The “Me Time” Debate

Posted: November 9, 2011 at 9:38 am

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Ever since I got home from Savannah on Sunday, I have had little motivation for doing too much productive. I have just wanted to keep the fun going! Good thing this week somehow turned up with little on our schedules. No school functions. No church meetings. No deadlines. No pressure.

In other words, I have done fun activities with the kids and squeezed in a lot of “me time” in between. Lately I have tried really hard to prioritize my time in as non-stressful a way as possible. Instead of cramming *more more more more* into my days, I hope to focus on the things that must get done. The things that have the biggest lasting impact. And the things that fulfill me most.

Such as library and park play dates with the kiddos.

Taking time for my passions, but also taking time for things like reading books.

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And getting in my favorite form of “me time” of all – killer workouts!

I did four miles on the treadmill yesterday and it felt so good. I love running so much! I also did Level 3 of Jillian Michaels’ The Shred in the afternoon.

That 20 minutes will get you where it hurts.

Sure, sometimes life gets crazy mad hectic and I have little time for these types of things. BUT - I’m a lot happier these past few weeks than I have been in awhile. All because I have taken some of the pressure off myself and put more of a focus on enjoying life – doing the things I enjoy – having more “me” and “family” time.

Interestingly enough, this topic got a lot of attention when I was listening to my favorite radio show the other morning. The hosts talked about a post they came across about how working moms get just 30 minutes to themselves every day.

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I can believe it! I know I’ve been in those shoes and I’m not even a working mom!

I checked it out and, at first, it simply solidified my recent desires to find more balance. Then, I read the comments and found myself slightly appalled. A few of them boiled down to “if you want ‘me time’ either don’t work or don’t have kids, otherwise shut up”. Really?

Kids undoubtedly take a lot of time and commitment. As does work. However, I fully believe women (and men, for that matter) can be exceptional parents, remain committed to their goals, and enjoy some fun. Sometimes certain things have to slide and it’s a constant shuffling of priorities, but it is possible. It’s important to keep perspective, but it’s also understandable to feel overwhelmed at times. And in keeping perspective, I love what a lady who inspires me says:

lifeisperspective

Awesome, huh? We can all make the most of life. We can all find some time for ourselves to actually love life. It doesn’t have to be one way or the other.

  • What are your thoughts on “me time” with work and/or kids?
  • What’s the last thing you did just for you and/or just for fun?

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60 Comments to “The “Me Time” Debate”
  1. I have conflicting views on this and must say that stay-at-homers get practically NO time to themselves. Unless your child naps, there is no down time. No me time. It’s a trade-off that you make when you decide to have children. Giving up that free time. Sometimes I miss the freedom I had before starting our family – but again, I would be missing out on something amazing too.

  2. I might have it a bit easier in this since I’m single and have no kids – but I find it crucial to take a little time for myself every day. Even if it’s just 20 or 30 minutes before bed, it keeps me sane! It’s a good balance for the hectic pace of life!

  3. I’m absolutely ridiculous…Monday to Friday I work 7.30am until 4.30pm…I get up at .30am to work out and squeeze in a walk/run in the evenings too. In between I eat, cook, blog and sleep which leaves little room for anyone or anything else. I try and take the time at the weekend to catch up with the world but it just ain’t long enough. I’m happy…just tired! I need a “mental health day”…an unofficial day of work to chillax! :)

  4. I love your ideas on this Tina! I don’t have kids nor a busy working life, but I do have a busy grad school life and finding “me” time can be challenging. But I definitely think it’s possible and something that people SHOULD strive for! I’ve seen parents who don’t take enough me time and frankly it has impacted their parenting in negative ways…and that’s no good for anyone! The last thing I did for me and that was just fun was read a book last weekend instead of trying to get ahead on school work! Totally worth it :)

