Finding the Me Time in Mum Time

‘Me time?’

Ask yourself honestly, do you get any as a parent – as a mum?

I think on this pleasant, carefree, little phrase every so often and I’ve got to admit, these days I struggle to identify what me time even is exactly.

Can you be a mum and still have me time?

It seems this mum is getting very little, if any, of that sweet pie.

On so many occasions, I have watched on in fascination as my husband managed to churn through novel after novel on weeknights and weekends, blissfully uninterrupted. The kids waft past him cautiously, intentionally leaving him alone and even go as far as to ask me something that could have been directly addressed to dad.

…”But dad’s reading!” They reverently chime with a respect not gifted to me outside of Mother’s Day.

How does he find the time and score the magic ability to do his own thing when there’s just so much to do as a parent in these high-traffic times?

What makes his ‘me time’ noticeably more successful than my own attempts at grabbing a slice?

Usually during these moments, the kids are everywhere, the mess is abundant, the noise incredible and all those little eyes and requests are aimed directly at me and yet there he sits at the centre of it all, rested, content and oblivious to the chaos, carefully absorbed in his rhythmic page-turning.

There’s no doubt about it – he’s certainly getting a decent dose of time alone.

It seems time out for dads can never be on the same level as time out for mums. (At least not in this home.)

I too have tried to read novels like my husband in these situations. After all, there’s no better way than reading to define me time is there?

It’s impossible to read being a mum in my house though!

I borrow books from the library. I buy them. All my good intentions for becoming absorbed in the joy of reading are excited and firing, yet somehow those books pile up and grow dusty (some accruing nasty overdue fines), or they simply go missing altogether, after my kids have done all manner of odd things with them. (Used them as skis on the carpet, treated them as TV dinner trays or carelessly kicked placed them under a table or pile of washing so that they’re impossible to find if I do manage to grab a rare opportunity to actually sit and relax for a moment.)

Sadly, the wonderful idea of those books just doesn’t happen for me like it does for dad and it has become a bit of a joke in our family, when I express an interest in reading something new.

So I try to watch my favourite television shows instead, which are subject to a different kind of dead-end on the me time front: Never ending interruption while my four sons bounce chaotically on the sofa next to me in the throes of their epic play fights. (It’s worth noting that these always seem to begin as soon as I sit down to relax.)

Other times, I typically struggle to hear the set as the boys play their noisy video games nearby, the tinny sound of their devices scratching at my nerves, a constant source of irritation mixed uncomfortably with the aurally-strained dialogue of my entertainment.

Ever noticed how turning up the volume on the television only turns up the noise of your kids with it?

Let’s not forget that I have a clingy little toddler too, who never leaves my side. Like a heat-seeking missile, she hones in on my every move. This one’s finely and fiercely attuned to the tell-tale signs of my daily routine and comes running frantically at familiar sounds, like the jangling of keys (mummy’s going out), rustling plastic (mummy’s got treats), or silence; (mummy’s snuck-off somewhere, like the bedroom, toilet or laundry and she must be found and monitored).

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That’s motherhood for you, in all its sweet reality. And I love it – I really do, it’s just it’s so constantly overwhelming and demanding when you want to chill-out don’t you find?

There is one special place I can retreat to in our home however and that’s my bathroom.

This room has a lock on the door.

Twice a day, I visit this special place to shower and thankfully, it’s strictly alone-time for me.

Beneath the refreshing roar of the tumbling water, I can hear the distant muffled sounds of my kids thumping and shouting on the other side of that protective door and for a brief moment, oblivious to the me they naturally seek to drain at their every opportunity, I am happily removed from being the centre of their universe for ten, small minutes a day.

It’s the finest ‘me time’ I get. …Any longer and I would start to miss them.

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Jody is a mum of 6 young kids. She’s always asked “How do you do it?” “What is it like?” These questions blossomed into the blog it is today, and so much more. Follow Six Little Hearts for all things parenting, recipes for delicious treats and reviews of great products for babies, kids and beyond as well as places to visit with kids (or without!) in and around Melbourne.

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