yogaThe concept of "alone time" takes on such a radically different meaning once you're a mom. Before baby, taking time to yourself meant spending the night at home with a book instead of on the town with your girlfriends or going on a weekend yoga retreat without your spouse. After baby, alone time can mean anything from a 10-minute shower to a quick diaper run (without the wee one strapped to your chest).

When my kids were babies, anytime I left the house without them, I felt like like I was missing something. Did I forget my wallet? My phone? Walking down the street without a kid in a sling and/or stroller was nothing short of bizarre. I felt so ... light.

But not always in a good way. At first, those rare child-free moments were both disorienting and guilt-inducing. Not only had I forgotten how to function as an individual, I felt like I'd abandoned the tiny creature who, until recently, actually lived inside my body.

In retrospect, of course, I can recognize my fears as nothing more than new mommy anxiety.

I can also recognize that alone time is kind of essential to your physical and emotional well-being as a new mom -- and will continue to be just as important 18 years down the line.

Here are a few of the ways I learned to love spending my alone time:

1. Sleeping. I know, I know -- you have a billion and a half things to get done, you can't waste your child-free time on sleeping! Sure you can -- the less exhausted you are, the more efficient you'll be. (Not to mention more patient, reasonable, and optimistic.)

2. Having uninterrupted conversations. Whether on the phone or in person, the first time you get to have a good long chat with a friend without stopping to nurse/bounce/feed/soothe/change a crying baby is AMAZING.

3. Exercising. I'm not talking about a punishing baby-fat blaster regime here -- just something that makes you feel good. Yoga or a long walk. Whatever does the trick.

4. Getting a haircut/facial/manicure. When you're taking care of somebody else 24/7, being taken care of for an hour or two is a huge mood-booster.

5. Eating. I'm serious! I mean sitting down at a table in a grown-up restaurant or coffee shop or someplace where actual utensils are used and eating something somebody else prepared for you. Decadent, I tell you!

Do you -- or did you -- ever feel anxious about alone time? Can you share any tips?

 

Image via lululemon athletica/Flickr