  5. Thirty minutes a day?? Where can I get me some of that?? :)

    Just kidding. But honestly, it is TOUGH to find “me” time as a working mom. I leave the house by 7:30am every morning and get home at 5:00pm. My husband works late just about every night so it’s on me to feed the baby, feed myself, do laundry, wash dishes, etc etc. The baby doesn’t go to bed until after 9pm some nights and I try to be in bed around 10pm so I can wake up well rested the next day to do it all over again. It can certainly be exhausting! But my little guy is TOTALLY worth any “me” time I’m not getting. :)

  6. I couldn’t agree with you more. I believe “me time” is a crucial element to contentment and peace. It helps you process thoughts and have fun by doing something you enjoy. Although it may be tough to squeeze it in, I believe it should be a priority. I’m so glad you’ve been able to fit more “me time” into your schedule! You deserve it girl!

  7. Heidi says:

    I wonder about this myself. I work a very demanding full-time job, throw in working out, keeping up with the housework and cooking, blogging, part-time master’s courses, and my boyfriend and I feel like barely have time to breath. I wonder how I will ever have the time to build our second home in 2 years, get married, and have kids. Something will have to change, I know I will always work so I am not sure how I will swing it but I am sure I will figure it out. I like your quote about perspective. Good time management, deep breaths, and patience I think are key! :)

  8. Me time is so important. I am definitely always trying hard to get ahead of my to-do list and very rarely take time to sit down and just chill. That said, my me time is my workouts…I get up early to get it in before my son is awake. Like you, I’m trying to slow down and take a deep breath once in awhile and just appreciate what’s going on instead of rush rush rush.

  9. Katie @ Raisins&Apples says:

    I’m not a mom, but I do have two jobs that put me over ‘full time’ and both involve a lot of nuturing. I think being in an environment where you are consistently nuturing others can often hinder self-nuturing.

    That being said, my me time is restorative. I want to be effective in what I do, and me time helps with that :)

  10. my perspective on this may be a bit idealistic since i don’t have kids…. however, i think that a mom can’t be a good mom (or a dad a good dad) unless they take time for themselves: to do fun things with friends, workout, relax, whatever. it makes me so sad to see some of my mom friends not doing this because they don’t want ‘impose’ on their husband or lose control of their children/house for even a little bit of time. eventually i think that has to build up so much frustration in someone. it just gets me so riled up (and i am so not an uber feminist) when i see these moms doing everything for their kids and the dads doing as they please…often because moms think they need to be super mom. i so hope when i am a mom i am not like that! i love what you’re saying!

  11. I love this post. “Me-time” is so important for women because they can take care of their kids/husbands better if they have taken care of themselves.

    I am going to make a point to get some today!

  12. When I was in college I took an over full course load as well as worked part time. It progressed to working a full time job, a part time job, and taking full time courses online. I think those experiences really helped me when it came to being a mom full time. Looking back I used to wonder how I did it but now that I have my daughter, she literally takes all my time since I’m a stay at home mom. During those times in college I also didn’t want children and I really thought being a stay at home mom was selfish to your family (making your husband do all the bread winning) and that you should at least make an effort to work part time after your kids went to school.

    But having a kid changes a lot and I find that I don’t require “me” time as such. I go out shopping by myself like twice a week and leave Claire with my mom and that’s pretty much all the sanity adult time I need. I also love being a stay at home mom and plan on homeschooling my daughters.

  13. As a brand new mom who will soon be working in a few months, me time is going to be huge. Being a mom is a 24/7 job, and I’m happy I get those 30 minutes a day to go workout (thank you husband). I am thankful for sleepless nights and the time I get to spend with my daughter. It is definitely perspective.

  14. jobo says:

    I think it is so important to carve out some ‘me’ time wherever you can. Sure, it may not be 30 minutes specifically set aside each day, but as long as you find ways to enjoy and live the day, not just rush through it, that’s some me time, in my book. And sometimes that might mean carving out a me AFTERNOON or a me WEEKEND, but those are so few and far in between and unrealistic half the time, that just a little bit each day goes a long way. I think it is achievable, it’s making yourself a priority too. I consider reading blogs (and writing mine) some me time, absolutely.

