Personal time can help us…
- Be more creative. By giving ourselves a chance to take in other parts of life besides our kids, house, or to-do list, we open ourselves up to doing a better job at work, managing our families’ schedules
- Be more productive and accomplished. When we do something for ourselves, there’s this euphoric feeling that we can conquer the world.
- Be a better mom and partner. When we’re fulfilling our own needs (even if they’re small), we’re more prepared to take care of someone else.
- Teach our kids that self care and alone time is healthy.
- Feel more like the old us, and more willing to embrace a new version of ourselves.
Here are some ideas on how to find time for yourself:
When babies are small, drive.
When my kids were babies, I would feel alone or locked up with no idea what was going on outside my door. Strapping my kids into their car seats and driving to Starbucks was how I found my time to reconnect with the world. I didn’t mind the long line at the drive-up because my kids usually fell asleep. I could scroll through my phone, write down some thoughts or just listen to a podcast in peace. Then I would drive around drinking my coffee, looking at decor and feeling like I was part of the world.
Get your blood pumping, for a few minutes.
We’re not all on our best game each day. Having even ten minutes of exercise each day (or whenever you can fit it in) connects you with your body and helps you bring back the sense of strength and determination. If you can’t run with a stroller, put your kids in the same room as you and do a quick workout while they’re occupied with toys, the TV or a special treat. I am in love with Popsugar’s 20-minute workouts!
But don’t exercise if that’s not what you need.
Connect with friends, even if it’s not in person.
Having a group text with a few friends helps keep my sanity. It’s usually filled with the most random topics, like, “I was just outside weeding, and wow, was that therapeutic,” or “My dog just had fifteen teeth pulled. I didn’t even know they had that many.” (I pulled those gems from my text messages with my two best friends. Exciting stuff.) You need your people who won’t judge you and will pay attention to the boring, random thoughts us moms have throughout the day. You need to stay connected, even if you don’t see your friends in months. (FYI: totally normal)
Build habits, slowly.
When you become a mom, doing something for yourself takes time and practice. It’s hard to pull yourself away from your children, but it really is key to being a good parent. For me, waking up early was my first attempt at giving myself “me time.” I also acknowledged the fact that having a newborn meant I wouldn’t have a ton of me time for a while, and that was ok. As time went by, I started to go for an occasional run, movie with friends or solo shopping trip.
Remember the things you loved before kids.
For me, it was traveling, going to dinner with friends, cooking lavish meals and going to concerts. Just remembering the things you loved will remind you of who you still are. Make a mental note of them and don’t forget them.
Use your kids’ schedule as a guide for finding time for the things you love.
I’m teaching my kids (especially during the pandemic) that different is ok. I can still do the things I want with some compromise. Now I read twenty minutes of a French cooking novel while my kids are watching TV after dinner. My friends and I make plans once a month for an early morning walk (before the kids wake up) or drinks on someone’s porch (after the kids are in bed). I recently bought a record player and am building a record collection. We listen to it on the weekends and my love of music is slowly finding its way back. For me, it’s important that I still spend tons of time with my kids, but pick and choose the times based on their schedule.
Put it on the calendar.
It’s easy to say you’ll do something, and then never follow through. When you’ve carved out time with a friend for a class, whatever it is, you feel more inclined to keep it. And when you follow through, you feel accomplished.
WAKE UP EARLY.
Let me repeat this one because it’s a game changer. WAKE UP EARLY. I know we all need our sleep, but honestly, we need our alone time just as much. And there’s nothing a hot cup of caffeine can’t fix if you didn’t get an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Waking up before your kids sets the tone for your day. It gives you quiet time with no interruptions and puts you one step ahead of the crazy day that’s about to happen. Start by setting your alarm 5 minutes earlier each day until you get to the time you want to wake each morning.
Need ideas for how to start your day? Jot down thoughts/goals/things you’d like to do, stretch, sit and drink HOT coffee in silence or with music playing, make a to-do list for the day, or catch up on a show.
Can we end on this note? Who cares if everything doesn’t get done, because guess what? It never will. Even Pinterest-worthy homes are a mess. Picture-perfect influencers have bad days and don’t actually have it altogether. And, that stay-at-home mom probably doesn’t spend enough quality time with her kids either.
Let’s cut ourselves some slack and give ourselves a break, literally.