Being a parent is tough. Special needs or otherwise. It’s tiring. Emotionally and physically. Add in the stressors of everyday life, jobs, multiple children, bills, you get the idea. When is there time for you?
For many years, there wasn’t time. Then something happened. I got sick and ended up in the hospital for a few days. It then dawned on me, that if I didn’t take care of myself, I couldn’t be there to care for my child.
I’m not talking about just the physical sense either. I also mean emotionally, mentally. Life can wear us down. Burn us out. We then become angry or easily agitated. We’re only human after all. We all need a break from time to time.
I insist on me time for at least 20 minutes, a few times a week. I lock myself in the bathroom. Run a bath, and listen to music. ALONE. Sure, little fingers are often creeping under the door, until Pita chases them away. I ignore it. For those 20 minutes, I’m not mommy. I’m Courtney. And I want to be left alone. I NEED to be left alone.
I know this may be tough for single parents. This is where you can hopefully enlist the help of a family member, or a close friend. Maybe even a respite worker if your child has special needs.
Trust me, I KNOW this isn’t easy. My son won’t stay with anyone, and rarely leaves our sight. So I’m lucky to have Pita, whom can give me my me time. But it’s essential. For your health, and for your child’s.
I know many married couples who have date night. They are usually parents of NT children. Ask an autism parent about date night and they will laugh and laugh. Pita and I don’t do date nights. We can’t. And that’s okay. We both have me time, and that works for us.
Like I said, we’re all only human. We’re moms and dads, but we’re also people. We need time to be ourselves, and just breathe. So make sure you make time for yourself. You’ll feel better, I promise.
Also, a friend sent me this article last year, it’s a great read and explains “Me Time” in a way where you’ll do your best to make time.