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Time is a parent’s most precious commodity. But these days, it’s hard enough to find time to breathe, let alone to make time for you.
The kids’ list of demands seems never-ending. The day is full of “Mommy, I want (blank).”, “Mommy, can I have (blank)?”, and the ever-popular, “NO!”. Top that off with with play time, laundry, errands, tidying, and maybe even some work demands, and there’s just not much room left for you. By the time the day ends, all you really want to do is crash.
If you’re like me though, after a while, you reach a breaking point, where you’re so desperate for some quality time to yourself, you end up cranky, moody and just plain miserable. But it really doesn’t have to be that way.
But how do we make time for ourselves in a balanced way, when our attention and patience is pulled in dozens of directions throughout the day? How do we negotiate, nay, litigate for our own sanity with our mucus-munchers?
Hire a lawyer? Some days, honey, I’ve come close, but no.
Here are a few ways You can Make Time for You in a balanced way.
Change Your Mindset
Easier said than done, right? This is one I still struggle with, but if we don’t start to think of ourselves as a priority, it’ll never come to fruition, right?
So, you’re a great mom, a fun mom, a devoted and loving mom, but what else are you? I bet there’s way more to you than the significant role you play in your kids lives.
What makes you smile, other than your kids? What things make you happy? What did you enjoy doing before you started a family, but can’t seem to get back to?
For me, it’s enjoying my coffee by myself in the morning. I try to make sure I’m alone when I drink it. Something about it just slows me down a bit. I used to be a creative person before I became a mom, so I try to make time for that too, whether it’s colouring before bed, blogging, or even just dancing around my room while I put the laundry away. Something that puts me in touch with my pre-mom self, even in the smallest way.
I bet if you sat down and thought about it, you could name a few of your own pre-mom interests. Try to bring those things into your mind again. See if you can make a spot for them on your mental priority list every day.
Wake Up 15 Minutes Earlier
I know, it sucks. Sleep for me is like air, now that I have two kids, and the idea of waking up even a second earlier makes me cringe. So why do I do it?
When I get up in the morning and go downstairs, it’s quiet.
Let me repeat that….It’s quiet.
The parenting hasn’t started yet and it’s just me. I eat breakfast by myself in the living room and sip my coffee. I might think about the day ahead, or I might not. I sit there and listen to the sounds of the house and the morning outside. And it’s glorious.
Keep it simple like me, or make it more physical by throwing in a sun salutation or two, or get up earlier and go for your morning run. Whatever you do during this time, make sure it’s something YOU like to do. Starting the day doing something for yourself will ensure you’ll have that much more to give the mucus-munchers when they stumble down the stairs and start asking…for everything.
Set Boundaries and Take Breaks
It took me a long time to realize that I really could take a break from my kids if I needed one, and I didn’t have to hire a sitter to do it. But I did have to convince my kids first.
Tell them that sometimes even Mommy needs a time-out. Tell them you’re a better mom; better at playing, better at smiling, better at laughing when you make time for you. Keep reminding them and eventually, they’ll get the idea that Mommy is a person too. I know, mind blown, right?
Then when you need a break, take it and don’t you dare feel guilty about it. Explain to your little booger bandit ahead of time that you’ll be taking a break in a few minutes and remind them why you need one. Tell them afterwards, you’ll be right back into playing with them.
Make yourself that cup of coffee, stop playing, get up off the floor and enjoy your fifteen minutes. But make sure you follow through on your promise. That toddler won’t buy into this if you don’t come back to play. Try not to sabotage your future self.
Nap Time is Sacred
I don’t have to tell you this one. You already know. Baby G is close to dropping his last nap and I’m so sad to see it go. Nap time is the time where you get to sit and stare at the dishes in the sink and think to yourself, “Gee, someone should really do those,” as you sip on your coffee, scrolling through Facebook. Oh ya, I know you lady:)
Take advantage while you can. Get some exercise, take a nap yourself, have the ever-elusive shower, read a book, or do your makeup if for no other reason than to feel like a girl again. Do something that actually makes you smile.
Ask For Help
My husband and I take turns doing the bedtime routine. It’s how we help each other out, by giving the other that extra half hour of down time to relax and unwind. Now, I realize your family situation might be completely different. Maybe you’re a single mom, maybe your spouse works nights. I get it.
Find a way to make it work for you. Ask a friend to watch the kids for an hour or two. Hire a sitter, or hook the kids up with a play date at a friends house. Even get the kids in on it. You’re a team. Tell your kids there’s only one Mommy and you need their help to make things work for everyone.
If you can, get out of the house. Don’t run an errand if you can help it. Just go. Drive around the block, walk around the mall, maybe buy yourself a new top. If you need to stick close to home, sit on the porch for some peace and quiet
And by the end of the day, the kids will still be alive, you’ll have stolen a few moments for yourself and struck a balance between time for your kids and time for you.
Woo! Awesome job, Mommy!
Enjoy the silence once again and open that book, read your favourite blog *wink*, pour the wine and sigh the deepest sigh.
But hey, life happens. I know, babe. There are days when I don’t get any time for myself at all. There are days when I really would rather go to bed early, because my body is telling me to.
So don’t feel like you’ve failed the day because you missed making time for yourself. That’s not the point. Are you going to be able to do all these things every single day? Maybe not, but like I said it’s about finding a balance that works for you, not against you.
Move Yourself up on your priority list
Do something that makes YOU happy. Make the time for you. Find the balance and start a trend. Carve out each minute like your life depended on it. Because really, it kinda does. A miserable mom means miserable kids and no one has time for that. So invest in yourself, Mommy. Your family will only benefit.
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