If you were surprised to find how little time you really had to yourself after having kids, you’re not alone. It turns out that the average mother ends up with just 17 minutes to herself a day. That’s hardly anything!
Forget going out and reconnecting with mom friends – most of us are lucky if we can sit down with a cup of coffee or read an entire blog post without having to get up and wipe someone’s bum.
And that’s not the worst of it! After all, modern Millennial dads are definitely stepping up in the parenting department. The problem isn’t that moms have less time overall for ‘me time’ but rather that their time is more fractured.
Some people are calling it contaminated time – it might look like a mother is taking a breather but she’s actually running through the countless mental lists she keeps as part of keeping the household running smoothly. And because moms are always on it can be incredibly hard to relax.
According to one WSJ article, ‘… mothers assume a disproportionate number of time-sensitive domestic tasks, whether it’s getting their toddlers dressed for school or their 12-year-olds off to swim practice. Their daily routine is speckled with what sociologists Annette Lareau and Elliot Weininger call “pressure points,” or nonnegotiable demands that make their lives, as the authors put it, “more frenetic.’
There’s no denying that having kids is labor intensive (and not just when you’re pushing them out into the world). But a lot of moms are unprepared for the toll that becoming a mother takes on a person’s social life.
In a survey conducted by Mom Central Consulting, four out of five moms reported that they didn’t have enough friends and 58% of the mothers reported feelings of loneliness. A survey conducted by Mother and Baby Magazine found that 53% of new moms feel lonely and isolated. Additionally, 87% miss the social life they had before having children, and 82% of those surveyed would welcome opportunities to meet up with other moms.
Why? First because there’s just plain less time to meet up with old friends and new mom friends. Seventeen minutes a day only adds up to about an hour and a half a week, yikes! And second, we feel guilty. Like really guilty. Leaving our kiddos behind to go grab a coffee or even a grownup drink with the girls seems frivolous – like we’re taking that time away from our children.
That said, before you nix girls’ night entirely from your day planner, let me ask you something: Do you feel like a better parent when you’re happy? Is being a mom more fun? If you answered yes to either question or both then just for a few weeks, try making me time (and meeting up with mom friends) a priority.
It might be tough at first. You might even need to let some things – like laundry mountain – sit untouched for a few more days. But believe me when I say that going back to the daily grind will be so much easier and your social life? Will be so much stronger!