This is something not often openly talked about, the importance of ME time. It sounds selfish to some people. The whole Instagram reality bullshit would have you believe that you should spend every waking second with your baby. Playing with them, holding them, teaching them and so on.
The reality is, you (Mom & Dad) need a break from them. You really do. Yes, you love them with all your being but having a child, particularly a newborn who is totally dependent on you is all-consuming, tiring and can wear you down.
An hour or 90 mins to do your own thing, out of a 24 hour day a couple of times a week, goes a whole long way to you being a happier Dad or Mom. When you're happy that aura will pass onto your baby and if not will definitely help when they're having a tantrum. If you're in a bad mood, then one of those crying fests start, it's hard not to get upset.
Discussing ME time
It can be hard for someone to say, I need a break from my kid. But when you look at it objectively, of course, you need a break from something that cries at you, screams at you, pisses and poos on you and wakes you at ungodly hours of the morning. If this was the case in your professional working life you'd be asking for a raise.
Then if your partner is breastfeeding there is that added physical toll and the stresses that come with a baby deciding they don't fancy latching today. Which is tough when you know they're hungry. How? Well because they're screaming & crying again.
It's all this stuff above and more just simply repeated on a daily/weekly/monthly cycle.
What myself and Ruth did was to have a chat about having breaks each day or during the week to help share the load, so we don't go bat shit crazy but also have a life outside of just being a parent to the cutest little girl in the whole world (had to throw that in there).
My Free Time
For me, as many of you might already be aware, my ME time is to get some sort of training or workout in. I try to go to the gym first thing in the morning at 6 am and I feel it sets me up for whatever the day has in store for me physically and mentally. Also, doing a workout at this time tends to avoid the workout not happening at all.
Any bonus ME time I might get I try and practice the ukulele and more recently the mandolin which is a much trickier instrument to get the hang of.
When it comes to stuff like hanging out with friends, nights away or nights out. Both of us try to give as much prior notice as possible to each other so that we can plan ahead.
Now, these things don't always go to plan but the aim is to know/plan what you'll do with your ME time when you get it. Trust me you don't want to waste it.
Make Sure You Actually Take Your ME Time
Seems like an easy thing to do, to actually take some time for yourself. However, it can be difficult to pull oneself away to have a break only then to hear your baby cry and immediately want to help.
But you need the break just as much as the other parent needs to practice parenting on their own.
Recently for me, it's doing a Daddy & Daughters (Indie included) walk for some solo parenting. This gives Ruth a break, a quiet house and the opportunity to do a workout herself or just simply relax for an hour uninterrupted.
What do you spend your ME time doing?
Anyway, it was just a little topic that popped into my head that I thought I'd share. It's definitely something I'd recommend new parents to discuss, to take and to enjoy the break. It's ok to want and have a break from your baby lads.
All you have to do then is decide what you want to do with your ME time.