7 Realistic Ways To Make Time For Yourself as a Mom
We are going to talk about ways to make time for yourself as a mom.
And to some, that might feel laughable. (I would include myself in that laughable category at times)
Here’s the thing though. While we may laugh it off and treat it as just something we have to deal with, losing ourselves to motherhood is not something to take lightly.
Being mentally (and physically and emotionally) exhausted or completely burnt out should not be looked at as a badge of honor.
Of course, when we become parents, our lives change drastically. There’s no way around that. Having children is a huge life event and massive shifts in the way our lives function is just part of the journey.
I do, however, feel that too often as mothers we are just forced into this position to accept what is. And this can sometimes mean suffering in silence. Or feeling like if we express what’s really going on within us then we will be judged in some way.
A lot of that judgment is most likely going to come from ourselves. I used to think that I had to be grateful for my life and my kids every single minute. That’s setting myself up for disaster.
Of course, I am grateful for my babies. But two (or more) things can be true. You can be grateful and exhausted. You can feel sheer joy being with your kids and still crave alone time. It’s not this or that. It’s this and that.
Taking care of ourselves and prioritizing ourselves can be seen as selfish. In reality, it is anything but selfish.
Treat these ideas like a buffet. Everything might not apply to you. We are all living unique lives that can and probably do look very different.
Take what serves you and leave the rest.
I am not going to just name a bunch of things you can do alone. (I will mention a few ideas) This is, however, more about how to make taking time for yourself happen. Not just daydream about it.
Think of it in terms of a need and some possible solutions to get that need fulfilled in some capacity.
I also want to mention that it can often feel as if we are never fully getting what we need. I know I fall into this trap of thinking if I can not get what I want fully then why bother?
But a weekend away once a month with my husband or by myself is just not in the cards for me. So I practice not looking at this from a black and white perspective.
The vibe I like to create is more of a what can I make happen with what I got?
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Here Are 7 Ways To Make Time For Yourself as a Mom
1) Develop a Routine That Caters To You Too
There are times when it feels almost impossible to have time just for yourself. My family moved to Tennessee recently and we do not know anyone here. Our closest family is 7 hours away!
To say this has been an adjustment is an understatement.
It can feel as if everything in my life revolves around my kiddos and their schedule and routines. I am going to guess that anyone with children has heard about the importance of routines. And I am a big fan of routines.
But I have been making a valiant effort to be sure that our routines include things that I want to do.
Now, this might not be making time for yourself per se. This is more about considering yourself and your wants and needs when you are doing things with your kids.
This could be as simple as listening to music you like in the car or listening to a podcast of your choosing. Or you could swing through a drive-through and grab a drink that brings you some joy.
Get yourself an adult coloring book and color alongside your kids.
Going to a nature preserve rather than a park. (parks with my wild toddler spike my stress levels)
What this boils down to is that you matter too. Solely catering to those around is not the only way.
2) Take Something off Your Plate
Want to know something I have discovered? I can not do it all. I know, mind-blowing epiphanies going on over here.
The grind of daily life can become daunting. It’s like having 76 tabs open in your brain at all times. And while I would like to believe I can do it all, I have to recognize that I do have limits.
Social media in particular can fool you into believing that so many other people are doing it all. With a full face of makeup and styled hair, I might add.
The truth is that no one is doing it all. At least not well. Something, somewhere in your life has to take a backseat when something else is at the forefront.
Also, your worth is not measured by how much you accomplish. I know it can feel like that sometimes. But I like to look at it from the vantage point of what taking something off my plate does for me.
I am less stressed. Less snappy with those around me when dinner time rolls around. I’m just in a better mood overall because I didn’t burn up all the gas in my tank by running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Here is another little nugget of wisdom. If everything is super important, then nothing is super important. Everything does not belong on the same importance level.
Try grabbing a notebook and breaking things down into “high need”, “medium need” and “low need”. Having a visual tool to refer to can be a game changer for prioritizing.
3) Rethink How You Use Nap Time
I used to make this obnoxious list of things I was going to get done during nap time (or after my kids went to bed). And I would go at it as soon as my kids’ heads hit their pillows.
