The Ins and Outs of “Me Time”

It’s a pretty constant refrain parents, particularly mothers it seems, hear all the time. The importance of obtaining a little time to yourself to just be slightly self-involved for a little bit, to get away from constant vigilance and attention to the video baby monitor. Still, finding — and enjoying — those rare bits of “me time” can be harder than any sane person would normally think.

Of course, everyone would agree that having a strong support system in place that permits more breathing room is invaluable. A loving and supportive partner, involved grandparents, other very close relatives or friends as well as paid babysitters and others — these are all invaluable aids. However, even parents who are blessed with all the emotional and physical support they can manage still find themselves unable to relax under any circumstances. One friend confided to us how, with a lot of effort, she finally got herself some time alone to watch her favorite television show. The only problem was that she was unable to tear her eyes away from the baby monitor. Her husband was on standby, but the thought that her baby could be experiencing some discomfort without her help was just too overwhelming to her.

Now, there are potentially very serious issues that can come in the wake of a new baby. Relationships can be stressed by the new responsibility and postpartum depression is a very real and common issue that needs to be addressed by a medical professional. Assuming these kind of matters are not the problem, the inability to enjoy a little bit of alone time is simply a matter of allowing yourself permission to be — within some pretty limited circumstances — just a little bit less central to your child’s’ world. At some point, all parents are going to have to realize that, as important as they are to their children, they are not their entire universe. It’s partly an issue of being able to trust others, including your parents and partners, to take care of your children and mind the baby monitor. Your child isn’t the only one going through a maturation process.

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