Finding Alone Time When You’re Never Alone
Before your baby arrived, you felt this empty space. You created room in your life for this person to join your family and then after waiting and waiting… they are here! It’s magical and wonderful and feels so meant to be. You are so happy that the once-empty space is filled so perfectly. So then why do you find yourself wishing to be alone again?
It’s a strange feeling to feel so completed by this little person needing you 24/7 and yet also feel desperate for a break. How DO you find “me time” when you’re never alone?
While this may sound like an impossible task, especially in those earliest days of parenthood, as a postpartum doula I like to share some things you can do to capture that elusive “Ahhh finally” feeling.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR BATHROOM
Maybe your bathroom is already a place of calm and tranquility, but for many people it’s not. You brush your teeth, get clean, do your business, get in get out. Maybe there’s a clutter-filled counter or a trash can that doesn’t get emptied enough. This can make a room capture more stress than calm surely. So, let’s change that.
Pretty it up.
Maybe add a few candles, a painting or photo on the wall, a counter organizer for the clutter. Anything that makes it feel like your space.
Don’t be afraid to spend quality time in there!
If you have to use the restroom anyway, spend an extra minute or two (or ten, we won’t tell) locked behind that door. When you need some time to relax, take a shower full of mindful moments instead of rushing. Notice the feeling of the warm water on your skin, take your time lathering your hair, give yourself a quick shoulder massage. You could even set up a mini self-care station with moisturizer or a 5 minute face mask or some hand lotion. Whatever feels good to you, just take advantage!
CONNECT WITH A LOVED ONE
This isn’t exactly alone time, but sometimes a quick video call with a friend or family member can help make you feel like yourself again. This can be useful if you are struggling with wanting alone time and also feeling really lonely or isolated. A meaningful moment of connection with someone we love can remind you of your best self and get you in the mood to actually enjoy any me-time moments you can fit into your day. The best part about this one, is you can do it with or without your baby depending on your needs. Virtual hug anyone?
Guilt, schmilt. If you need to completely check out and watch a binge-worthy TV show (we have some suggestions here ) or sink into the world of a good book… No judgement here! If your baby is sleeping, great. If they’re awake you desperately need some alone time, try putting them in a swing or a bouncer with a mobile. Often, they will be entertained for at least a little while so you can enjoy your own method of entertainment. Babies need some alone time too!
TAKE A WALK
If I had to choose, this would be my favorite form of alone time with a baby. If you can get a walk in by yourself while Baby is with another caregiver, that is a great way to unwind. However, if you are unable to actually leave Baby, this can still work. Many babies will sleep or remain calm on a walk, whether in a stroller or a wrap/carrier. The fresh air is good for both of you, being outdoors is calming for humans of all ages, and you will even build up some of those wonderful endorphins from the exercise. If this doesn’t work for you for any reason, try going for a drive instead!
When you’re truly desperate to actually be alone and really need to get away, look for opportunities. Is there a chunk of time in the morning when Baby is calm, your partner is still home, and you usually sit and enjoy some coffee? Go to a coffee shop! Is your partner home on the weekends? Make a plan to do something by yourself and out of the house one Saturday or Sunday. Do you have grandparent help in town? Ask them to babysit for an hour and go to the gym! Does Baby consistently sleep for a long block of time every night at bedtime? Leave right when they go down and wander the aisles of Target! Whatever sounds relaxing to you, look for patterns in your life when you could fit them in and then go about making a plan.
LET ‘EM JOIN
When all else fails and you are stuck in your house with your baby who you desperately love and desperately need a break from… try looking at it from a different perspective. You can’t actually be alone, but you can try to recreate the feeling of “filling your cup.” What can you do that feels like self-care that your baby can also do?
Take a bath with your baby. If your baby is eating solids, try making a comforting soup you could both enjoy. Read a book aloud (it can be an adult book; they just love hearing your voice!). Put some lotion on both of you, take your time. Lay on a blanket in the grass and look at the trees and the sky. There are so many options to choose from.
The transition from being responsible for only your own needs to suddenly caring for another person 24/7 is such a huge shift. It makes sense to crave some time alone again! We all need to reset and rejuvenate. In the moment, it can feel impossible to fit that time in, but hopefully you can find your way back to this blog and try out whichever ideas make sense for you.
Kick your feet up and relax. Remember, you deserve it!
What is your go-to when you need to be alone?