Why ‘Me-Time’ is Both a Blessing and a Curse

‘Me-time’ : ‘Time spent relaxing on one’s own as opposed to working or doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy’. The Oxford Dictionary formally recognises ‘me time’, but do you?

So many magazines and websites for women and especially mothers, feature articles that focus on the concept of ‘me-time’. We read about why we should have more of it, how best to get it, how to stop feeling guilty about having too much me time or not enough of it. The act of simply taking time out has become an emotional minefield for the modern women.

 

Why 'Me-Time' is Both a Blessing and a Curse

 

The concept of ‘me-time’ is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, ‘me-time’ dialogue is contributing to a better understanding of how motherhood, career aspirations and women intersect. When we discuss ‘me-time’ we are acknowledging that women spend an exorbitant amount of time working and doing things for others and should remember to take care of themselves as well. However, what is alarming is that ‘me-time’ is almost exclusively used to describe a rare, indulgent break taken by a woman. We have to ask ourselves, how does the mainstream media choose to describe rare, indulgent breaks taken by men? The famously satirical Facebook page ‘Man Who Has It All’ often highlights this ‘me-time’ imbalance in its scathing posts.

Let’s explore this dichotomy further ….

Why me-time is a blessing

If you’re a mother, you know how easy it is to get caught up in the microcosm of family life. You may be working full-time or part-time, you may be at home with your kids WHILST working full-time and the combinations today are endless. But as you know full well, the stress of a busy schedule isn’t the only thing you have to cope with.

Unfortunately, there is still stigma attached to all these choices. If you return to work, you’re an absentee mother who is selfishly neglecting her children in order to fulfil your own career aspirations. If you remain at home to care for your children, you’re a 1950’s throwback who is oppressed by the patriarchy and betraying the Sisterhood by not smashing enough glass ceilings. Raising children and having to contend with the judgement of other family members, child ‘experts’ and magazines is more than enough to send anyone round the twist. This is where ‘me time’ can make a positive difference to your life. Being reminded that we need to take care of Number 1 by our friends and family, our favourite literature or Instagram account can be the wake-up call we need. It’s true what they say. The thing about burning the candle at both ends is that you’ll eventually burn yourself right out!

 

Why 'Me-Time' is Both a Blessing and a Curse

 

Why me-time is a curse

However, the concept of ‘me-time’ is a double-edged sword. Charlotte Whitton famously said that ‘Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought of as half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult’ (plot twist: sorry Charlotte, it is actually quite difficult). Therefore, it’s crucial for women to take time for self-care.

But giving this self-care its own distinct term is problematic. ‘Me-time’ is routinely depicted as a luxurious, indulgent activity that a woman should painstakingly schedule into her diary once a month or even more frequently. If you trawl through articles that well-meaningly suggest ‘me-time’ activities, you’ll begin to see to what I mean. A trip to the movies is described as ‘decadent’. The simple act of sitting down to drink your morning coffee is listed as a perfect way to ‘treat yourself’ (is this real-life, ladies?).

The danger of ‘me-time’ is that the ordinary activities of everyday humans end up perched on a pedestal for mothers. If we begin to idealise the normal social events that mothers participate in even though these events have no significant meaning when our partners or friends without children enjoy them, we are asking mothers to settle for less and be grateful for the bare minimum.

Give Yourself a Break

Regardless of how you feel about ‘me-time’ and how it effects your life, that fact remains that all human beings need to take time to relax. All work and no play really does make Jack a dull boy! If you’re a busy mother and are not used to making time for yourself, you may feel slightly guilty or selfish for orchestrating your own break. It sounds blunt, but you must train yourself to ignore those feelings. Plan your breaks confidently, knowing that you are well within your rights to do so.

