I always knew I was introverted, but I had no idea just how much of an introvert I was until I became a mom. I love spending time with and caring for my son, but I still need my space. And that's a
good thing, according to experts. The benefits of alone time for moms go beyond simply keeping you sane.
"Moms need time to nurture the other parts of themselves — besides nurturing their children," psychiatrist and parenting expert Dr. Carole Lieberman tells Romper. "They need alone time to do this. A mom can only be as good a nurturer to her kids, as she takes alone time to nurture herself. She needs to replenish herself so that she has more to give her children.”
The way I recharge my batteries is by having some alone time and not talking to anyone or being around anyone. And
getting this alone time is definitely hard when you work from home and have a toddler. It’s hard for everyone.
So whether you need a quiet bath once a week, dropping the kids off for a playdate so you can eat breakfast or lunch alone, or just sitting in your bedroom with the door locked while your
partner takes care of the kids for a bit, the benefits of having alone time as a mom are crucial for a happy family. And this goes for stay-at-home moms and working moms alike. 1 Nurturing Goes Both Ways
Nurturing yourself means you'll be able to nurture others, as
Danielle Bayard Jackson, author and certified women's coach, tells Romper. Sometimes that means giving yourself permission to do less and be alone more.
"It's not about how much you do, it's about doing what counts," Jackson explains. "And you can't do all the things that count if you're tired, irritable, and worn down. While it may sound counterintuitive, it turns out that you can actually get more — meaningful — work done after taking a people break. Giving yourself a chance to recharge actually allows you to accomplish more of what matters with your children — and in your marriage."
2 Prevents Resentment
"Sometimes when you're in the thick of things, it's hard to see the big picture," says Jackson. "Between the ever-growing dish pile, lunch-packing, and bottle-warming, it's easy to get lost in thoughts of, 'This is ridiculous! My kids are so overwhelming! What's the point of cleaning if they're only gonna mess it up again? I'm tired of repeating myself.'"
I feel like Jackson has been inside my head — or at least to my house after a long day of telling my son to get off the couch and leave the beagles alone. I don’t want to be filled with resentment, but sometimes if I don’t get the alone time I need, it can creep in.
3 Provides Perspective
"Being alone gives you perspective on all that you have going on,” Jackson says. You know that mind-clearing feeling that happens when you’re about to take a nice, relaxing bath? That’s perspective.
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s increasingly difficult to see the beauty of your life if you’ve constantly overwhelmed by noisy kids, a barking dog, and work demands. With the perspective that a little alone time (aka some peace and
quiet) gives, your life looks much less chaotic. 4 Clarifies Your Purpose
When you make time to spend time alone, you gift yourself some space to remember why it is that you do what you do day in and day out despite the chaos of it all. All of the diaper-changing, nose-wiping, and tidying up really
“You'll be able to distance yourself from ongoing daily stressors and remember your purpose in motherhood,” Jackson explains. “Alone time is a way to reflect on why you do what you do — and it gives you a chance to miss your little rascals when you're done.”
5 Increases Self-Awareness
In addition to gaining some perspective on your life and solidifying your purpose, becoming aware of your own wants, needs, and desires is another benefit of moms having alone time. When you spend time alone, you can make a true effort to get to know yourself better because there’s nothing else going on to distract you.
6 Keeps Your “Compassion Meter” Full FatCamera/E+/Getty Images
I know at the end of the day I personally feel touched out, don't want to speak to anyone, and need to sit in silence for a while. It's hard thinking about everyone else 24/7.
“Moms have to provide so much emotional labor for others, and it can be hard to be constantly emotionally available for family and friends," says Katie Lear, a licensed therapist who works with parents and kids. "Especially for more introverted moms, time alone can be a chance to 'refill the cup,’” and prevent feeling tired — after all, “you can’t pour from an empty cup!"
7 You’ll Be A Better Partner
If you’re in a relationship, Lieberman explains that the process of recharging with some alone time and filling that “compassion meter” can help you to be a better partner.
Your alone time with yourself should be above and beyond the time you spend with your romantic partner, as the benefits you reap can help you strengthen your bond with them. Think about it this way: when you feel your best, you can be your best self for your partner.
8 Helps You Remember Who You Were Before “Mom”
"Alone time is an opportunity to connect with other parts of identity besides 'mom,’” Lear says. Taking time alone to read a book for pleasure, watch a TV show that isn’t a kids show, or do some career development can all “help moms feed the parts of their identity that don’t revolve around caring for kids.”
9 Helps You Feel Proactive In Life
Do you always feel behind or like you're just getting through the day sometimes? Me too, and I'm sure a ton of other moms do, too. We aren't alone, y'all.
"It's difficult to get ahead when you're always in the trenches. If you're constantly feeling behind, it's because you haven't created time to plan," Jackson says. "Taking 'me time' gives you a chance to look ahead and intentionally plan the days to come. It will help you to feel more relaxed and in control, so it's worth prioritizing some time to yourself to finally get proactive instead of wandering in the chaos of reactive living."
10 Distance Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
Even after a hard day of chasing him around the house, I do miss my son when he's sleeping sometimes. They sure weasel their way into our hearts, huh? That's completely normal, apparently.
"Anecdotally, I often hear from moms that some time away from their children helps them remember how much their lives are enriched by their children’s presence," Lear says. "Whether it’s a week of solitude when a child’s at sleep-away camp or a night out while the kids are with a sitter, getting an occasional break makes the wonderful parts of parenthood much clearer to see."
11 You’ll Be Able To Enjoy A Meal — & That’s Important
I can't tell you how much I appreciate it when my husband feeds my son while we eat dinner as a family so I can enjoy my food and eat it hot.
"It can be easier to eat mindfully while alone," Lear points out. "If moms are trying to feed themselves when also feeding a child, it can be hard to be present and really enjoy the meal. Earning alone is a great opportunity for mindfulness: put the phone away and really focus on the food. This can promote healthy eating and make us more aware of satiety."
Bonus: Alone time means I get to choose what I want to eat without worrying about what everyone else wants or likes.
12 Better Anger Management In The Future
"Time alone is critical for managing anger. If families are arguing, one of the first things I recommend is to take a break when the temperature starts to rise on a conversation," Lear says. "Taking a moment away to allow feelings to cool makes it easier to reflect on the situation, and helps us avoid saying or doing something we might regret later."
I definitely snap less and am in much better spirits and not so burned out after alone time. I think it makes me a better mom who doesn't snap as often or as quickly.
13 It’s Like A Mini Vacay
Vacations with kids are less like a relaxing getaway and more like a trip where you have to do all the things for all of the people. When you think about the way that an
actual vacation (without kids) feels, it’s very much like those handful of hours you get to spend alone when you take time for yourself. You might even be able to grab a drink by a pool by yourself and trick your mind into reaping the benefits of a vacation without the expense of a full-on trip. Experts: Dr. Carole Lieberman , psychiatrist and parenting expert Danielle Bayard Jackson , author and certified women's coach Katie Lear , a licensed therapist What Parents Are Talking About — Delivered Straight To Your Inbox
This article was originally published on
Dec. 28, 2019