Yep, a cheesy phrase, loaded with eye rolls.
Yet as a stay at home Mum of two, Me Time is one of the most lacking and one of the most important things in my life.
I’ve spent so long Mum-ing, every stolen solo moment can be mistaken for Me Time. Except when I step back and think about it, jet washing the decking doesn’t really count as quality time, does it?
In fact, a lot of the time spent on my own is filled with chores and necessary life admin, instead of looking after myself.
Me Time is NOT the joy that is walking down a supermarket aisle without children in tow.
Steering a trolley that weighs less than a baby elephant. Rationally choosing items and ingredients, instead of food* being luzzed* into the trolley by two excitable scamps.
*Food = solely biscuits
*Luzzed = thrown with the force of an Olympic shotputter
Me Time is NOT the bliss of a solo wee.
Even after 5 and a half years, I still struggle with sharing my toilet time with one or two small children. It’s my sacred space to think about what I’m going to do about Sonny’s inability to listen, how to calm Bessie’s uncontrollable tantrums and what my essential item would be if I was on ‘Naked and Afraid.’ (I’ve narrowed it down to a firestarter or a 1 kilo tub of Nutella).
Me Time is NOT cooking a family meal whilst playing ‘hunt the plastic tat from a magazine that no one cares about until it’s ALL they care about’.
Every chop and stir is interrupted with ‘have you seen my thingy’ or ‘I can’t find my pink one!’ H’angry and impatient children give no fucks about waiting for food to go from raw to edible. After taking an hour to do a 10-minute job (SpongeBob isn’t going to find himself), dinner is served, precious toys are discarded and in about 10 minutes I have to clean it all up.
Me Time is NOT folding the washing and putting it away whilst persuading Sonny to do his homework.
Sonny hates homework. According to Sonny, things that are more important than phonics include (but are not limited to) watching Thundercats, playing Thundercats, building Lego replicas of Mumm-Ra and raising the Eye of Thundera to the sky 5,647 times shouting “THUNDERCATS, HO!!!!!!!”
I don’t blame him. Lion-O kicks phonics arse.
Me Time is NOT mowing the lawn at 9pm.
In the fading light, using a torch to ensure the snail party on our lawn that rages every night isn’t turned into a horror film massacre.
Side note – Along with not being ‘Me Time’, this is also not ‘keep your neighbours happy time.’
Me Time is NOT trying reply to a WhatsApp group message whilst being screamed at to wipe a shitty arse.
I miss my friends. I have no local village to help me raise my children. But I do have an amazing group of friends, from all over the world, ready to reply with a kind word or ‘What the f have you done?’ thanks to the wonder of technology. Which my kids do not care a jot for when they’re crying about poo on their leg.
Me Time is special and according to Web MD (literally Dr Google), it’s essential to find time for ourselves to do nothing other than focus on our own needs. Seems obvious, right? Except when you become a parent, time isn’t something you have lots of anymore.
From the moment my eyes open until 8pm every night, all I do is look after two small humans. I thought things would get easier when they became able to dress themselves, and feed themselves, and entertain themselves in general. Yet somehow I am busier than I have ever been, juggling a million balls which are all about to tumble onto my frazzled head at any minute.
So what do I do for Me Time I hear literally no-one ask.
In an effort to quell the screaming inner anxious twat that lives within me, I recently decided to try and actively look after myself.
If I can I go to yoga. I try and downward dog the shit out the guilt I feel for being there JUST FOR ME.
I take a book into the garden and try to blank the chairs that need painting or plants that need deadheading.
I promise myself I will get an early night, to invest in the following day by not existing simply on coffee and sugar and determination to get to 8pm unscathed.
Then I break this promise every night, by bingeing The Good Place on Netflix, or Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, or Naked and Afraid on Discovery (I’m not signing up – I would die). I stay up far too late staring at the big lit up screen and not talking to my husband, safe and content in the void of series and box sets.
Every morning I kick myself, annoyed I didn’t get the 8 hours of sleep I need and incredulous at how after 3 hours of indulgence I allowed myself just one more episode.
Every day at around 4pm I say to myself ‘Right, bed at 9pm, no messing.’ And EVERY night I fail.
Because this is my ‘Me Time.’ Uninterrupted. Audio from only one place. No arses to wipe, no arguments to settle, no SpongeBob to find. Bliss.
So next time I promise myself to get an early night, I’m going to remember it’s important to get some Me Time.
I will stop beating myself up. I will rewatch The Good Place because it’s the balls and makes me feel happy inside. I will give that time to myself, guilt-free.
Just. For. Me.