I was sitting on the floor of our lounge room when he found me. I’d been caring for our three children for months. Sometimes I looked after my nephew as well. But I was struggling, big time. And I didn’t realise how bad it had gotten until that day.
I felt completely wiped out. I had run out of whatever it took for the human body to function. My husband rushed over to me and asked me what was wrong. “Nothing,” I answered. “I’m really happy, I just can’t seem to move at the moment. I’ll get up in a sec.”
After peeling me off the floor he took me to the doctor. I felt ill, but I wasn’t. I felt like I was lacking in some crucial vitamin, but blood tests showed I wasn’t. I wasn’t depressed, I wasn’t any more sleep deprived than any other new mum. What on earth was going on?
Then the doctor asked me a question.
Do you get any time for you?
I almost laughed in his face. I had three children, two of whom were only 16 months apart. Our finances were in tatters after my husband’s business collapsed. We’d just moved to a new home and new suburb. Our dog was ill. Our fridge was on the blink.
Driving home my husband said the same thing. “You have to have some time for you.” I knew they were right. But when would I find the time? What would I replace? Who would look after the kids? What would happen once I entered my quest to discover ‘me’ time?
I thought of nothing else for the next few days as I dragged myself through my crazy, busy day. I started trying to focus on little moments I’d been missing. I’d missed out on the joy of holding my toddler’s hand while I fed his new baby sister. I’d missed out on watching my baby sleep, observing her little chest rising and falling, taking in her relaxed features, enjoying how peaceful she could sometimes be.
I’d missed out on how happy my eldest boy was to get home each day. I’d missed out on how excited he was to see me, how much he relied on that hug from me shortly after he walked through the door.
I decided to do something different with my day.
For as long as I could remember, I’d always had three cups of coffee each day, just like my dad. I had one with my breakfast, one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon. I structured my day around them. But the busier I became, the more this habit fell by the wayside. I’d gotten into the habit of making my coffee, taking a sip and then forgetting all about it, distracted by the next feed, the next nappy change and the next load of laundry that needed to be hung up to dry.
I’d find it later with that film of thickened coffee floating on the top. Sometimes I hadn’t even taken a sip.
This needed to change.
‘Me’ time didn’t have to be hours away from the kids or a weekend at a spa retreat. ‘Me’ time could be just stopping for a few minutes a day, three times a day and finishing the cup of coffee I loved.