I never knew how much I took quality “me” time for granted until I had a child.
Before Andrew, it was no big deal for me to stop at the mall or Target for a little retail therapy on my drive home. Thursday nights were unique because my husband played in a billiards league, and I had the house all to myself to do whatever I wanted. I usually spent those evenings enjoying peace, quiet, and having the television to myself to watch all of my shows. I would get take out sushi or pho, settle on my sofa with my little furry friend by my side, and then close out the night with a nice soak in the bath or a DIY manicure.
“Me” time takes on such a different meaning to me now. Just the other day, I was ecstatic to go to Target to pick up a prescription and a few odds and ends because it gave me a 30 minute respite from the chaos of my two year old tornado and his new toys. (Ok, who am I kidding, I consider a trip to Target alone like a mini-vacation!)
I wouldn’t trade being a mother for anything. I love every minute of cuddles, “I love you!” and fun with my little guy because my heart is so much more full than it ever was before. It is also a reminder that before I was “Andrew’s Mom,” I was Andie, and I liked to do things on my own, like shop, take pictures, take spa days and get lost in a good book.
Motherhood has made me appreciate time to myself so much more. Now, the time to treat myself seems so much more indulgent, and I appreciate even small moments of quiet in a way that I had never experienced in the past. These days, I am happy to just sit alone, by myself, with NO interruptions to just be ME and to reflect on those things that shaped me before I became a mother. In fact, I’d venture to say that having that quality time to myself is imperative to my health and mental well-being when it comes to the stresses that motherhood can sometimes bring. I also know I can’t be alone.
Sadly, some of my favorite forms of “me” time cost a pretty penny. I LOVE spa time, especially facials, massages, spa manicures and pedicures. I wish I could afford to have these done frequently. But, let’s be realistic…when do I have the time or the money to do these? Plus, it’s not like you can catch up on DVR’ed shows while your aesthetician is rubbing on your shoulders and face!
There are so many ways, though, that I can relax and have quiet time on a dime when it’s just not feasible to run over to my favorite salon or spa to take advantage. I was wondering if I was alone in trying to make “me time” more affordable. Some of our team members shared with me their favorite ways to unwind.
Angelina and Ashley both agree that an inexpensive manicure, pedicure or quick brow or lip wax at local salons are a great way to unwind and getaway from stressful situations without spending a mint. The average cost for a basic pedicure in our area is $25 and a manicure is $15, and usually one can take around an hour. If you don’t want to spend the extra money on that, you can always do an at home manicure or pedicure with a simple soak in some homemade bath salts, a nail file and buffer, and some great hand lotion. Our team is a fan of Pretty Please polishes that can be customized!
Angelina and Janie both also agree that quality time spent at the gym is a great way for them to relieve stress, maintain good health, and most importantly, enjoy time to themselves. Bonus is that you can get healthy doing it!
Both Megan and I are big fans of unwinding with a good book from the library for good, quality, and FREE me time. Simply wait until nap or bedtime and then get lost in a great book while sipping on your favorite brew or glass of wine. What’s even cooler is that you don’t even need to leave your house to get a good book from your library. You can download books with your library card onto your Kindle, iPad, or Nook with the Overdrive App. Contact your library for details.
All of those considered, when it comes to my favorite form of unwinding, my simple way costs less than $5, and I can do it EVERY night should I choose. As soon as I know the toddler is fast asleep, out comes my bath salts, candles and iPad for a little quiet time to myself. When I turn the faucet on, my husband knows that I am not to be interrupted. I prop my iPad on the bathroom counter, flip on one of my favorite television shows on their network app (did you know almost all networks offer free viewing apps for their recent episodes of shows?), light a few candles, and settle in for a nice warm bath and some tv time. It is quiet bliss in its own form. What is even awesome is that you can make a batch of bath salts for items that cost less than a Starbucks drink that are all natural and work like a charm!
Basic Bath Salts
Coarse Sea Salt
Epsom Salt (great for soothing tired muscles and body aches)
Essential Oils (can be found in the soap making department of the craft store)
Food Coloring (optional)
Airtight container (for this, I used a 16 oz. jar)
In a large bowl, combine 6 parts coarse sea salt (for this jar, I use 6 each 1/4 cup scoops of salt), 3 parts Epsom salts (again, I used 3 each 1/4 cup scoops), and 1 part baking soda (1 each 1/4 cup scoop). Add in a few drops of essential oils to your preference. I used lavender vanilla for a relaxing component. Plain lavender oil would be great too. In total, for this batch, I used around 5 drops of the essential oils. Then, if you would like to add color to your salts, add in some food colors and mix it all well with a big spoon.
Scoop into your jar and use as desired in your bath. I find that 2-3 tablespoons of sea salts yields plenty of soothing relief while you’re catching up on the latest episode of Nashville (or is that only me?).
My alone night when Josh worked pre kids looked just like yours, Andie! Thanks for the bath salts recipe!!
These are some great ideas for relaxing and unwinding after a busy or stressful day! I can’t wait to make some of those bath salts!
Andie, I’ve just found this blog while searcing for families’ experiences of the NO Jazz Fest. I had so much fun reading the posts and I found your post particularly inspirational! Your post resonated a lot with me. Like ourself, I remember many moments when I considered it a mini-vacation to go grocery-shopping on my own (without the company of my little boy). And every night, I try to make a 15 min walk, which is my private time to think or just enjoy the fresh air while uninterrupted.
I’m a busy, full-time working mother with a son who just turned 10, which gave me the occasion for reflection on what I learned in all the years and what turned out to be the low-cost high-impact approaches to unwinding. I love cooking, and the most recent ways of unwinding that I discovered are all around this hobby: for example, learning a new recipe and experimenting with it by changing some ingredients, loosing myself in a cooking blog, or in a cooking book. Recently I discovered Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minutes Meals book.
Also, vacation planing is another moment of unwinding; it’s like ‘virtuanl travelling’ – I close my eyes and imagine my vacation place:-)