I Don't Have Time for "Me"

By Brigitte Shipman | Jan 29 2021. | Autism, Parenting, Me Time, Mom Guilt, Self-Care

Being a mother is an honor. I love the idea that my children picked me to be their mother. They decided that I would be the one that they would call “mom” during their stay on earth. I believe that my children have been my best teachers in my life. Both have taught me how to be grateful for what is, listen rather than speak, and to love unconditionally.

My firstborn son made me a mother on April 16, 1992 on a rainy Easter weekend. I instantly fell in love with Joseph. The first time I held him, he looked directly into my eyes as if to send me a message. I believe now he was letting me know that we were going to begin a beautiful adventure together. Little did I know what the adventure was going to be, but I was all in.

Around day three of motherhood, things changed very quickly from a normal newborn experience of eating, pooping, and sleeping to eating, crying, screaming, crying, pooping, crying, you get the picture. Joseph cried most of his first four months of life. I was a stay at home mom, and when I say I did not have time to brush my teeth I meant it. What was once a fairly carefree life was now a life of constant stress for my husband, myself, and Joseph.

The only relief I had was when I would put him in his baby swing and he would catnap. We tried everything to keep him calm and tried even harder to get him to sleep. As time went on, with a great deal of effort he finally slept through the night. He seemed to be thriving, but he also was what appeared to be highly sensitive. It did not take much for him to become overstimulated and then we would spend hours trying to get him to calm down.

This continued along with other sensory issues, aversion to foods, and then eventually discovering that he was autistic. As a mother of an autistic child, I can tell you that time for myself was at best limited. I would have time to go to a fitness class if my husband made it home in time to watch our son. There were days that I just wanted to get in my car and drive. I didn’t care where I was going. I just needed some time to be alone with no crying, no upset, just a few moments of peace.

As a mother admitting this thought feels like I may have failed. It brings up guilt in feeling this way, but I now know that I was doing my best. Thinking back I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be Joseph's main caregiver. However, that time of my life was extremely challenging in many ways.

I kept living with stress, and with very little time for myself. Even though I craved it and my body was sending me messages to get some rest. I kept moving forward. This eventually led me down a path of one health issue after another.

If you are on the path that I was on, then I have some loving, necessary advice to offer you today. You must take care of yourself! It is essential that you care for your mind, body, and spirit. I know you are limited in time. I have no doubt that you struggle with having any time for yourself, and then when you do, you are feeling rushed, guilty, and feel sad when your time is up.

Caring for yourself is letting the world know that you are worthy. You are worthy!! I thought that being a good mom was all about sacrifice. There is sacrifice, but not at the cost of your wellbeing. This is so hard for moms to absorb and put into action (and if this is you, you might want to check out my new online group coaching program Upside Down to Bright Side Up). Let’s look at some simple ways that you can slowly begin having “Me Time.” Trust me, when I began caring for myself, my whole family dynamic changed and we found a much happier way to live.

Tips for “Me Time”:

  • Use this Mantra: I am enough, I am worthy, I am a loving mom.
  • Grab a journal. Answer this question: What Do I Crave? Write it down.
  • Under what you crave, list some activities to fill your craving. For example, I crave rest. List some ways to get rest. You may ask your mom or BFF to watch your son for a few hours.
  • Notice your list of ideas to fill your craving. Now circle one of them that feels like you can do it.
  • Now look at your calendar and make the plan to do it. Schedule it.
  • If it feels too big then scale it back. If 2 hours of “Me Time” feels too big then make it for 1 hour or less.
  • Now you have a plan and you can be excited about your “Me Time.”

As you practice this, you may notice that you will be able to plan more and more time for yourself. You will realize that this is a Win for your whole family, especially your children because happier you will create a happier family.

Now go enjoy some “Me Time.”

Did you attend my free webinar 5 Signs You're Experiencing Autism Mom Burnout? I have one final live presentation on Wednesday, February 3. You can sign up for free here.

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