What Parents Say: Me-Time

Published on: June 08, 2021

Despite juggling kids, work and family, BAMBI parents get creative in getting their me-time and finding ways to recharge.

By Sanam Raisa Rahman and Chyi Lee

For many of us, as new parents, one of the top surprises of joining parenthood other than sleep deprivation is the drastic change in our schedules. From all the feeding, changing, and cooing at the baby during the newborn stage, to dropping off at and picking up from school and extracurricular activities,  preparing for school events as well as helping with homework, we parents often need to adapt our time according to our kids’ growth journeys. 

Throw in work and household chores, and you realize that your time isn’t just yours anymore. The constant juggling of work, kids, and other family priorities leaves little time for ourselves sans kids and partner, i.e. me-time. But is this me-time really important, or is it more important to prioritize the family? How much me-time do parents really need? What are parents doing during this precious time they have for themselves? BAMBI Magazine was interested to hear its readers’ views on this topic, so we conducted a survey on me-time for parents. 30 parents from the BAMBI community shared their experiences, and in this article, we present them to you.  About half of the parents that participated in the survey are full-time parents, while the other half consists of either full-time or part-time working parents, as well as parents with other commitments such as those pursuing a degree. Almost all of them agreed that me-time is important, but some working parents admitted that despite being in agreement, they are unable to have any time for themselves. A full-time working mother, for example, reported that with two kids—a three-year-old and a newborn—her plate is already too full. 

The majority of the parents surveyed think they need at least two hours a week for their me-time, with two to five hours a week being optimal. Owing to the uncertainties of their schedules and the urge to have some moments of solitude, 80% of parents said they prefer activities that are designed to be enjoyed individually rather than group activities. 

As weekends are usually devoted to their families, 72% of parents prefer getting their me-time on weekdays, with only some working parents able to ‘steal’ a little personal time during weekends. This is not surprising as most parents find the best time to run personal errands and pursue hobbies is when their kids are at school. Some parents also wake up earlier or stay awake after kids are asleep to have some personal time. 

The survey showed that sports and intellectual activities such as reading are thought to be the most energizing and effective choice of activities for most parents. A full-time mother shared that she really needs time for herself to “function properly and stay alive” as she suffers from depression, but by setting some time aside to run, she is able to clear her head and boost her energy. 

A few parents also feel that me-time does not necessarily mean that one needs to go out and do something; taking some personal time before bed such as doing a small fitness routine, reading a book, and/or browsing the internet can also help them recharge. Working parents also use ‘in-between’ time as their me-time—such as reading on the train and going to a restaurant on their lunch break. 

Meanwhile, parents who are more extroverted may find themselves craving some time with other adults to do or talk about something different and unrelated to kids or household chores. They may like to visit new places, try new cuisine, learn new skills, and/or meet people for simple activities such as a spa day or a cup of coffee. 

Overall, it seems that no matter how busy parents are, in the BAMBI community, many of them are able to come up with clever ideas to invest in some time for themselves and identify activities that best suit their schedules and needs. We hope the ideas in this article can give you some tips on finding some time for yourself to recharge. We thank all the members who participated in the survey and hope more will take part in our next questionnaire on the BAMBI Facebook page. 

Photos from Canva

About the Authors

Sanam is from Bangladesh and has been living in Bangkok with her husband and two little girls since 2012. Previously a UN employee, she is currently on a career break to raise her kids who are 5 and 2 years old. Having always been passionate about writing, she joined the BAMBI Magazine team to do something she enjoys from home at her own pace while also experiencing all the precious moments that motherhood has to offer. 

Chyi enjoys learning about others’ stories and writing about them; she joined the BAMBI Magazine team to explore editing and writing topics that are new to her: parenting and family. After spending over 6 years in Bangkok, her family of three is currently embarking on a new journey in Kuala Lumpur.

The views expressed in the articles in this magazine are not necessarily those of BAMBI committee members and we assume no responsibility for them or their effects. BAMBI welcomes volunteer contributors to our magazine. Please contact editor@bambiweb.org.