Mommy me-time: this is how to keep the balance in the week

Do you know that feeling? That going to the supermarket by yourself feels like a month's vacation? That lingering on the toilet a minute longer is already golden? Many young mothers and parents struggle with time management. Because there are all those to do's and so little me-time!

Having a family is a wonderful wealth. But your already full schedule due to your work, social obligations, relationship and household suddenly floods. Because besides being a loving partner, fine colleague, nice friend and perfect housewife, you also want to be the very best parent you can imagine. And especially with a newborn, your day is extra busy and intense. No wonder you sometimes feel floored. Up to the point of burnout. A Belgian study shows that even 1 in 12 parents has such a parental burnout. The solution is of course an obvious one: get some rest once in a while. But how?     

Feeling guilty for taking a moment for yourself? Nonsense, it makes you a nicer person and nicer parent. So win-win, also for your family.


Busy busy busy

On the way from work to daycare, you rush past your mom. There the favorite cuddly toy was still lying around and without that piece of plush, bedtime is a drama. No, no time for a cup of tea, sorry, next time. Feeling guilty, you arrive at your child, the last to be picked up today. Tonight you will just have to eat something quick and then plop down on the couch, you think, as you walk into the supermarket with a sulky child. Although you would have liked to turn those black bananas on the counter into that healthy banana bread that passed by on Insta. Oh yes, and washing your hair again.

Recognizable? As a parent, you seem to suffer from chronic lack of time. And the more you manage to do in those 24 hours, the more seems to be added to your plate. So you try harder. Without results. At least, everyone around you is happy with all your good care, except you.


Being a good mother

If you think back to how mothers used to do things, we've come a long way in convenience. We have wet wipes and paper diapers, dustbins and the Internet. Meal boxes have even taken away the question of what to put on the table. So why does it not seem like we have gained seas of time?

Because the bar has also gotten higher and higher. Being a good mother or parent means much more these days. We are raising children to be self-reliant beings with strong opinions of their own. But that also means being in discussion and negotiation more often. And mothers are more strict with themselves. The critical mother mafia combined with the perfect pictures on social media do not help. It seems like you are never doing well enough. Maybe it helps to remember that all those critical fellow moms often only react that way out of their own insecurity. And that behind the perfect social media lives are often very ordinary people. Even tidying guru Marie Kondo recently admitted that her home is now just another mess: "I was a professional tidier and I always wanted my house as clean as possible. I gave up that idea. I realize now that it's more important to spend time with my children.'


The good-enough parenting

Turn it around for once. Suppose you try so hard that one day you really are a perfect parent. What example are you setting your child by always wanting to be perfect at everything? That he or she, too, must be perfect. Philosopher Alain de Botton put it nicely: "Perfect parents give their children a headache. He therefore advocates the good-enough parenting. If you show them that imperfect is also fine, you also teach them that they are good enough. And above all: don't focus on what could have been better about that birthday party, that not 100% healthy meal, the not wrinkle-free bedtime ritual. Look at what did go right. That already helps you judge things a lot more positively. So don't be too hard on yourself.

But of course stress is not nice. So take a look at the recurring moments during the week when your heart rate shoots up and your breath catches in your throat. What can you do differently in those?


More control and letting go

One of the reasons for stress is feeling out of control. Do you especially shoot into panic mode when you are living in the moment? From an unexpected question from your colleague when you are just about to leave, to yet another birthday party? Or a screaming toddler on the floor during the morning rush hour? Then try to anticipate such things. Stock up on small birthday gifts as soon as you come across them, so you always have something in reserve. At work, give 15 minutes' notice that you are leaving. In your morning rush hour, allow for 5 minutes of child-drift time. In short, build in reserves. And let go. Let things go in your household. The world does not stop turning.


More planning means less stress

Do you get spots from all the to do's? Do you see everything you have to do in a day as a mountain in front of you? Then turn that mountain into small piles. In other words, make lists of tasks. Then you not only have an overview, it's also easier to see what has to be done first and what can be done later. In short, it helps you plan. And the golden rule in planning is: establish a routine. Every evening, for example, set aside your work bag and diaper bag. Or try to set a fixed time for dinner. Keep a fixed ritual at bedtime or at getting ready in the morning. If you don't have to think about it every day, things often run more smoothly. And children simply benefit from regularity.


Me-time is sometimes not being there

Remember how this article began? That you can become happy from being able to wander among the supermarket shelves for a while without brood? Not because shopping is your greatest passion. But because you only have to look after yourself for a while. And nobody wants anything from you. It would be wonderful if you could spend an afternoon every week in a spa to refuel. But alas, that is probably not possible. So pick small moments where you can break free from your motherly role. And does that mean that you can leave on Friday evening alone to do the weekend shopping? Then think of that as your wellness moment. Radio on, window open, who cares about you? And if not, an extra 5 minutes on the toilet works wonders too. Breathe in, breathe out.



If you put aside the critical mother mafia for a moment, you may dare to realize that you cannot do everything on your own. It is okay to ask for help. You do not have to do everything yourself. It takes a village to raise a child, is an old saying. A child is raised not only by you, but by its entire environment. And that asking starts with your partner. Make arrangements with each other. For example, you can sleep in every Saturday and your partner takes care of everything. Sunday is then for him/her. And yes, that also means that your partner will not stick his/her head around the door if he/she cannot find the yellow mail icon. Put him/her in charge of everything downstairs. Although nobody does it as perfectly as you do... It is up to you to let go of that too. And feel guilty for taking care of yourself? Nonsense, it makes you a nicer person and a nicer parent. So win-win, also for your family.

And perhaps the best tip: do not try to get everything in this article done at once. Changing one or two things is already a big win, you will see. Do not be a perfect mom.


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