While I did get a lot accomplished during that time, the end of nap time left me with a feeling of dread. Not dread in regards to getting my kids up. But dread in terms of feeling like I had no time to just be.
We don’t have to fill every minute of the day with something we consider productive. Or maybe we need to adjust our views on what is productive.
Using nap time as an opportunity to do things you enjoy is productive. Recharging in whatever way works for you is productive.
Our children’s sleep time does not need to be our power hours.
If you have a partner who is willing and capable of taking a task off of your plate, use that.
So often the mental load can fall completely on the mom. All these seemingly small tasks can become overwhelming.
Just last night, I realized we had 1 roll of toilet paper left and my 10-year-old daughter was almost out of toothpaste. These are not big deals. But this is the perfect example that shows if I am the only one keeping track of everything we need then things will fall through the cracks.
Now, I do not expect my daughter to keep track of this ridiculous list of things we need. But could she write a post-it note to check on the amount of toothpaste and mouthwash she has? Absolutely.
This idea of delegating much more relates to my husband. I used to always use the word help when it came to him. But his doing things is not helping. It’s not helping when I do the dishes. (or anything else for that matter)
So often men get praised for doing the most basic of things. And this is not a bash at men. I think this is just the way society has viewed male and female dynamics for so long.
This is not about creating the perfect balance and being sure everything is equal. But one person doing all the things when it comes to the home and everyone (and everything) in it doesn’t seem too fair.
This book was eye-opening for me. It takes a deep dive into how to divvy up domestic responsibilities and how these changes can impact your life.
5) Schedule Time For Yourself
We talked about routines earlier and that was more related to considering yourself as a factor in your day-to-day routines with your kids.
This is more about doing something without your kids. Doing something that is just for you.
And the real key here is to pencil it in on the calendar. (scratch that…use pen) Just be sure to put it in writing somewhere. Having it in writing makes it real. And not just something we say in passing.
I also want to mention that this does not always need to involve leaving the house. I often tell my husband I don’t need to physically leave, I just don’t want to be the default parent every minute of the day.
Some nights I want to go take a nice bath (this bathtub caddy takes baths up a notch). Or read a book (btw: these personal growth books are my fave and if you are more into fiction then check this one out).
Maybe even take a walk outside by myself. Getting outside always clears my mind and makes me feel better.
But if I don’t advocate for myself then these things might not happen. I can’t blame my husband for not reminding me to take a bath while he does bedtime duties alone.
It’s not on him to remind me to go peruse the aisles of Target on Saturday mornings. If I want these things to happen, then I need to make them a priority and put them on our family calendar.
*Isn’t it so funny how most men can tell us something they are doing without a second thought? Meanwhile, I used to be that wife asking to go take a shower for goodness sake.*
6) Realistic Expectations
Some days will be more challenging than others.
Being realistic and being flexible will serve you well.
The key is to find moments to recharge. No matter how brief.
A perfect example is my husband and the amount he travels for work. It’s about every other week. This means I solo parent pretty regularly for 2-4 days at a time.
So I make sure to offload more of my normal duties onto him the days before he travels. Sometimes not having to wrangle my toddler to brush her teeth for a few days is a bigger relief than I could ever imagine.
I’m always adjusting what I can realistically make happen and what I can do that gives me pockets of not being “on” all the time.
7) Go Outside Your Comfort Zone
One of my biggest struggles since becoming a parent has been loneliness. It sounds strange to be lonely when I am never alone.
For the longest time, I thought about trying to make friends in my new state. Putting myself out there.
But ultimately my fear won for a while. I knew connection was important and soul-nourishing yet I convinced myself it wasn’t in the cards for me.
Recently, thanks to the internet I had the opportunity to join a local book club.
Let me just say that you don’t realize how desperately you need to speak with other adults until you get it.
Trying something new is scary and uncomfortable at first. But in that discomfort is an opportunity for us to grow and maybe just find sometihng that we need.
My once a week book club meeting is something I look forward to and it has impacted my overall mood and state of mind in the best way.
Being a fulfilled mom will have a positive ripple effect on those around you. That sounds like a win-win for everyone.
Prioritizing your own well-being will help to build and maintain a happier and healthier family dynamic.
Which one of these ways to make time for yourself as a mom stood out to you?
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