As a stay at home mother of four children, three of whom are still in diapers, “me time” is a luxury. Me time is hard to get most days—impossible on some—but I always make an effort to get some. How we make time for ourselves as mothers is as different as we are, but it is important nonetheless. I hope that in sharing what I do, it might stir up some ideas for you as well.
We’ve all seen this photo around on social media…
… so don’t worry, I’m not about to suggest hiding here! However, I have tried it… and failed.
Kidding aside, there are four things that I do (to try) to get me time every day.
I get up before my children do. I know I know I KNOW what you’re going to say, “Every mom blogger says this! It’s too hard and I need my sleep!” Know how I know this? I’ve said it for years. I didn’t actually attempt this until I had my Twinkies, kiddos 3 and 4, and was in the most sleep deprived period of my life.
For me, it started by accident. My husband had gotten a new job that allowed him to work from home about 50-75% of the time, but traveling the rest of that time. During his first trip away, I figured out that I had to get up 15-30 minutes before the girls did so that I was ready to feed two hungry babies alone. The house was dark and quiet; there was no one crying or asking for anything. It was just me, the gigantic nursing pillow, bottles, and the coffee maker. In my first solo week, I learned that in giving up 15 minutes of sleep, I gained more peace and patience, and my children gained a happier, more put together mama.
Fast forward to nearly a year later and my husband still travels, but I typically get up 30 minutes before my kids do even when he is home. It gives me time to wake up, drink my coffee, plan my day, prep dinner, and generally be ready for whatever my four little monkeys might throw at me.
I take a walk. This happens every day that my husband isn’t travelling. When he has some downtime (or when I must have a break ASAP because I just can’t take it anymore), he will emerge from the office and take over, allowing me to get outside, get some air and most days, some clarity.
Okay, so your spouse/partner doesn’t work from home? No problem! After dinner, or bedtime, or whatever works for you, GO! Commit to 10 minutes a day. That ends up being 70 minutes a week! (See how I just snuck in exercise and self care into this?)
I rotate toys. What? Huh? How does that get you “me time”? We all know that kids can turn a beautiful living room or play room into a post apocalyptic scene in the time it takes you to pee. That being said, I only have a large tote worth of toys that are easily accessible to my children at any given time. If they want a special tote, then they have to pick up every other toy before I pull it out. Currently, the Lego tote is the special tote in our house. Lego time is one of my favorite times of the day! It is guaranteed to keep them busy for 30-90 minutes (depending on the kiddo). I usually don’t have to referee for the first 10-15 minutes. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is!
I clean as I go, and my kids help. Once the kids are in bed, I want to relax, hang out with Special K, read a book, watch TV or blog. I don’t want to be filling the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, or picking up toys.
My children are old enough to help with small tasks. Each child is expected to help clear the table after each meal (as much as they can, age appropriately), toys must be picked up before meals and bed, and everyone has to help tidy up at the end of the day. My oldest has a chore chart and is getting ready to start moving from stickers to an allowance. My three littles are still at the age where they really love to be “helpers”, so I figure, why not teach them how to really help now? Stickers, new crayons, and lots of praise are rewards that work in our house.
Ultimately, I rarely have much cleaning to do after my kids are in bed, which frees up the evening for me to unwind and relax.
What about you? How do you find me time every day? Do you trip and fall into it or do you ensure that you make time for you every day? Get creative!
Sara is a mama of four children, two of them being surprise identical twin girls. She is happily married to the love of her life, stays home with her children and is currently homeschooling her oldest child. Most of her writing is centered around raising awareness about Crouzon Syndrome and cleft palates, advocating for your child, homeschooling and raising multiples. Find her blog at Confessions of an Outnumbered Mom.
From August 31 to September 4, 2015, How Do You Do It? is running a series on “me time” for mothers: why we need it, how we make it, what we do with it. Find the full list of posts on the theme week page.
Have you blogged about mommy time on your own blog before? Are you inspired to do so now? Link your posts at our theme week link up! We’ll do our best to share them on Facebook,Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #metime.