Tag Archives: me time

How I Find Time for ME (As a Mom of Young Children)

This post originally appeared on the Grit and Grace Project

Self-care is becoming a buzzword in our society. As we are able to work from home (read: anywhere), connect with hundreds of people are the touch of a button, and multitask like true professionals, we’re only getting busier. The call to slow down and take care of yourself is simultaneously getting louder and more difficult to heed.

As a SAHM mother of three children under five, who also works part-time, finding time for myself is often not at the top of my to-do list. But I’ve also realized that I’m a better wife and mother if I have a little time to myself. It looks different each day, and I spend it differently each time, but here are a few things I do to ensure a little time for me.

1. Plan it with my hubby. He’s my support and my biggest cheerleader, and he’s always willing to help me have time to get my nails done or even to just take a nap. He encourages me to write, to practice my music, to go out and have coffee without the kids. I plan with him for when he can keep the kids and I can sneak out for an hour or two to refresh, to relax, and do whatever it is I need to regroup.

2. Let some things go. Sometimes, when my kids are napping or go to bed early, I get the urge to clean all the things, fold all the laundry, and prep all the meals. Other times, I let it all slide (even though those chores are still waiting on me) to take a long shower, read a book with un-re-heated coffee, or watch a movie with a glass of wine. Believe me- the dishes aren’t going anywhere.

3. Hang out with a girlfriend (or a few). My girlfriends are a mix of fellow moms and also gal pals who don’t have kids. Sometimes it takes a lot of planning (and babysitters) to get together with them, but other times, I can just have a friend over for morning coffee after preschool drop off, or a post-bedtime chat over wine. Being with a girlfriend can refill the relational and feminine parts of me. And never underestimate the reinvigorating qualities of a girls’ night!

4. Take a power nap. Napping isn’t for everyone, and it wasn’t for me until I had kids. But now that I often choose many things over sleep (including things I love doing, not just chores), a power nap can work wonders. A 20-minute snooze during their nap time can be just as good as napping the whole time they’re asleep! If I know I have things to do after their bedtime, the power nap can keep me going a little longer.

5. Get dressed. I always feel more productive and happier with myself when I make the effort to get out of my pajamas (even if I’m not leaving the house), wash my face, and brush on a coat of mascara. It sounds silly, but it gives me a boost, and makes me feel more like myself, even if I don’t need to do it.

What things do you do to make sure you’re your best self?

I work out for me. 

This past week, I noticed that I was angry a lot. I was frustrated about every single thing, big or small, that might normally just annoy me. It’s really hot outside. It’s really hot inside. We’ve been busy, but not really in a fun way. The kids are messy, loud, and getting on each other’s nerves. I’m not getting enough sleep. The 2yo is acting particularly threenagery (let’s just say that’s a word) recently. All of these things are things I can usually take in stride. But the past week or two, they’ve been building up, clogging my good feelings and just plain stressing me out. 

Finally, I realized that I hadn’t been keeping up with my workout routine very well. Now, I’m not an every day-er, or even a certain days of the week-er. Maybe those are the reasons I hadn’t gotten any exercise in. But either way, two weeks of no exercise is not good for me, and I finally realized it. It was time to stop making excuses about my busy schedule and the heat. 

You see, I don’t necessarily put on weight or get flabby from not working out. I mean, if I didn’t for a long time, I’m sure I would. But I don’t immediately see the effects of laziness on my body. (Not that a SAHM mom of three under five should in any sense be seen as “lazy”.) But I temporarily forgot that my body, my mind, my soul, all need some exercise. 

Working out isn’t something I personally do to see a magic number on a scale, fit into a certain size, or or achieve a certain “goal” (screw the thigh gap). I do it for the way it makes me feel. It helps me work through frustration. It helps burn calories and energy, and exhaust me into sleeping better. It sets a healthy example for my family about the importance of exercise. It is “me time”. It sets the tone for my productivity. It even makes me feel great about that glass of wine that’s coming in the evening. In short, makes me feel good. I don’t need a better reason than that! I do it for me.