My midwife once gave me the following advice, “Make sure you have time for yourself and look after yourself”. I always wondered how this could be possible – she must be joking right? How on earth can I have time for myself, or even two minutes alone, especially with a new-born!
It dawned on me when I returned to work from maternity leave that you suddenly need to prioritise yourself. With children at day-care, juggling work with colleagues, clients and candidates and family life with husband, children, extended family and friends, that we tend to exclude ourselves in the mix of priorities. Everyone wants a piece of you! Perhaps the more you have on, the more you can fit in, but this is all at the expense of your own time.
I was looking at some very influential women in society – women on boards, women as CEO’s of companies, my boss – all with families, with responsibilities, doing an impossible amount of work. I used to dismiss this as, well they can’t have it all – children, a husband, a career. Surely, it’s not possible, somethings got to give. I wondered, how do they keep sane amongst the noise? How do they survive when it feels like it’s all going to fall apart?
I never understood when my mother said “I just want one day of peace” …sure mum, whatever. Suddenly I’ve realised that I’m in this category, I just want some peace too! As I sit here having a glass of wine at a restaurant by myself (flying solo) I have never truly realised the importance of alone time. It’s not exercise; it’s not doing anything in particular. It’s just sitting here by myself, with myself, doing nothing but realising how good alone time can be!
Despite what others may think about a mum enjoying a glass of wine on her own, it is not selfish; it’s necessary for your sanity.
To all the amazing women out there – give yourselves a break, recalibrate. Realise your successes, your amazing strength, your resilience, your ability and flexibility to adjust. Concentrate on the small wins – like what an incredible week you’ve had! Life is good! Go and pencil some alone time in the diary. Put yourself first for a change, realise it is not selfish and relax!
I am writing this as a mum of two very active kids working four days a week in Recruitment with a husband, mortgage and a hectic family/ social life. This advice is of course, for both men and women as we all need alone time! Life is busy and demanding, we all need to chill and give ourselves some attention too. Alone time is valuable, never forget that or yourself.