  15. This is something that’s been weighing on my mind more and more now that I’m pregnant. I get SO much me time now– my whole LIFE is me time!! And while I’m thrilled about having a baby…part of me is really sad about having to give that up. I know how hard it can be to make yourself a priority as a new mother, but it’s something I’m going to really try to do– I think we’ll all be happier for it in our household!!

  16. Khushboo says:

    That perspective quote needs to be framed- love it! I think it’s a matter of quality when it comes to ‘me time’, not quantity! Sure maybe it’s not possible to have ‘me time’ every day but on the days where it is possible to fit in, make it count!

  17. I like that “me” time includes times not just by yourself – but at the park with your kids or doing things with your husband. I used to think of “me” time as time I spent along, but now it’s really the times when I’m doing something fulfilling that brings me peace – which can involve other people.

  18. Karolina says:

    Work-Life Balance is definitely something that is tough to do, and I think it’ll be something we have to fight for our entire lives (because, you know… we’re not perfect :D ). Love the quote you shared.

  19. The ironic part is that I feel I get “me” time at work! I don’t have a super stressful job, but I also get to drink a hot cup of coffee, use the bathroom when I want, and read during my pump breaks. I almost feel like I get less “me” time the days I’m at home!

  20. Nadia says:

    How is “A Secret Kept”? I’m in search of a new book for when I finish “The Help”- which is ending quicker than I want it to because it’s such a good read!

    • Tina says:

      I liked it just okay. It was well written, but kind of drawn out in my opinion. And the secret wasn’t really anything all that super intriguing in my mind. Plus, it kind of just ended. I hate when books have no closure!

  21. Me time? What? Ha! I’m struggling with this … a lot. I wake up with the baby, do baby stuff till I go to work, work, go home, do baby stuff and dinner and then got to bed. My breaks only come when Miles wants to nap in the morning or I force myself to get up early though the latter isn’t working out so well with the time change. I find that it’s important for me to ask for time. Even if it’s just doing my run without the stroller, I’m happy. I’m hoping it gets better once we are on a better sleep/wakeup schedule.

  22. I may just be a college student but even then it’s hard to find “me time.” I always have roommates running around, people constantly in my room, people always calling or texting, and never-ending meetings for various clubs. There is never enough time in the day! Trying to prioritize is key like you say.

    I’m trying to become better with that by getting all of my work done than curling up in bed and reading a good book for a bit. Also, how is that book “A Secret Kept”?

  23. Even though I’m going nonstop from 6am-10pm, I feel like my ‘me time’ is spent doing what I love. I have time to blog and time to work out (most days). Even though it keeps me busy and going nonstop, those are things I do for my enjoyment, fulfillment and health. So on those days when I’m going crazy because I have no ‘me’ time, I think what I get frustrated at is not having any down time to just space out. But overall, I love my life (hello annoying rainbows and sunshine coming out of my butt!) and wouldn’t want things any other way :)

  24. Right now, I’m pretty good about getting in me-time. I read every evening. I bake every weekend. I get pedis every 3 weeks. Etc, etc.

    I know when baby boy O arrives, things will change quite a bit, but I do want to make it a priority to have some time just for myself. I think I’ll be a better mama by doing so ;)

  25. Michelle says:

    YES to all of this.

    Maybe I’m crazy (as my blog implies – ha), but I as a working mom I think sometimes I get more “me” time – at work. Granted, I work in a field that allows me this AND I work with some of my best friends! Of course, I don’t work for the me time – I would to provide for my family, so it helps that I actually enjoy it!

    What I think more moms – and people in general – need to do is stop focusing on “doing it all.” I don’t do it all, but I do a lot and it fulfills me. You define your own sense of balance and your own priorities. Nobody else should be setting them for you, judging you on what you do and can’t do, and determining if you are doing enough. Only you can do that!

