My twin girls just turned six. (Gulp! Still can’t wrap my head around that one!) I still remember those first few weeks and months very clearly, though. Particularly when they were teeny-tiny, I remember their eat-sleep schedule was the center of my world. I remember sleeping when the babies slept, but at random times of the day. I remember half laughing that I didn’t know when to brush my teeth “at night”…it’s not like I was going to bed for the evening, at least not in the traditional sense.
At some point I had the realization that I needed to claim something for myself, some small piece of time and space. Even amid the newborn twinfant haze, I clearly remember how glorious those little claims felt.
For me, these are some of the things that reminded me of “me”.
Read. I have always loved to read, but when I was caring for two tiny babies, that’s the last thing I thought I had time for. It didn’t occur to me right away, but I realized that was a huge part of “me” I was missing.
I started small. I got an easy “beach read”, and I committed to reading just a page or two at a time. I hope it’s not TMI to share that I did a lot of reading in the bathroom! I’d enjoy a page or so at a time, and it felt like such treat. When the girls started sleeping more regularly at night, I finally reclaimed my before-bed reading time, and it was nothing short of glorious!
Take a bath. Yes, take a shower…get yourself clean and take care of yourself…but for me, there was something very therapeutic about taking a soak in the tub. I didn’t always have a lot of time…and I remember one particular bath that was cut short about 45 seconds in by a howling infant…but there was something about being still and quiet in my bathtub that helped me feel a little less frazzled.
Take a walk. Once the girls were cleared by our pediatrician to go for walks, around 10 weeks old, I loved pushing them in their stroller through our neighborhood. I timed it with their naps…I didn’t want to have to risk stopping every few steps to comfort a baby…I loved the peace of pounding the pavement as fast as my little legs would carry me. And on the rare occasions when Hubby was home and I could get out for a walk myself? Even better. I walked with a vengeance (and probably looked like a crazy lady!), but I know I got out a ton of emotion as I worked to beat my best time through the ‘hood.
Exercise. Once our girls finally fell into a routine, around 3-4 months old, nap times were a little more predictable. I used morning nap time to exercise, and it felt so very good. I’ve never been a gym rat…SO far from it…but there was something very cleansing about spending 30 minutes sweating to a DVD workout that really helped center me. I felt like I was taking care of ME, not *just* taking care of my babies, and that was a great feeling.
Cook. I’ve always loved to cook, but I felt like I didn’t have time when the girls were first born. Finally, when they were 6 weeks old or so, the gravy train of neighbor-made meals ran out and I pronounced myself SICK of takeout and frozen stir fry. We weren’t in a position to go out to eat, so I found some recipes I knew we’d really enjoy. Once a week or so, I’d make something really nice — with dessert, even! — and Hubby and I would sit down to enjoy it, timed as best we could to coincide with the girls’ evening nap. I’m no gourmet, but it felt nothing short of decadent to get out the good plates and eat a meal I’d prepared for us.
Get out. Once my girls were sleeping more regularly, I tried to get out of the house BY MYSELF once a week. It’s cliche now, but just a quick trip to Target felt like a huge treat. I’d walk the aisles, and no one knew I was a mom of newborn twins. Sure, sometimes I felt like screaming it from the rooftop, I was so proud…but other times it was nice to enjoy the anonymity. Nothing to see here, folks, just a slightly-tired-looking lady shopping for trash bags. If I could swing a trip through Starbucks on the way home, all the better!
MoMs of little ones, I hope you’re taking the time to claim some “me” time for yourselves, however you define it! And MoMs of older kiddos, what was your favorite “claim” when you were in the midst of infanthood?
MandyE is mom to six-year old fraternal twin girls. She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.