Kildare parenting column: take time to make time for yourself

It's Just A Phase with mum Ruth Chambers

Leinster Leader reporter


Leinster Leader reporter


Kildare parenting column: take time to make time for yourself

I love having some 'me' time with a cup of coffee. Picture: File photograph

Everywhere you go, as parents, you’re told to take time for yourself — to be good to yourself, because after all, we can’t run on empty, now, can we?

Modern day life means it’s not easy to take time for yourself. Parenting in itself is a full-time job but, for many, there’s another full-time job on top of that to contend with. There’s a mortgage to be paid. There’s food to be cooked. The house has to be cleaned. There are activities to ferry kids to and from. I could go on and on and on and on.

While it is difficult to make time for yourself, I’m still a big advocate of it, all the same. I might not have a full-time job outside of the home at the moment, but nonetheless, I’m busy. Very busy actually. I could, if I wanted to, spend from 9am to 2pm every weekday, when the kids are at school, doing endless amounts of housework. As it is, I do up to two hours every morning and it never feels like enough. There’s always something else to be done around the house but, considering the kids undo all of my good work when they return, what’s the point in breaking my back!?

Every week, without fail, I make sure to do something just for me, though. I just feel it’s good for my head and I fear that, if I don’t, my anxiety will return even worse than it was before.

I’m not an expert in the field of mental health but according to the website Psychology Today, “taking a break gives your brain a chance to reboot, improves concentration, increases productivity, helps you discover (or rediscover) your own voice, gives you a chance to think deeply, and helps you problem solve more effectively. It also gives you a better sense of balance and self-awareness that can lead to a better understanding of yourself — what drives you, what inspires you, what excites you. This, in turn, can have a positive effect not only on the quality of your relationship with yourself, but also on the quality of your relationships with others.”

Taking time for yourself doesn’t have to mean anything elaborate; it simply means you do something without the kids; something you like to do. So what is it I do? Well, it’s rarely ever anything that exciting.

Sometimes I just get in the car and drive into town for a browse around the shops. Sometimes I ditch the housework during the week and arrange to meet a friend for a coffee and a scone. Sometimes it’s as simple as leaving Daddy Chambers in the kitchen with the kids when I sit on my bed and have a cup of coffee. The latter is probably one of my favourite things to do, if I’m honest.

I love hearing the chaos going on down in the kitchen, knowing that for 15 minutes I can ignore it and just enjoy the coffee.

Of course, then there are times when big plans are made, maybe once a year or twice at most. Last November, a group of us, all mammies from the school the kids go to, treated ourselves to a night away. We all left home early on the Saturday morning, travelled an hour and a half to our hotel, enjoyed lunch together and chilled for the afternoon.

We gathered together again for dinner and drinks that night and the following morning it was lovely to wake up naturally and not by a child begging for cereal at 6am. And that’s even with a hangover!

It’s important, too, to make time for just you and your other half, if you have one. For the past three years, Daddy Chambers and I have tried to escape without the kids in early January. Last year, we spent three blissful nights in Lisbon and recently we went to the UK with friends for two nights.

We hired a house in Devon and literally just chilled out, ate and enjoyed a drink or two for the weekend. I even had a two-hour bath one of the days, something that would just never happen at home.

I even think I might finally be getting sense. The night before we were due to go home, I had two small glasses of wine and headed for bed before 9pm.

It meant I felt great on my return to the kids and I was ready to face back in to making lunches, doing the school run and all that housework.

Be kind to yourselves mammies and daddies! Until next week folks!

You can contact me on; Twitter - @_itsjustaphase_; Instagram - @itsjustaphaseblog, or you’ll find more of my musings at