I think most people will agree with me that everyone needs "me time". We need time to invest in ourselves, to put our creativity to use, to get our hands dirty doing something we love, and to do something with our own enjoyment in mind. As a mom, I especially need a tiny bit of each day or week that I can devote to myself. Every part of my day is focused on my family and all of the many tasks and worries that includes. While I wouldn't have it any other way and feel grateful that I'm able, the last few months of deep personal struggle have made me realize just how important taking care of myself is, too.
I remember after Noah was born feeling like I didn't need the "me time". I wanted to hold my baby boy all day, cherished our many nursing sessions, and never wanted to leave him. As he grew older and I struggled with depression at different levels, I still never put much value on needing to have some time to myself. It's only now as I look back at the first year of Noah's life, and at the last few months of transition for our family, that I realize that some of my struggles have had to do with feeling burnt out.
My cup has been empty at the end of every day and I haven't been taking the time to fill it back up. My emotional and physical energy is spent. I haven't been making time for prayer or the Word. I've been relying on my own strength and am failing. I haven't been blogging anymore. I haven't been stretching and growing. Most days I look like I just rolled out of bed at three in the afternoon. We have zero structure for our day. I'm never alone as every minute has been spent at home with Noah. When you're a stay-at-home-mom, that's many, many hours of pouring yourself into your child!
I've been struggling with feeling depressed, alone, weak, unmotivated. I'm so thankful for people in my life who I can be vulnerable with, including family, close friends, and my husband. They've been encouraging me to take time for myself. I also spoke to my midwife about how I was feeling and she encouraged the same thing- take time for myself, get out of the house alone, get some exercise, meet other moms. I have a degree in Psychology. I knew all of this, but sometimes when you're in a rut you don't have the motivation to act. I also struggled with guilt for needing time away from my child.
Last week something hit me. I think it was a combination of just a tiny bit of heart change I had been asking God for and getting a taste of what I was missing. My mom was here and she and I went to town while Noah and Michael stayed home. It was so refreshing! I not only was able to spend time with one of my best friends, but I had two hours where I was only needing to take care of myself. I had conversations during which I was able to hash out some of my dreams and be encouraged. I had space to realize how important space is!
So what's changed for me this week? I've made time for prayer and spiritual growth. I've made time to blog in the evenings. I've decided not to feel guilty for devoting time to that while Noah plays with Michael or entertains himself for awhile. I've utilized nap time to rest myself, whether that means sleeping or pampering myself. I've put away guilt for needing to rest my tired, pregnant body when need be. I've had more emotional energy to put towards planning our days and slowly adding some structured activity, something I didn't have motivation for previously.
Yesterday I ran across a post on Design Mom's facebook page and thought, "That would be fun to do!". I then had the idea for this post! In the spirit of making time for myself and investing in my own creativity, I've decided that every Friday I will choose a creative project for the week and challenge myself to complete it, document it, and blog about it for the following Friday! The project could be something just for me or it could be something I've been wanting to make for Noah, Michael, our home, or as a gift for someone else. It could also be something I've been wanting to do or an event I've been wanting to attend.
My challenge to complete by next Friday? This fun set of DIY Painted Bowls!
Aren't these a great idea? I can't tell you how many pins I've got on my "handmade" board on Pinterest. I'd love to take this time to complete some of those! I love that the cost is under $10 and it's a pretty simple project for my first completed post next week!
This obviously isn't the cure all and I still have much to do in the way of growth, healing, and change. But taking time to have your cup filled again is a vital part of being able to pour it out again.
Check back next Friday to see how I made time for the bowls, how I decided to design them, and some fun pictures of the completed project!
Do you make time for yourself every week? How do you enjoy spending your "me time" the most?