  26. Judy says:

    That book seems so interesting!
    Jillian Michaels has some amazing workouts. I did a 30 day cut workout on my blog and it was amazing!!!

  27. I completely agree with you that taking “me” time is absolutely necessary to be a well rounded, happy mother, wife, person. Having children doesn’t mean that you stop being you and doing the things that make you who you are, it just means you have to learn a new skill: balancing and prioritizing.
    And by taking “me” time and continuing to do the things that you love is a great example for your children. It teaches them independence, that mom deserves respect, is her own person separate from them, and helps them in dealing in relationships when they’re older and able to respect each others individuality and alone time.

  28. I don’t have much ‘me’ time at all because I spend my time with my son during the day (and I’m pregnant) and then once he goes to bed I spend most evenings with my husband. However, that is totally my choice. Some days, when I just need time, I just make it happen and it’s no problem. If I need a bath, or to go to the store without my son I have plenty of people to help, plenty of opportunities and plenty of ability. I don’t understand women who think that being a mother would put them in the back seat because of how fulfilling it is!

    “Me time” can always be made if you really have to have so much of it.

  29. That level 3 video is rough!! And I’m a student with only me to take care of, so I get a lot of “me” time… I guess I should soak it in now!

  30. I can’t get past level one on that DVD! ;)

  31. Paige @ RAN says:

    Wow, those comments are just downright ignorant!!

    On another note, I’m so glad you’ve found a better balance for your lifestyle :) “Me” and “family” time is so important!

  32. I think it’s important to spend time with my family and friends, but sometimes a little “me time” is exactly what I need. Sometimes I take just an hour to myself to write a post, to catch up on blogs or even watch a TV show I hadn’t seen in awhile. I think it’s important to take time to yourself once a day!

  33. Jess says:

    I think everyone deserves “me” time — and quite honestly, moms need it even more. It makes for a happier more balanced mom which then translates to happier more balanced kiddos. At least I think so…and I say this without having kids of my own to relate it to, but I do think me time is incredibly important to have, in some shape or form, everyday (or almost everyday) at least.

  34. Ela says:

    Pretty amazing that you’re running right on so soon after Saturday! That’s some fantastic recovery and resilience.

    I think it is so sane and smart to make a point of having “me” time. It’s so easy to end up cramming something in to every single moment of the day.

    I’m trying out making a list of six things that I really want to do each day, the night before, and then if I get those six done, I can do some of the other things too. Maybe I should make “me time” one of those six!
    love
    Ela

  35. This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me…I literally had a breakdown last night…It was just sort of that culmination of having a 7 week old, husband calling to say he would be home late, and just feeling like I had really lost myself when my little princess was born. I know I am not the first mom to feel this way, I love her more than anything, but have felt a little bit like I am not sure who I am very much lately. I used to relish getting dressed up, going out with friends, etc and now most days I am lucky if I get a shower and don’t get spit up on immediately :)

    That being said in the last couple of weeks I have been able to either do a few workout videos while she is sleeping or take her to the children’s center at our gym and get a good workout in. This “me time” has become something that is keeping me sane and allowing the other time that I then spend with my little girl all the more special. That workout time allows me to still feel confident, happy that the baby weight is dropping off, and energy to take care of her needs the rest of the day.

    Not to be long winded, but that time is so important, with kids or without them to just feel like a real human being!

  36. Katheryn says:

    It’s an interesting question. I find it interesting that so many people say they don’t have any “me time” because they’re busy with work, kids, exercise, and blogging. Um. In my mind exercise and blogging is “me time.” I’m a SAHM to two, almost three, kids. I get up early to exercise. That’s my time. My days are filled with errands, cleaning, kid stuff, and church stuff. I still read books and blogs, send emails, and call my friends on occasion. I play with and entertain my children, but no all day long. I think that’s doing them a disservice if I never give them the opportunity to entertain themselves. When did so many of us become such martyrs?

