Before becoming a mum your life was wildly different. In every which way. You don’t need me to tell you that. You KNOW it, you see it and feel it every day.
You know that your body has changed since becoming a mum. Those bags under your eyes are not from too much clubbing but a night of a vomiting child and numerous bed sheet changes.
The reason you tear up at the slightest emotion shown on The X-Factor is likely to be thanks to your kids, and all the screwy things that happened in and to you when you had them.
The fact that your idea of heaven now is going to bed for a night of unbroken sleep can be traced directly back to you becoming a parent.
Because you changed when you became a mum.
But maybe there is one thing you hadn’t noticed, hadn’t realised. One change that has happened over time since you became Mummy.
Just how much you crave ALONE time now.
I was having this discussion with a few friends recently, about how, pre-kids, we were the life and soul of the party. We lived for going out, being sociable, seeing friends.
Our calendars were jam-packed with exciting events to attend, day outs with big groups of friends and weekends away.
And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
But that since becoming mums that has all changed.
We are still sociable animals deep-down, and maybe once the kids have flown the nest we will start partying again. But for now we just want to curl up in a quiet corner and be left in peace.
The more mums I ask about this, the more my theory is proved.
When we have kids we crave alone time in a way we never did before.
And you can understand why.
Because we’re always on.
Whether you’re a stay at home mum, a working mum or a work at home mum (and I speak from experience, having been all three over the 10+ years I’ve been parenting) you are always ON.
You’re either go-go-go for your job/business, or you’re ON for your kids.
You know what I mean:
“Mum, where’s my PE kit?”
“Mum, she hit me!”
“Mum, what’s for dinner?”
“Mum, it’s not fair!!!”
And on and on. Day in, day out.
But it’s not only verbal. Because of course you have the bit where kids feel the need to lie on you, or dive bomb you in bed first thing in the morning. Or play with your hair. Or pull on your arm. Or jump on your back. Or cling to your leg.
So you are either working (at home or out) or you’re being verbally and physically attacked by munchkins.
No wonder the extrovert in you has gone into hibernation, and you just want to hide in a cave for a month. Or a year.
What can you do about your need for alone time?
Well, you can embrace it for starters. If you are craving alone time then it is something you physically NEED, like sleep. And if you’re not getting enough then you’re going to have to welcome burnout soon.
I speak from experience – I tend to take on too much, do too much and then spectacularly burn out. So do yourself a favour, learn from my mistakes and don’t wait until you’re in full meltdown mode.
How on earth can you possibly find time to be alone as a mum?
You need to find ways. As I say to the lovely mums in my Life Reboot Camp – if you were seriously ill you would find the time and resources to go and do what was needed to get better. This is no different.
Here are some ways you can get help with your kids so you can take some alone time:
- If your children’s father is around, get him to look after them on his own. Even if it is only for a 30 minute outing to the park.
- If your children’s grandparents are nearby, ask them if they can help out for an hour or an evening from time to time.
- Do you have friends who have kids the same age as yours? If so, help each other out. You look after your friend’s children so she has some time off and vice versa.
- Maybe you have a neighbour with older children who do babysitting. In which case every once in a while enlist their help and get your alone time.
HOWEVER DO NOT (and yes I am shouting here) USE THIS TIME TO DO CHORES!!!
It is very easy to fall into the quicksand of Mummy Guilt and never get out again.
We say to ourselves “I’ll quickly rustle up some dinners to freeze for next week” or “I’ll just sort out the boys’ bedrooms while they’re out” or “I must organise Clara’s birthday party”.
The whole point of alone time is to chill out. To relax. To take a break from parenting, from being mummy, from the endless hamster wheel of kids, family, school, work, life.
I give you full permission right now to ignore the overflowing dirty washing basket / ironing basket / sink of dirty dishes / pile of paperwork.
And I give you the green light to crawl into your favourite corner with a good book (my FAVOURITE way to spend alone time). To watch a box set. To go for a walk. To do a Sudoku puzzle. To do some colouring (I’ve become quite addicted recently). To do one of the kids’ jigsaw puzzles – do you know how therapeutic it is to place the final piece of Sleeping Beauty’s hair?!?
It doesn’t matter what it is. Just take that alone time. Grab it with both hands and enjoy it.
If you don’t want to become burnout shouty mummy, who no one wants to be around, you need to take some time out with yourself. And kick the mummy guilt to the curb. It’s not welcome here.
P.S. Maybe this sounds a bit too difficult for you right now. In which case grab your 10 day guide to falling (back) in love with your life, and go through the 10 days of simple tasks and exercises to learn how to start enjoying life (again).
FREE Kill Overwhelm Cheat Sheet
Discover the 6 ways to kill overwhelm, get you off the hamster wheel and embracing life again. Today.