Let’s see. You did the laundry, dropped the boys off at Karate and the girls at dance class, stopped at the grocery store for a few last minute dinner items…What’s missing? As you were taking care of everyone else all day long, did you remember to take care of yourself? I know it can be hard to carve out space for you, since being a mom is a full time job, but taking care of yourself helps you have the strength and energy to keep taking care of everyone else, from your children to the snake your son left in the pocket of his dirty jeans.
If trying to squeeze out a few more hours a day just for you seems impossible, why not try one of these ideas:
1. Don’t be afraid to start small. It’s better for you to take five minutes to read the funny pages or your favorite inspirational poem than it is to not take any time at all for you.
2. Get up twenty or thirty minutes earlier than usual and spend some time doing something you enjoy, such as reading the paper while you sip your coffee or meditating. By the time the children wake up, you will be ready to start your busy day.
3. Talk to the other moms at your children’s classes and find out if any of them live nearby. See if several of them are interested in forming a carpool, so you don’t have to make every trip to drop off and pick up the kids.
4. Find another mom who has children that get along well with your kids. Alternate babysitting services with her, so that you each have a few hours of free time every week to go to the gym or get your hair done. Don’t be tempted to do chores instead. You need this time for you and you won’t feel very rested and refreshed if you pick up the dry cleaning, do the grocery shopping, and run the car through the car wash instead of relaxing.
5. Delegate evening chores like setting the table, washing the dishes, and packing the next day’s lunch. If everyone does ten or fifteen minutes of work, you will have enough free time to soak in the tub or read a chapter of the newest best seller.
6. If you cook all of your family’s evening meals and always pack lunch for your children, don’t be afraid to give yourself a break once a week. Pizza every night may be unhealthy, but an occasional slice isn’t too unhealthy for the kids. Eating the occasional school lunch can actually be a fun treat for children, even if it doesn’t taste that great.
Finally, make sure your family realizes the importance of letting you find some time for yourself. Speak with your children about respecting your quiet time, whenever and however you manage to fit it into your day.