  37. I don’t get a whole lot of me time, but I’m okay with that because this is the season of life I’m in and I love and respect my role as wife and mother. If I get too stressed or absolutely need some me time, I know I can get it. I love the quotes you posted. Life, most definitely, is about perspective.

  38. It’s like you read my mind. This is why we’re friends. I have a post going up tonight about being stressed out lately and how to deal with it. Seriously. I love you. lol

  39. I think “me time” is SUPER important. In fact, I am always able to notice a change in my mood when I haven’t had sufficient to myself. For instance, this past week has been very stressful because of schoolwork, and I noticed that I was feeling super burnt out…because I had NO me time! It got to the point where I realized that I’d probably be more productive if I allowed myself a half-hour break than if I just kept trying to push through. ME TIME!

  40. [...] do it again. The best thing for me to remember is that I am never handed anything I cannot handle. Tina actually wrote a great post just today on how handling life and stress is all about perspective. It [...]

  41. Anna Marie says:

    I agree on needing time for yourself! I have been student teaching and been being at the school from sun up to sun down. It has brought me to a point at times where I spend no time on myself and get irritable. By taking time for myself in prayer, exercise and time with my family which in turn makes myself a better student teacher, friend and family member.

    I have been giving myself a break and letting myself let things slide. In fact I am heading to the gym with a friend now for a turbokick class. =)

  42. I think “me” time is absolutely necessary for everyone. I used to feel guilty about doing things for myself because that meant I wasn’t doing something for someone else. But that thinking got me nowhere. I think that to be a better person, you need to have time to reflect and enjoy your own company. Great post!

  43. Emily says:

    I like to call it the Superwoman phenomenon. Women are pressured to be excellent mothers, hard workers, active in their community, and self-sacrificing.
    I think “me time” should be a given for everyone. People need time to relax! Me time is a priority for me, in order for me to give my all in all other sectors of my life I must give myself some TLC too.
    I would also like to note that if adequate childcare was available for all working mothers in this country we probably wouldn’t see such stressed mothers.

  44. That is a wonderful quote. So true and really puts things in perspective! I should frame it!

  45. i don’t struggle too much with me time. it’s just my husband, me, and the dogs so far — no kids which makes time management easier. however, i do try and take time for myself every weekend. usually it’s a pedicure, a long walk with the dogs, or my favorite of late — a date with myself to sunday morning brunch! i love the alone time.

  46. Marian says:

    You mom’s really do need “me time” Your job is never done! I caught one of my friends the other day on the way back from her walk. It was 8:00Pm at night with head phones in tow and she said she needed a break to get out of the house:) It made me laugh but whatever way works for ya!

  47. meg says:

    I love that little quote at the end! Sometimes when I’m rushing in the grocery story and pick “the wrong line” I get so irritated that the person ahead (or ahead of the person ahead of me) is going at a snail’s pace!! But then I stop and realize that it’s a great chance for me to stop and take a breath and just relax and be still for a minute.

  48. I am trying to get in my “me” time though I am not always successful. My girls are 17 and 15, yes, self-sufficient, but mommy duties never end not even when they are seniors and sophomores. I have a demanding job … it has been a while that I have been trying to find balance which includes ME time, which I believe to be crucial. Not so successful at the moment, but working towards it.

    PS Don’t know if I told you yet … congrats on that awesome Half Marathon time.

  49. Me time is SO important. I take that time every day to talk to my mom, sit with my Hulu on my bed, reading blogs, BLOGGING, or just taking a nap. Working out is a huge part of that too. Self-care is more important than anything else — it creates a basis for everything else in your life.

  50. Allie says:

    Great post! I think as a teenager, I don’t struggle too much with “me time” because well.. i’m a teen and i’m quite selfish. As for my mom, I KNOW she struggles with doing things for herself because she feels selfish. I feel as if people are guilty when they take “me time” as a parent. But I feel like a little “me time” is pretty important :)

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