Whether you are a new mom or an experienced one, or even if you are neither, the importance of getting some ‘me-time’ is paramount. Having some alone time to yourself is critically important for you to establish a healthy relationship with your surroundings. It’s like recharging your phone. I cannot stress how important and empowering it is to disconnect with everything only to reconnect better.
Let me tell you how I started my ‘me-time’. Before we get into it, you should know, I am that new mom, who strongly insisted on giving her son his first bath home and all his other firsts even though she underwent an episiotomy and had a 40+ hour long labor, and was sleep deprived courtesy breastfeeding. I did it all. I stepped out of the house only for our doctors’ appointments. When my son was about 14 days old, my parents had to go back to India due to a tragedy in the family. They were the only extra help I had because my husband also had to go back to work. It was also the same time when the postpartum depression hit me real bad. So, everything happened at once.
My son was about 2 months old when my husband almost kicked me out of the house to go for a drive by myself while he took care of our son. He said, “Pooja, I got this. You need to go out and get some air. You need to go out, drive around the block if you want but do something – without us.” I thought he was being so insensitive at that time. How can I leave the most precious thing of my entire existence and go out? Alone? Is this some kind of a joke? A bad-insensitive one? How careless! I am not that kind of a mom, I said. He gave me the keys and walked me out and shut the door. He said, ‘I will see you in 15 minutes.’ I left, reluctantly. I wanted to see what kind of a difference will it make and honestly, the naïve me wanted to prove him wrong. I drove around the block, then I took a turn at a minor intersection, then I took another one at a major intersection. I didn’t realize but I drove for half-an-hour, without music. It was just me and sounds of the car. I rolled down the window and I heard the cars zooming swiftly next to mine. I felt the breeze. I didn’t like how it played fizz with my hair. I rolled them back up. I returned home. As he opened the door and greeted me without saying a word, I hugged him tight and wept like a baby. I cried so much. It was as if I had to go on that drive that day to disconnect myself from everything. To remind myself that I am the same 20-something girl who was (and still is) this ambitious person beyond being a new mother to this beautiful baby boy. I felt like I was under too much pressure to do the ‘right’ thing on my own with this huge responsibility. That day, for the first time in a long time, I felt refreshed. I felt rejuvenated. I felt like I can do better as a mom, as a wife, and as a person. It felt like I was thirsty, on a hot summer day, and someone just offered me an ice-blended margarita, with salt. Okay, maybe a glass of chilled lemonade or water.
I liked this feeling. It energized me and this ladies and gentlemen, was the day I had a bulb-moment about the importance of ‘me-time’. I managed to carve out that me-time for myself on most days ever since. I worked closely with my son and we both were taking cues off of each other to balance out a rhythm. I took advantage of his nap-times and treated myself with a hot shower or an episode of my favorite show or a quiet meal-time or finishing my chores or sometimes, I just wanted to lay down and not move an inch. I am and will always be incredibly grateful to him for that day and for all days when he takes charge and has his father-son time to ensure I also get my break. In fact, my boys are out having fun at the park while I write this right now.
So, you can establish your own rhythm with your kids, no matter how old they are right now. I urge you to just take at least 30 minutes away from being the wonder-woman you are. Find your version of what driving was for me that day. It can be anything or nothing too, as long as you are happy and at peace. Reconnect with the girl in you and ask her how she is, what she wants to be happy and figure out how you can make that possible. Or just be you.
If a Mumsy like me can do it, so can you. I promise you won’t regret it.