How Do You Recharge?

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The “life as MOM” is rife with challenges as well as joys. It’s important that we have the strength to work at our full capacity. But, how?

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When I was a brand new mom, I remember folks urging me to have “me time.” They went on and on about how important it was to do things for myself.

For some reason, I balked at that. I loved being with my son and husband. I didn’t want or need to do something “for myself”. In a way it sounded selfish.

Over the years I came to realize that it wasn’t “me time” that I needed, but I did need an opportunity to recharge. As more and more children joined our family, as I added projects and a home business to my plate, my day got fuller and fuller. It wasn’t ME time that I needed.

I needed down time, a chance to recharge.

Maybe that’s what those moms meant all the time. Regardless, I’ve come to the conclusion that recharging is necessary. Just like a cell phone that runs out of power, so will we if we use up more energy than we have. And while there’s no “one size fits all recharging station” just waiting for us to plug in, there are plenty of ways to regain our energy as wives and moms so that we can give to our families and work at our peak potential.

Here are some ways that I find to be refreshing and reenergizing:

Surely, some of these are solitary activities. But, not all. (Though I do love a quiet house and no one pulling on me or whining at me!)

Recharging my batteries doesn’t have to be all about me. A delicious meal and reading time with my kids are restful for me, but also include my family in the action. Recharging doesn’t necessarily mean being alone or away from my family. It means powering down and refilling my battery.

How do you recharge?

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  1. I definitley love a good nap! I only need an hour, but it such a recharge for me. If I wake up grumpy or just had a rough morning, an hour nap is all I need to finish the day with a more positive attitude!

  2. Whether it’s “me time” “alone time” “recharge time” or something else, the key point is that each of us (this applies to husbands/spouses/partners too) need time to rejuvenate ourselves, to regroup- so that we are able to BE when we are with family or friends… be present, be involved, be active, BE.

    Several comments were made about the hurried-ness of society, the social networking, society going at “warp speed” and the detriment this does to our children, our families, our society. We are so busy Keeping-Up-With-The-Jones in material things, in activities, in educational achievements that we get caught up on living WITH today rather than living FOR today.

    A few years ago I read The Hurried Child by David Elkind and although the edition I was reading was the 1996 edition, it struck me as relevant then and relevant in the future (considering he was writing in the 90’s and I was reading it in the mid 2000’s and yet it was dead on!).

    It was very forward thinking in translating his key messages about how society has come to push children to grow up prematurely, is so focused on competition (my kid got into Harvard), that children have lost their childhood… the lazy days of just playing and being kids, making lemonade stands, playing in the woods/dirt/playground, falling out of trees, pocketing frogs, and much more.

    I had been reminded of this about 8 years previous when my nephew was visiting. He’d been coming to visit for a week every summer. That particular summer he was around 8 and every morning after breakfast he would ask “what’s there to do” to which my fiance or I would respond- “go play” yet he would sit there. He had become so accustomed to having everything scheduled or programmed for him, that he his innate creativity, critical thinking, the natural curiosity for exploration had been repressed. Not long after this, his parents made an intentional effort to down-size his activities and to open up the family schedule for unstructured time. It wasn’t long before the “child” in my nephew returned and he was back to running amuck in the yard, playing in the dirt and bringing home worms.

    A more recent reminder of how the FAMILY life can impact individuals within the family and that not JUST moms need “down time”- I travel for my job on occasion and am fortunate that often I can take the children with me. After a months worth of me being gone and/or me taking the children with me, one night while doing Favorite Part Of The Day, the 5 yr old says “getting to stay home all day”. A few days later, this was again her response for Fav. Part of the Day.

    While our family purposely plans family day, daddy/daughter time, mommy/daughter time, date night and personal days for the grown ups (that’s when I get to sleep as long as I want and do my own agena on my on timeframe.. same for hubby on his personal day), it was a poignant reminder that even the children need down/alone/me time.

    So I encourage you to think not just of yourself for needing recharge time, but evaluate the family schedule to ensure all individuals are getting the recharge time they need.

    p.s. I also encourage you to consider what special times you set aside for daddy and children for those families that daddy works outside the home or otherwise has less/limited time and opportunity to be with the children so that they too can connect and BE.

  3. I love this post. I have also always balked at the “me time” idea, but I have definitely learned the hard way that I do need time to recharge.
    I exercise in the mornings before my family wakes up.
    Once a week, I go to Knit Night. (which is basically where I go to the bookstore across the street and knit for a few hours with some of my closest girlfriends.)
    About once a month, my husband and boys go out for some activity that I can’t or don’t really want to do, and I grab those times to read, nap, knit, or watch a movie I’ve been interested in.
    I try to recognize & honor these times as my recharge time so that I truly appreciate them.

