"Me time" is lauded as a parent saviour, the key to ensuring that Mama mental health in particular, is given some priority.
At face value it seems like a great concept, this 'time out'. In actual fact, this apportioned time can exasperate the feelings of loneliness, overwhelm and endless giving we are trying to escape from.
When can you have a break?
Many parents end up with a tiny window of time 'allowed' away from their children and don't know what to do or where to go. Time is up in the blink of an eye and then the countdown begins until next week, or next month when you can next 'have a break'. This slither of time for us makes the rest of our lives seem as though it's not ours, and that makes a healthy perspective difficult.
What if instead we took on the concept of 'soul food'?
This recognises that time to yourself is not sufficient unless you are engaged in something you love doing. "Soul food" can be a more regular, more realistic opportunityas it can often be worked into our time with our children. We can still enjoy time away obviously, but we aren't hanging out for it as our only answer to feeding our soul.
"Me time" is often a solution given to a very frazzled parent, an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach. "Soul food" recognises that we have a tank that needs regular filling, with our own unique fuel.
What fills your soul and lifts your spirits? Is it being in a beautiful environment? Is it feeling productive? Does your soul cry out for new inspiration and information, or for creative expression and outlets? Do you need a regular dose of social connection?
Finding our personal formula of 'fuel'
Our particular brand of 'fuel' is as unique as we are, and we need to find the ingredients that make up our personal formula. Only then can we see how to infuse these soul food moments into our regular lives, involving our children or running parallel to their activities.
Time actually away if it comes is different then - less urgent, less fraught with expectation, and entirely more soul lifting.