In 2018, there are even apps that have been created with the sole purpose of freeing up your day and giving you your life back, so there is no excuse to deny yourself any longer. Take Airtasker, the Australian tasking app. It’s making its debut in the UK this year, and already its finding a firm fan base amongst mothers. Every small job women feel is standing in-between them and a relaxing break can be posted on the app for free, and taskers bid for the opportunity to complete it for them. When even technology is telling us to take time out for ourselves, you know something has got to change!

 

The idea of ‘me-time’ is both a blessing and curse. Dialogue about ‘me-time’ brings awareness to the fact that women often push themselves too hard and take care of everyone around them except themselves. Conversely branding normal social activities as decadent rewards for mothers puts these women in a whole other category and tells them that they should be grateful for the chance to enjoy the things that their partners or friends without kids would not give a second thought to. Don’t idealised me-time this year. Treat it exactly for what it is, a normal break that any person is entitled to.

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

This post was written for Serenity You

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19 comments on “Why ‘Me-Time’ is Both a Blessing and a Curse”

  1. Interesting reading – there’s always room for ME TIME – it improves the quality time spent with family
    Cant be at your best if you dont get a few moments to yourself

  2. We don’t know why mothers need to be treated differently either. Seems all our childless friends have a lot of ‘me time’ and don”t make a big thing about it. I suppose its just because its so rare for busy parents. A though provoking post x #TwinklyTuesday

  3. This is a really interesting post and I have to agree with quite a lot I suppose I am quite lucky as I have never had to class normal things like having a hot cup of coffee or a bubble bath as ‘rare’ me-time activities. I do agree having this time is something everyone needs to take just to relax and recharge. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

  4. I have actually decided now that my kids are older I am going to start doing the things I want to do, find out who I am besides mum. There is too much pressure on mum’s to be “perfect” which is why we find it so hard to do things for ourselves.
    #KCACOLS

  5. We all deserve me time makes us appreciate family time that much more or at least it does me Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

  6. I think sometimes “me time” can be a very simple thing. The act of going to bed 20 minutes early so there’s time to read before you fall asleep, or actually sitting down and doing nothing while your children are outside playing. It does not need to be indulgent or luxurious. If it’s something you enjoy, and you can spend a few real minutes doing it – it counts!

    The important thing to remember is that everyone should have quiet time, or “me time” in their lives. Children, moms, dads, single child-free folk – everyone!
    ~Jess
    #MMBC

  7. Interesting read… I’m a big advocate of me-time – for mothers, parents of any gender, every one. It is so important to take a step back from day to day activities – whatever they may be – and focus on yourself for a little while… Doing something that brings you joy, big or small. #MMBC

  8. Very interesting post that made me think which is a very good thing in itself. Me time is vital for wellbeing so it was interesting to see how it can be a curse too #ThatFridayLinky

  9. I think the main thing is to be aware of how you are feeling – if you are over-tired try to have a spell of doing only the really essential chores, have a rest. do something you enjoy and do not feel guilty about it! Remind yourself that you do not have to strive for perfection – just try to be ‘good enough’!

  10. I am so for having ‘me time’. I find it SO important. Also keeps us parents sane haha. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

  11. I love this, and yet I have very little time these days! I find that my me time ends up being cleaning time, or cooking time, or anything but just having a moment for ME time! #kcacols

  12. I love my ‘me time’, it doesn’t have to be anything special, it can just be an early night with the TV and a bar of chocolate, just anything to recharge the batteries and relax!

  13. I never have me time, unless you count the 20 minutes I hide in the shower whilst my children are in bed asleep, I love the idea of me time but don’t like to leave my children, I can’t relax on the rare occasion I’m apart from them, so prefer not to be away from them, although my fiance does complain now and again we don’t spend any time as a couple, like me he worries when we are away from our children, even though they only go with my mum sister or sister in law who we trust completely, we last went out a year ago for a few hours we couldnt wait to pick them up.

  14. You’re spot on. Rest is essential, and while it’s good that “me-time” puts a catchy name to it, it does also kind of trivialise something that’s a necessary part of the day.

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