Four Simple Tips for Carving Out Time for Yourself as a Mom
As parents, our days are consumed by making sure our children’s needs are met, on top of whatever other responsibilities we have. Whether you work a full-time job, are a stay-at-home parent, or a combination of the two, being a parent can be downright exhausting.
At the end of the day when you finally have a moment to breathe, it’s all too easy to realize that you haven’t done a single thing for yourself. Heck, sometimes I go the day and realize I barely ate anything!
In order to be the best parent you can be, it’s so important to make sure that you carve out some time for yourself and do things that make you happy.
However, with such full days, that might seem like an impossible task. How could you possibly fit another thing into your already crammed days?
It may be easier than you think! Here are four tips for carving out time for yourself:
Make a date with yourself
You know that thing we like to tell ourselves, “I’ll do it when I have time?” Honey, if you don’t make the time for it, it’s probably never going to happen!
Instead of waiting for that unicorn day sometime in the future, make a date with yourself right now.
Go ahead, I can wait…
Block out a chunk of time in your calendar — it can be as little as a few minutes — and treat it as you would any other commitment.
Want 15 minutes to savor your coffee before the kids are up? Schedule it and set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier.
Has that basket of yarn been collecting dust on your bookshelf? Schedule 30 minutes in the evening after your kids go to bed to work those knitting needles. Or better yet, make a coffee date with a friend to keep you accountable and have a fiber arts date.
The beauty of making a date with yourself is it can happen whenever is good for you.
Get creative with childcare
Ok, so maybe you simply don’t have the time or you want to get away but have no one to watch your children. Maybe you’re strapped for cash or are having difficulty justifying spending a ton of money on a sitter so you can get some time to yourself for an hour.
The good news is with a little bit of creativity, you can find some quality childcare for a lot less, or even free, so that you can make some time for yourself!
Is there a tween in your neighborhood who absolutely adores kids? Hire them as a mother’s helper while you hole yourself up in another room by yourself. You’ll still be around in case they need your help.
My personal favorite is teaming up with another parent who I can do a childcare swap with. You watch their child for an hour or two one day, they watch yours on another. The best part — built in playdate! This even works for evening times. (Perhaps the best part is when you hang out in someone else’s house in the evening, you’re not required to do any chores — just sit back and relax and catch up on Netflix while their kiddos sleep!)
Just say no
If you’re anything like me, you’re really bad at saying no to things. Your child’s class is looking for trip chaperones? Tell me how to sign up! An acquaintance who Facebook-friended you asked you to host their Stella & Dot party? Send me the date and time!
It may fill you with immense guilt to say no, but with limited precious time to nourish yourself, you’re likely to end up resenting whatever it is you agreed to. I recently let go of two long-term volunteer commitments and it’s amazing how much time (and head space!) that opened up for me.
Let things go
Do you cringe every time you walk by the pile of laundry that’s been sitting on your couch for three days? Do the dishes stacked up from the day with congealing milk cause you to hyperventilate? Is it an hour before dinnertime (and conveniently, that hour of the day when the tiny humans in your home seem to totally lose it) and you can’t muster the energy to cook a meal?
I’m going to channel my inner Elsa from Frozen as I belt out, “Let it go!”
I could spend HOURS each night cleaning up my house making it look spotless because the amount of clutter that accumulates by the end of the day sends me into a rage tornado. But sometimes I just have to let it go.
You’re human. No one in your family expects your home to be spotless or to have a home-cooked meal every night. If dinner is scrounging up whatever leftovers you can find in your fridge or you need to slap together sandwiches for everyone, so be it!
Use that time instead to read a trashy magazine (or heck, an educational one!), watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones, or take a bubble bath. You’ll thank yourself in the moment for making time for yourself, and everyone in your family will benefit from a more relaxed parent.
How do you carve out time for yourself?
Contributed by: Bev Feldman
Bev Feldman is a Boston-area mom to two adorable and exhausting daughters. She’s the author of the self-care guide, The Busy Mom’s Guide to Creativity, and a jewelry designer and metalsmith. You can find her at www.linkouture.com.