Like many moms, I found myself in a situation where I was constantly giving to everyone. It often goes unrecognized, and I’m left with little – if any – time for myself. I recognized that if I don’t proactively schedule time for self-care: to exercise, see friends or simply take a break it doesn’t happen. It is super important, but somehow any hope of doing it always got eaten up by any number of things that seemed more important at the time. It left me feeling tired and even resentful at times.

Is this what motherhood is?

Historically, popular culture has gone a long way to suggest this is what motherhood entails – suck-it-up, it is what it is. But let’s face it: it’s ridiculous. So, I have taken active steps to ensure every week includes a little time for me. It’s been interesting to see what has fallen off the must-do list as a result, like I no longer go to Costco regularly. Saturday mornings are mine now. Instead, I go to yoga or some other activity and have coffee with a friend. To make this work, we schedule kid activities during this time that can be managed by one parent (not me).

It takes time getting used to it. I struggled with guilt and anxiety over not getting stuff done. After all, the task list was endless and I was already short on time; how could taking a morning off possibility make me feel better? But, it did. Now I fully embrace and look forward to ME time every week. I do spend less time knocking tasks off our never-ending list, but it made me reassess, prioritize and jettison some of the tasks too. The important thing is that it leaves me feeling happier and more energetic.

We all need to schedule time for self-care.

Without it we aren’t able to operate at our best. Besides lack of energy, it can limit the patience and empathy we have for spouses and kids. Yes, we make sure my partner gets time for himself too. Feeling energetic and happy, and creating the space to be more patient and understanding with each other is much more important than any benefit that could come from shopping at Costco on a more regular basis.

For more small steps from my own success at reclaiming time, read the whole series.