Self-Care: Let's do the math (Mommy-ing Well Series)

Recently, I was talking with a mother with multiple children who was completely appalled that some moms get a babysitter so they can go to the spa, get a haircut, massage, yoga class, etc. I naturally was shocked because I’m very much one of those types of mothers. What really struck me was, however, as I continued to listen to her vent, she talked as if she would be abandoning her children to do this, “these are my children and I’m responsible for them...Don’t you think that is selfish…I just can’t justify that.”

Woah, stop the train! I finally told her that I’m one of those who pays the neighbor girl to watch my kids while I go to shopping kind of moms and perhaps she could borrow my sitter sometime.

Am I missing the point?

A slight breeze of self doubt swept across my mind. BAM, then my logical side clicked in and countered. What is the actual time lost with my children for a few moments of self care?

I’m a math/science person. Numbers make sense to me. Here’s what I came up with:

Real Life Math Problem #1

If any mom, aka me, took 60 minutes away from one day to doing something fulfilling (take a walk alone, go to the library, etc), what percentage of time would that be away?

 4.2% of the day if you spend 1 hour away

4.2% of the day if you spend 1 hour away

Real Life Math Problem #2

Now, God forbid, Mom go out with a friend for a quick meal once in a month (make it a month with 30 days). What percentage of time would that be away?

 1 hour is about 0.14% of the time away in our month

1 hour is about 0.14% of the time away in our month

Real Life Math Problem #3

Now, for the scenario my poor friend has lamenting about:

Let’s say Mom is like most and gets a hour-long cut and style (oh I don’t know about you but I’m doing good to get in there) once every 6 months.

 That’s much less than even 1 percentage of the time away in a 6 month period!

That’s much less than even 1 percentage of the time away in a 6 month period!

Real Life Math Problem #4

To be fair, I should present the other side of the equation, like caring for your family. Let’s take preparing, serving and cleaning up 3 meals a day. For me, this takes about 5 hours of a day. Using the above math (not going to write it out again), that’s 20.8% of your day. In other words, do that 7 days a week, that’s 35 hours a week. You have a full time job just preparing meals. Now likely Mom is multitasking during meal prep, disciplining during meal time and tries to get some help for clean up. But still, wow. Pick your own activity, figure out how much you do it daily or weekly and plug it in.

Side Note

You probably are thinking, “What about a working mom?” Since that’s the position I fulfill, I had the same thought. So let’s subtract out the time I spend at work (about 10 hours) making it 14 hours I would use as my conversion. Still taking 1 hour out of 14 that I could be home with my kids is still only 7% time loss with my kids on that day.

Of course we could get crazy with math, excluding sleep time, potty breaks (but my kids always seem to find me), school time for older children, etc.

But that’s not the point here!

My point is a small percentage of self care doesn’t detrimentally abandon your children. I wholeheartedly support 7% time loss if this mean you take time for yourself, get some restoration and therefore can be a better mother to your child.

I do love me some math and who says math word problems are useless!

Be Well!