Words by Julian Jamie
Photographed by Evelyn Eslava Figuera for Mother Muse
And yes- if it’s just an hour, make it an hour. An hour a week, if possible. I know it’s hard; especially in the early days of motherhood. Finding an hour for yourself during the day, let alone a week, can feel troublesome, selfish and daunting.
When you become a mother, suddenly the world is no longer yours to explore. At least not as freely as you did before your baby’s arrival. You now have to manage the time of your little one, too. Whether you’re a working mother with hired help or a stay at home mom, you know the true responsibility of time management and of organizing everyone’s schedules. No matter the age of your child, between doctor appointments and play dates, you still must manage your baby’s life along with your own.
Your days are now filled with routine: Routine, on top of those floors covered in toys, which desperately need to be vacuumed and mopped. It’s likely been days. Okay- weeks. Toys to organize. Babies to feed. Oh, and hair to wash.
But let’s be realistic: You’re lucky if you’ve brushed your teeth after your morning’s coffee. You’re lucky if you had the chance to wash off yesterday’s deodorant. But hey, you can always apply a second or third layer. I’m sure the baby won’t mind as they suckle your milk from your breast, unable to identify the distinct scent of vanilla and lavender from your underarm. Perhaps the cheap deodorant will inspire the olfactory memory in your breastfeeding infant. Perhaps not. Non-the-less you’re fortunate to mask the postpartum body odour with the combination of sweet and floral scent, rather than taking a shower. Because who has time to shower? Let alone time to get out in the ‘real’ world without an infant in-tow.
Putting our (often lack there of) personal hygiene aside, it’s clear we have trouble putting ourselves first when we have a list of things that have to be achieved. There are only so many hours in a day.
But here’s the thing: You must break from your day-to-day motherhood routine, whether you’re a working mother or a fulltime caretaker, to ensure some sanity is maintained. Some social time. Some adult social time. Some child-less social time.
The convenience (and often necessity) of bringing your child to a friend gathering may be the only option. It can also be quite enjoyable; your family and friends are able to visit with your child while you squeeze in some much-needed adult-time.
Having an adult conversation can be so incredibly, intellectually stimulating, especially after you have become a mother. You may for a moment think your brain is melting if you don’t obtain enough adult talk. One more Peppa Pig episode and you’ll soon be speaking with an English accent.
Make sure it’s not too late before you break; before you realize it’s been over a month (or two, or three) since you’ve discussed topics other than the colour of your infant’s feces.
The difference between a childless social hour compared to one where your baby joins is quite simple: There are no distractions.
Yes, you’re a mother. The absolute definition of multi-tasking-human-being. I am not saying that you are not fully capable of juggling a toddler as they consume your entire muffin during that ‘coffee date’ with your highschool bestie, but I am saying you will feel a weight, which you had never recognized before, physically lifting from your shoulders. You will have the mental capacity to take in your surroundings easier without the knowledge that your child may be climbing on that new purchased, pristine, velvet sofa, proudly sitting in your cousin’s living room.
You will be able to breathe easier without your child tagging along in your social hour. You will be able to fully immerse yourself in the moment, without the worry, the concern, and the responsibility of your child.
If anything, this is what you deserve.
You deserve a little moment of freedom and true tranquility without distraction. If you get an hour of your day to grocery shop without having to hide snacks in your pocket to avoid a tantrum, DO IT! Get out. Solo.
If you have an hour on a weekend to meet a friend for lunch, heck, treat yourself to that martini. It’s past noon and you’re allowing yourself time to unwind and socialize… without offspring.
As with everything motherhood brings, this child-less social hour will take practice. It will take time. It will take moving around everyone’s schedule to ensure you have an hour with a friend, partner or grocery clerk just to feel a little more ‘human’; a little more adult.
It’s the least you deserve.