No matter how much we as parents love to spend time with our children, it’s so healthy and necessary to fit in some time for ourselves. It makes us happier, more centered, and allows for a fresh perspective, which makes for happier kids and spouses, too!
Some of us need to balance our home lives with full time work..others just really need a coffee with friends once in a while. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, I hope you find some of these tips helpful in achieving the time you need for yourself.
Ask for it.
This is so obvious, it’s embarrassing that my husband is actually the one who came up with it. Recently I was complaining to him that I never have time to be alone or work on projects around the house. His response was, “well, you never ask for it.” Yep. He was right. Deep down I know that he is willing to take on the household duties solo while I go have coffee and read a magazine or organize my sock drawer or work on a blog post. For some reason though, I don’t ask for it and complain about it instead. Make your needs known. As nice as it would be if our spouses could read our minds, they can’t. Put your needs out on the table and I bet your loved ones will be happy to step up to the plate.
Savor your time alone.
When I do get the chance to relax by myself, the time is often used to think about my to-do list at home. I’ve been known to sit down at a coffee shop and pay bills on my phone or write a grocery shopping list. Resist the urge! Let all of those things go and make some time to think about things that you enjoy. Be in that moment and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells around you. Your to-do list will be waiting for you when you get home, so allow yourself to set it all aside and soak up the moments where you can just be you.
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Learn to see ME time differently, and recognize it in everyday life.
Mom-life doesn’t lend itself to many quiet moments alone. Instead of spending my drive to work stressing about all of the things I didn’t get done before I left the house, I can turn on my favorite music and enjoy my coffee. Instead of thinking about how rushed I am while I’m taking a shower, I can take a deep breath and notice how nice my shampoo smells and how quite it is, even just for 5 minutes. While the kids are napping, sit down and actually eat your lunch at the table instead of over the kitchen sink while you check Facebook. These mindful moments can make you feel more refreshed and less stressed.
Find a little time for yourself, even when you’re with your kids.
It is natural to let every moment revolve around the needs of our children, often without even realizing it. Over time, letting our kids needs completely overshadow our own can lead to feeling neglected and overwhelmed. Even minor things make a huge difference. Example: I find myself obsessed with making sure my kids nails are trimmed. I’ll spend a good deal of time cutting 40 tiny nails between two kids, but will feel for days like I don’t have time to do my own. Now, I use the time that my daughter plays in the tub to file my nails, paint my toenails, etc. We talk and interact, she plays and has a great time, and I feel like I’ve done something to take care of myself, too. Multitasking at it’s finest.
It’s ok to find time to refresh yourself and your perspective. In fact, it’s necessary for your well-being and the happiness of your family. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant weekend away, although I wouldn’t turn that down! Sometimes it can be as simple as plucking your eyebrows while your kid finger-paints with his pureed green beans. Take the time to assess your needs, ask for help, and savor the moments you have to yourself.