Being a mom you rarely are alone, especially if you have small children. My son is still on the boob so he is never far from my side. I love having my children close and being able to spend all my time with them. BUT, sometimes, I just want some space! It is a joy and also a challenge being home with my kids, we are always so busy and rushed that I cannot ever fit in any “me” time, I’m lucky if I shower every two days let alone sit down to do something that makes me feel like “me” again. It is important to get “me” time for exactly that reason, to remind you of what it is like to be you, that you are a person outside of your kids, husband, cook, cleaner, etc.
Here are some ways to get in “me” time while your kids are around.
I am very lucky that one of my closest friends has walking coffee dates with my at Chapters whenever we meet up. Chapters (a chain of book stores in case you have not heard of it) has a kids section and a Starbucks. I bring a stroller to put all our stuff, we grab some coffee and head to the kids section. We leave the stroller where it can be seen, and hope that my two will play at the train table for a bit so we can chat. When they don’t and start to wander (as kids will do) we wander after them while talking, while pregnant we followed my toddler around the whole store. It was great exercise. The kids get to play and explore and we still get to have a coffee and chat, just while following around the kids.
Sometimes it has just been one of those days and you need a break, cranky kids, whatever the reason. On these days I pack the kids in the car, hit up Starbucks drive-through for a coffee (maybe a snack for the pre-schooler) put on some good music and go for a drive. I get to drink a hot coffee in peace, and we just enjoy some music (even if it is Anne Murray or Doodlebops) as we drive around. If I want company and un-interupted chat time, I will pick up my sister for the drive and we chat and drink our coffees as the kids look out the window.
I found that I really missed reading a lot after having kids. There just was no time for reading, and when I did finally make time, I was too tired to really absorb what I was reading. Audiobooks are amazing. I can listen to them while I breastfeed, drive, clean, cook, walk, etc. This is great as I still stay current on my favourite authors and series while doing normal day to day things.
As said above since having children I really miss reading. I used to read so much, go through so many books. I have a bookshelf full of books waiting for me to read, and sadly had to pack them away as I could not see how I would every find time to read them. Then, I implemented reading time! My almost three-year-old needs a bit of a quiet wind-down for nap time so everyday after lunch and before nap time we have 15 minutes of “reading time”. I have a basket of new and special books I rotate out weekly, and we all sit down with our books. I am almost 100 pages into my book in three weeks, I may only get 5 pages or so read a day, but it is better than no pages at all and I love reading time! I leave board books and touchy feely books for my one-year-old and he wanders around, nurses, watches, throws books, but also understands that we do things on our own for this time and Mommy and Bee are reading. I cannot stress how much fun it is to see everyone sitting and reading a book, if we have company over, I tell them to bring a book too and join us.
This is entirely dependent on your kids ages and nap schedules. Put baby in the carrier on your back to sleep during nap time and go shopping! Or set up older ones in a stroller (easier to hold snacks and they cannot run away) then go shopping! Hit up the mall, try on some lotion at the Body Shop, grab a cinnamon bun (you may have to share if your kid sees you get this one). I love IKEA and Micheal’s for this. Have some fun walking around, getting exercise and allowing yourself to do nothing productive but have a little fun being out of the house and away from it all.
I love the new colouring trend. I have always loved colouring and am happy I get one that is more adult. Now I feel like a grownup! I set both myself and my preschooler up with our own separate colouring books and pencil crayons. Then we can sit next to each other while we colour. It’s a great way to drink a hot tea (Bee gets a lukewarm non-caffeinated tea) and enjoy some stress-free colouring.
Who doesn’t love a good relaxing bath! I worry about falling asleep in the tub if I take a bath once the kids are in bed; therefore, I try and do it earlier. I set my daughter up with some activities in her room and set my son up with some toys and some books on the bathroom floor. I filled the tub and put in some awesome smelling bubble bath and climbed in to enjoy a nice luxurious soak while the children were busy with their toys. Mission FAIL! I had barely gotten in the water before my one-year-old son was attempting to strip his clothes off as fast as possible (I thought he was actually going to rip them off) and tried to climb into the tub while shrieking at the top of his lungs in indignation that he was not included in bathtime. I did what any mother would, I gave up, stripped him and hauled him into the tub with me. We actually had a really fun time. I still got to lie down, relax, and soak in the tub with some soothing music playing and my son flipped back-and-forth all over the tub on top of me having a grand old time. It was actually still relaxing and quite a bit of fun. So, it’s still another alternative if they insist on climbing in with you, there is still a way to have a nice relaxing bath.
Alternatively set the kids up in the bath. I know once I get my kids in there they can easily spend 30 to 60 minutes playing happily in the tub. Give them some toys. If you have any of those fancy bathmats and crayons, the colour tablets where the water changes colour, etc. , anything you can to make the bath extra special. Set them up in the tub beforehand. You have to be organized in this because of course we don’t want to leave children in the bath alone (depending on the age) so I make myself a nice warm drink and bring some stuff in the bathroom, new make-up, nail polish, etc. as the kids are having their baths obviously keep an eye on them, but you pretty much have free reign to do whatever you want as long as you’re in the bathroom for the next half an hour you want to do your nails, you want to read a book, you want to do something productive, like fold laundry, which is not exactly “me time”, but it may free up some time later that you would’ve spent folding laundry and can have “me time” then. I love bath time during the day, it’s a fabulous way for getting stuff done and also having a few minutes to myself. The kids have a blast and are clean and tired at the end of bathtime.
Do yoga with the kids! I have three mats, I set each of the kids up with a mat and as I do yoga I encourage them to try it out with me. Sure they spend more time climbing me and trying to nurse, but it’s still fun and I can get some good breathing and stretching in. I always feel better after a yoga session, even if it is at home with a kid always on me.
Notice how I didn’t once mention the TV? That’s because that’s a given. Obviously you can turn the TV on to keep them busy while you get stuff done but here are some alternatives to keep them stimulated at the same time so they are less likely to bug you, and you don’t feel as guilty about turning the TV on.
The key thing is to figure out what really makes you happy? Is it reading? Colouring? Cooking? Crafting? Once you know what it is that makes you de-stress and feel like you are getting time to yourself, you can figure out how to manage it with kids around.
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