumn, give yourself permission to be a little selfish sometimes. The more relaxed you are, the better a mom you will be. The healthier you are, the better you can take care of your elderly parents. The more you laugh, the more fun you'll have with your children.

What are you going to do for fun for YOU this fall? Long, dark evenings, cold rainy/snowy weather, and beckoning warm fireplaces encourage homey activities.
Will you take a class, join a book club, join or create a dinner party club, write, journal, blog, work on your scrapbooks, go see fall movies in the theater, actually use that gym membership, work through that pile of books by your bed, rubber stamp and do paper crafts, paint, knit, crochet? Save up your Starbucks money for a month so you can treat yourself to a professional massage? Take your best friend out for a cocktail and a manicure, leaving your kids at home with their father or your best friend's husband and kids?

What will you have to do to be able to indulge yourself in some fun activities? What will you have to give up? If you have children, you'll need to budget for babysitters, or budget time to swap with your children's other parent, or perhaps trade off with a friend or neighbor. What will your activity cost? If you take a class, you'll need to budget money for the class, materials, and gas - plus budget your time for the class, moving housekeeping chores to another timeslot or letting some slip by temporarily.

In my case, I've already long ago bought the rubber stamps, stickers, paper, magazines and books I want to play with and enjoy this fall. I should never, ever go into a craft store for the next three years. What I need to do is buckle down, carve out time and religiously enforce it: "This is my crafting afternoon." "This is my cooking Sunday." "This evening, I will craft while I watch TV." "Tomorrow night, I will enjoy attempting to create handmade Halloween cards."

I'm not going to force myself to craft and cook if I don't enjoy it - I do! Rather, I'm going to make myself watch less TV, go out to fewer dinners, and spend less time goofing off on the computer.

You'll also need to think about your entertainment time budget. I get mostly done with the shipping part of my work every day around 4pm. I take a break, watch Oprah, read magazines, eat a snack, do my nails, do laundry, whatever. By 5pm I'm cleaning, and by 6pm I'm cooking. After 7pm dinner and twenty minutes of cleanup, I have maybe three or four hours left before bedtime. At least one of those hours is spent working on my business. So basically every night I probably can count on two hours for entertainment. How do I want to spend them? I'm limiting the number of fall TV shows I am going to watch.

I'm cutting way back (I can't give up my beloved Desperate Housewives though, but do I really NEED to watch "Real Housewives?") so that I have more time to read and try to do my goofy crafts. I hope my resolve holds. I SHOULD be trying that new recipe, or reading a book, not laughing at Kim and Nene.

Your family members may initially resist and complain. Just keep smiling and firmly insisting that you need your Mommy time. Set kids up in the other room with crafts of their own, or make Daddy do something fun with them for an hour every week so you have something extremely important for your creativity, health, and peace of mind: UNINTERRUPTED time just for YOU.

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