When you have children, “me” time is essential! I write a lot about how important it is for children to have “outbreath,” independent play time, but this is something that we must do as well. When your children are occupied or napping, it is so tempting to use that time to do dishes or laundry because there is always so much to do. When it is only you caring for your many children who have different schedules, you mat not feel like you can have any down time at all!
But here are a few tricks I’ve gained from experience and from other mothers to squeeze even 5 minutes of “me” time in on the busiest of days:
Trading “me” hours with your spouse: This is especially important when you have a newborn, as the job is literally around the clock. Giving your spouse and yourself an hour break during the day to shower, walk, read, paint etc. can really help your sanity!
Naps!: When your children are napping, this is a great time to rest, but we may forget because of our responsibilities. I make sure that as soon as my child falls asleep, I get rest before I start working.
Rest while they play: When the children are occupied with an activity this is a great time to occupy yourself with some good ‘work’ that is also a rejuvenating activity, like knitting or gardening.
Take a ‘time in’ rest: Lay on the couch with your children and cuddle, or lay on the floor by them and do breathing exercises. This may not seem like a break because you are still engaging your children, but by resting our bodies, our mind may feel rested as well.
Gym Daycare: This is essential for me as it allows me an hour of time to care for my body while I my son would play with other children while in good hands. For young children, it is important to find a gym care that has one primary caregiver with experience with infants and toddlers, and unfortunately, that can be tricky. But if you have access to this, USE IT and you will be grateful. Most YMCA’s offer such quality of care, click here to find a Y near you.
Hire a Mommy’s Helper: As previously stated, my gym care has been shut down so I am currently in search of a local high schooler with great recommendations to come to my house and help out for a few hours a week. Here is a GREAT guide on how to find the right kind of part-time helper for you family.
Use your family: Grand parents and Aunts and Uncles and any other family LOVE to see your children! So let them and be grateful. Take a break while your children get spoiled and everybody wins!
Put your little one in a safe place: This is one that I use when we are having a really bad day, you know what I mean. Like when my son won’t nap and is fussy all day or when he was a newborn and cried SO MUCH. I will explain to him that “Mommy is having a hard time and so are you. I think we would both benefit from a break so mommy is going to put you in your crib for some quit time and then go have a rest for (5-20) minutes.” He may not be very happy about this but I find that after this break I am in a better emotional place and we both benefit from it. This is kind of like my reset button.
When you do have time for a little break during the day or after your children go to sleep at night, there are many things you can do to recharge your sense of self. So what activities can be really rejuvenating? Here are some things that help me:
Exercise: Anything from yoga to walking to vigorous strength training can be a serious recharge.
Simple Meditation: This is so important for me and often the first kind of break I turn to, it’s not very in-depth either! I just lay on my back and breath deeply into my belly. Often I might even drift off to sleep which is even better! Here is a brief guide on how to do a basic meditation.
Creative Activities: Writing, gardening, knitting and sometimes painting are my creative outlets so I make sure I have time for these.
Eating! I actually forget to eat all the time, so sitting and having a good meal in peace in quiet is a real treat.
Social Time: From calling a friend for 5 minutes to going out for drinks and dancing with your girlfriends can be reminder that you are, in fact, a grown up person with an identity.
Intimacy: This is SO important for your marriage! If spontaneity has flown out the window after having children, schedule time for intimacy, preferably right when the kids got to sleep so that you still have a little bit of energy. Here is a great post on how to feel sexy as a mom, as it is a common feeling for new moms to lose this part of themselves. But you CAN be a mother goddess and sex goddess.
It may feel like taking time for yourself is a purely selfish activity, especially when your children don’t like it; but by making “me” time a priority, you are not only giving yourself what you need, but you are giving your children a better, happier mother. So please share your own experiences on this topic as it’s always good to have more ideas on how to get that “me” time that we all need and deserve.