Seven Ways To Look After Your Health When The Kids Are With Their Dad

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Seven Ways To Look After Your Health When The Kids Are With Their Dad

I am just at the tail end of another week without my daughter whilst she is with her dad. Regular readers (or listeners to my podcast) will know that it doesn’t happen all that frequently. But approximately every two months my daughter will have a week with her dad. Our daughter is starting school next month, so the routine will change and it will mainly be school holidays from here on in.

Because my daughter’s dad lives interstate, and my daughter is too young to fly across the country by herself, it means that every second time she sees her dad I am also away from home on the other side of the country. It’s a 5 hour flight, so a little too time consuming (and expensive) to fly back home whilst she’s interstate. So I wait.

And so here I am, away from home, in Perth. I am actually starting to quite like these weeks to myself away from home, though I do miss my daughter terribly. This time last year I even flew to Bali for a solo holiday. But mostly it’s nice to not feel obliged to get lots of things done at home.

When my daughter is with her dad and I’m at home, I often run around like a mad woman trying to clean the house properly, de-clutter, sort things, work as much as possible and catch up on all my errands. The time usually goes very quickly and I always regret not relaxing more, not doing more self-care, and not looking after my health.

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When I am in Perth however, it is easier to have a slower paced week. I have recently started not staying with my ex for the whole time (as you might expect, it was not working well; you can read about that here). I have only stayed at his house once since I wrote that, and that was for one night last week.

Since I left them, I stayed in a hotel for four nights and then with a friend. Over time I have realized the importance of not squeezing in as much as I can during my time without my daughter and using most of the the time to relax, and to look after my health – my physical health, and my mental health.

Whenever I squeeze in as much as I can, within a few days of my daughter returning I feel like I didn’t use that time effectively. I didn’t relax enough.

So here is a list of my favorite self-care activities to do, whilst I don’t have my daughter, to look after my body, mind and soul.

1. Catch up with friends.

As single mums, our spare time is limited. Especially our child-free spare time. One of my favorite things to do, when I don’t have my daughter, is to hang out with my girlfriends, and not have to rush off at a particular time. There’s no babysitter to rush home to, no dinner to get on the table at 6 pm, and no bed-time to coordinate. It’s fun to hang out with my fellow child-free single mum friends too. It’s not that often we get to hang out without being interrupted every minute.

2. Nap.

Seriously, how good is napping? If I’m tired when my daughter is away, I take a nap. It’s not all that easy to have an uninterrupted nap when there’s a four year old demanding attention every few minutes. It feels very luxurious to have a lunch time snooze, and I always feel more relaxed afterwards.

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3. Binge watch Netflix.

I don’t watch a lot of television in my normal mum life (though I do make an exception for The Real Housewives). I usually tend to work when my daughter is in bed (though this is something I’m changing this year – at least for some nights a week), and day-time television watching is something I don’t usually do. If Netflix is on in our house it’s usually Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse or H2O: Mermaid Adventures. Because sometimes a single mum just needs to have a cup of tea in peace, right? But when my daughter is away, I love to sit and binge watch an entire season of something. Orange is the New Black is what I watched this time.

4. Exercise.

The main reason I exercise is to look after my mental health, but obviously it’s great for our physical health too. When my daughter is away, I miss her a lot, and sometimes I get really sad about it. It’s tempting to curl up on the couch and having a look at all our photos from the last six months. But I know that exercise always makes me feel better. Having a gym session, or going for a long walk out in the fresh air, always cheers me up. Especially when I reward myself afterwards with a glass of wine.

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5. Read.

I used to read a lot. Especially in bed before going to sleep. Lately it’s been more like falling asleep instantly in a state of complete exhaustion. But reading in bed in the morning, and before or after an afternoon nap, is bliss. Let’s face it, for most of us single mums, that is not really an option. Not reading uninterrupted for hours at a time anyway. But that is one of my favorite activities to do when my daughter is with her dad.

6. Take myself out for a meal or a movie.

I used to hate going to a café or movie on my own, but now I love it. If I’m having coffee or a meal I’ll bring a book to read, or sometimes I’ll listen to a podcast, and then I simply enjoy eating in peace and not having to cut up anyone’s food or having to share my food with anyone (because sharing is caring, my daughter tells me). I love the movies too. It’s great going out to see a non kid-related movie on my own.

7. Pampering.

I love to pamper myself when my daughter is away. I’m not talking about spending hundreds of $$ at a day spa, I’m talking about lighting lovely smelling candles and having nice long baths, exfoliating my body, putting face masks on, and giving myself manicures and pedicures. Such a treat.

I know how hard it is to be away from your kids, so try to make the most of it when your kids away and allow yourself to truly relax and look after your body, mind and soul.



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