  4. I love that some of your recharge activities include your kids :). I always have had a hard time explaining that it does recharge me to be with my kid or husband. I just needed to see your description not me time, down time :). Or I love a good bubble bath (alone!)

  5. I feel very similar to what you’ve expressed here. I’m on the introverted side, so I definitely need “alone time” away from large groups and extended family. But, when it comes to my husband and kids, my version of “alone time” is more like the kids playing in the other room with my husband so I can put laundry in the dryer with both of my hands actually free or typing an email with both hands instead of one. πŸ™‚

    Recharging as you’ve explained it is what I crave… we set aside certain days as “family days” where it’s just my husband, myself, and the kids spending time — just us!

    Thanks for this post!

  6. I like doing something by myself, like shopping or going to a coffee shop, sometimes it might be running errands. It gives me time to clear my head, relax and be on my own schedule.

    1. The best gift my hubby ever gave me was that he would stay home with the baby while I went grocery shopping that first year. πŸ™‚ It made me feel a lot less rushed & stressed!

  7. I love how you use the word “recharge” instead of ME time. Sounds a LOT less selfish!! :). I recharge after a good chat-fest with a dear friend, reading a good book or attending a night with my Bible study group discussing what we are learning in our lives.

  8. We’ve fallen into a new routine in my house. My girls don’t usually get tv before 5:30 on weekdays, but on Fridays when we’re all tired I turn it on a little early. Me, the 2 yo, the 7 yo, and the dog all curl up on the couch and have a cuddle fest. I’ve realized how nice it is for all of us and what a great chance it is for me and my oldest to reconnect after a busy school week. So I’m making it a ritual for us now (I’ll keep it up during the summer too) and hopefully it’s something we can enjoy for several more years! It recharges all of us.

  9. Today I really want to go to some water and splash around with the kids. This is recharging for me! And I’m sure they will enjoy it too. πŸ™‚

    Sometimes just goofing around with the kids and doing water stuff is fun for me. Or other silly projects.

    …or a mom’s night out with no kids. πŸ™‚ I don’t do it too often but it sure is fun! Almost as fun is playdates with friends so we can all enjoy together, but I still get some adult conversation. Adult conversation is so important to me!

  10. Great reminder – but what I like in particular is that you emphasize that it’s not necessarily me time but just shifting the pace.

    My husband and I never used a babysitter for our kids or took time away from them. Instead we’ve made family down time the mode. We go biking together, we prepare and eat a nice meal together, we do farm chores together and we watch a good movie together.

    And certainly I give kudos to my husband who has shared the parenting with me 100% so I don’t feel like the one lifting most of the burden.

    I did make a point of reinforcing nap times which turned into quiet time as they got older so there was a daily time for quiet activity. And unlike homeschooling moms, as they’ve gotten older, I’ve had time to work on my business when they’re at school (although it’s not downtime!)

    If anything I think we live in a world where life is going at warp speed, we’re hooked into social media and simply need to simplify our lives and slow down more. The biggest gift I gave myself as a mom is learning to say “no” to social commitments, too many activities etc. that take away from family time and a human being pace of life.

  11. It’s taken me a long time to come to the realization that I need to re-charge and get a little selfish about my time. As woman I think it’s our nature to put everyone else first.

    Here are a couple of ways I re-charge

    1. Great dinner with my husband sans kids. There’s nothing like going out to a nice restaurant and having a delicious meal to relax.

    2. Play the piano. I haven’t touched the piano in years but decided to start playing again as a way to get some “me” time. I can’t believe how relaxing it is.

    3. Sit outside (on a nice day) and just enjoy the rays. Unfortunately living in Wisconsin this only happens a few months out of the year.

    I hope you and your family have a nice Memorial Day.

  12. Definitely recharging is very important for a mum, thanks for reminding us of it! One of my ways of recharging is reading blogs like yours, i can have some quiet time and also learn or deepen about certain topics and also find fab recipes but my favourite is watching a movie with my daughter and hubby all cuddle in bed πŸ™‚

  13. Oh my gosh, you’ve really hit the nail on the head here! This makes so much sense!

  14. I totally agree. I often feel guilty that around Mother’s Day I most wish to be alone–ha! But you’re right, it’s just the feeling of needing time away to recharge.

    I find that connecting with friends, either by phone or over a milkshake, helps me relax and laugh away the stress. I also like taking a long walk, getting uninterrupted time to sleep (doesn’t happen often!), or a “me day” helps. Just having some hours to only think about me–what I want to eat, do, etc. instead of everyone else–makes a huge difference.