Where do all the hours go? We fill our days with activities, commitments and caring for others and often – very often forget ourselves.
Making sure you get some breaks to do something nice for yourself is of utmost importance in order to be a happy, positive and well-balanced mom.
“The mother is and must be – whether she knows it or not – the greatest, strongest, and most lasting teacher her children have.” - Hannah Whitall Smith
Carving out some “you time” to refresh and relax away from caring for everyone else is the fuel that keeps us upbeat rather than beat up! It is our responsibility to nurture ourselves so we can be the best we can be – not only for our children, but for our husbands.
It almost seems backwards to say that taking time away from your family can in fact benefit them, but it is true!
When you do things for yourself to nurture your mind, body and spirit, your whole family will benefit.
The biggest struggle is finding the time – that is the number one issue that needs to be tackled when you are trying to carve out time to care for your own needs. It’s challenging to find time to do non-child-related activities. We find ourselves so busy with the tasks of motherhood and managing household chores that we are often overlooked completely. But as I share with other moms, no one is going to serve you a nice “chunk of time on a silver platter”.
You need to make it happen for yourself.
Here are some of my favorite tips to find time for you:
Use nap time effectively
Even if your children do not take naps, they can have a quiet time set aside each day. Nap time is the perfect time to spend time your way. If you like reading, writing, listening to music, exercising or have a craft hobby, this is a good time to pick up a book or headphones without having your children badgering you!
Try to avoid using this time to clean up the house or do other chores, if you must – take only 10 minutes to tidy up. You can also enjoy a bubble bath, a long shower, drink a hot cup of coffee or even take a short nap yourself (*gasp*).
Have a different sleeping schedule than your children
If your children sleep until late morning, then make it a habit to wake up early. I have found that getting up earlier than my family is my sure fire way to get more accomplished, even if it means I take a 20 minute nap in the afternoon to refresh. You get more time for yourself and I find that I can be better organized to meet the demands of my day. If your children go to bed early in the evening, you can stay awake until later to enjoy some “you time”.
Plan your meals
Take time to plan your meals for the week and grocery shop well. Make a list of needed items for at least one week and purchase them all in one visit to the grocery store. This is a tremendous time saver. You will not have to worry about having things for your recipes and you will save time which you can have for yourself.
Find child-friendly shops
Many stores now offer supervised playrooms for children while you go about your shopping, ticking off items on your shopping list. When my kids were younger they LOVED going to IKEA to play in the ball pit! Now there are many stores that offer a place to drop your children while you shop. One of my favorites is a local chain, Fred Meyer. They have a play area you drop your kids at and have a coffee bar located inside the store. I can drop my little one and go grab a coffee and get some peace and quiet. I love this little secret!
Team up with other moms
You are not the only one who has to face these challenges of motherhood – who else can relate – other moms. Team up with a few moms with similar aged children, plan outings together, or just have kids over for a play date in your home. By sharing the responsibility of caring for the children you will find mommy time for all of you! You can pick dates for each of you to look after the children, while the others get time off to spend doing whatever they like.
You can mix “being mom” and “you time” at the same time. Take your children out for a walk in the stroller while listening to an audio book on your iPod. Or pop them in a wagon for a walk around the neighborhood, stopping at the local coffee shop for a treat. Do you have a bike trailer for your little one(s)? Look online at places like Craigslist or Trading Cradles to find a used one and get moving. Kids will love getting cozy inside with a snack, drink and a few books or even their own story on an MP3 player. You get some exercise and fresh air and your kids get an adventure too!
Have a “Me Menu”
Often times when I ask moms what they enjoy doing, they are left speechless. It seems they have forgotten the things that brought them joy or activities they once enjoyed doing. Take some time to jot down ideas of what you would like to do if you had 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour and several hours. Keep this list handy so that if you happen to get 15 minutes of time, you can look at your list and make that time useful for you!
Spending time with your children is certainly one of the greatest pleasures of motherhood, but it is also important to spend some time relaxing and de-stressing yourself so that you can be the best mom you can.
How do you get time for yourself?