I have a confession to make. There have been times, like say, last week, when I have actually been jealous of my husband for going to the bathroom alone.
Yes, that’s pathetic and yes, it’s ridiculous, but that’s how busy my life as a full-time work-from-home mom of four. Every single second of my day feels jam-packed and the idea that I could just go to the bathroom when I need to go to the bathroom feels ludicrous to me. Even a simple thing like going to the restroom takes strategic planning — make sure the baby is safe, that the toddler can’t reach her, alert the preschooler that I will be gone because you know the second I’m out of sight all of them start hollering for me, prepare for the inevitable fact that as soon as I step into the bathroom, the toddler is going to have to go potty too and potty training means you have to make that happen ASAP.
The point is, when something as basic as using the restroom feels like an impossible task, how on earth is a busy mom supposed to actually carve out time for “me” time? Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started, because your “me time” is important and it will make you a better mom, partner, and person.
Buckle up and away
I am not ashamed to admit that I use drive time as “me time.” For me, me time is pretty much any time during my day when I carve out a few minutes to sit quietly, not have to attend to anyone else’s needs or fix a snack or change a diaper. So in a pinch, a car ride can totally work for all of those things. If the kids are with me, it’s an excuse to buckle them safely, tune them out with the radio or a carefully-chosen DVD in the minivan, and hit up the local drive-thru for coffee.
And when the stars align and I’m able to drive somewhere alone, it’s even better. Just this morning, when my daughter needed a ride to a friend’s birthday party, I jumped at the chance to sip my coffee in peace and drive along the lakeside road they live on. Of course, when I came back, foolishly expecting that my husband would have completed the morning chores and had everyone dressed and ready for church to instead find he had sat on the couch watching TV for the entire hour I was gone, I realized that “me time” is always exchanging time in the world of motherhood. But hey sometimes, the price is worth it.
Hire a sitter, but stay home
Have you ever just wished you had just one hour to yourself? Seriously, moms can be transformed with just one hour, which is why you should seriously contemplate hiring a sitter to come to your house, even for a very short period of time. Just say you have some work to do, lock yourself upstairs, and do whatever you need to rest and recharge.
Maybe it’s a shower and shaving your legs you need to feel human again, maybe it’s fixing yourself a cup of tea and reading a good book, or maybe it’s just a power nap, but whatever it is, having a sitter come to you and escaping where you know nothing can go wrong can be a game-changer.
Make time for margin
If you’re the type of mom who likes to plan out her day, whether through a digital calendar or an old-school paper planner, take time to review your schedule with a critical eye. Because if you’re not blocking out intentional “me time” in your schedule, something needs to change.
The act of planning purposeful downtime in your day is called creating “margin” and the key to margin is that it needs to be a planned slot of time, but not necessarily planned time. So that way, when it’s time for margin, you can use that scheduled time to do whatever you feel like doing in the moment — reading, journaling, resting, or just cuddling with your kids. The point is, it’s your time, but you do have to make time for it.
Bring me time to you
For both stay-at-home moms and working moms, it can feel almost impossible to leave the house or get enough time to away from the kids to really recharge. Stay-at-home moms might feel like their entire day is spent cleaning and feeding kids, only to find they are too exhausted to go anywhere for “me time,” and working moms might feel like there are literally no other hours in the day to do anything for themselves.
That’s why a service like the Cozy Reader Club subscription box is so important — it brings me time to you and in a way, forces you to take that time for yourself, which we all know is so important. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been tempted to let my own self-care slide, only to find that box on my doorstep. Just seeing that box brings me happiness and reminds me that I am worth investing time and attention in, too, not just the rest of my family. If you know that you have a tendency to put yourself absolutely dead last, to the point that me time is never happening for you, you definitely want to consider having someone else in charge of making sure your me time happens for the month.
Take time to figure out what kind of me time is important to you
I have girlfriends who get their nails done without fail every single week, friends who tuck themselves into bed at 8:30 PM without apology, and friends who couldn’t live without their standing monthly hair appointment.
Everyone has that “one thing” that they do to make themselves feel good and that thing is different for all of us. Me? I just don’t get a lot of happiness from painted nails, but a gym membership and a good book = things I feel good about putting money towards because I know they mean a happier, healthier me. Take some time to figure out what your thing is and make no apologies for what fuels you. Knowing what your me time is, is the first step to making sure it will happen.
Milk the little moments
Here’s one of my biggest secrets to sneaking in mom time when I honestly don’t have any time. I’m the sole parent responsible for taking my kids to school, picking them up, doing all the housework, grocery shopping, laundry, managing our lives, and um, working full-time from home with four kids. So, trust me when I say I get that it’s hard. I totally get it.
Because I get it and I’m right there with you, I rely on small little tricks and tips to sneak in the time I need to get energized and to get work done. One of my go-to’s is to have a handful of activities I can pull out only when I’m on my last straw and I know I need a minute or I will explode. I keep a stash of giant coloring pages and crayons, a huge roll of paper that will cover the entire table, and a special craft cupboard (I pick up those clearance art projects anytime I go to the store!) just for those occasions, set the kids up, and then go crash somewhere. Another friend I know keeps a special basket of toys in a closet and only brings it out for those special times when she needs a moment, which I thought was totally genius.
Another go-to I use a lot is to build in a little extra time whenever we have to go somewhere. I might load the kids up, get to our destination early, and use that ten minutes to read a little, return emails, or even do absolutely nothing but sip my coffee and sit.
Sometimes, a mom has gotta do what a mom has gotta do to find that elusive “me time” in her day, but when you do find it, you realize it’s something we all need more of.
What’s your favorite way to spend your “me time”?