Monday, September 29, 2014

Making It Better Monday: Finding Time for You

How To Find Time For You
Last week I talked about the importance of taking care of our personal needs.  Several of the suggestions require you to do something on your own, without your children.  That is something that can be difficult for someone who has an active partner and/or friends and family nearby, but for some that might be impossible.  Here are 10 ways that should help you "find" some time for yourself.

1) Ask others for help
If you are married or have an active partner, explain your need for a few minutes to yourself.  Most likely, they want you to be happy and will be willing to give you that.  After they see how much it improves your mood, because it will improve your mood, they will likely be even more willing in the future.  If you are unable to convince them to give you that time, or there is no one around to ask, try to find a friend you can barter childcare with.  On one day you will watch her kids and on another she will watch yours, giving both of you time to yourselves.

2) Find something that will safely occupy the kids
This might mean taking your time for you during their nap time or  during their favorite tv show.  Obviously, this would only work for those things that do not require you to leave the house and won't take tremendous amounts of uninterrupted time, but it works well for you to get 5 or 10 minutes to do something for you.

3) Involve the kids
If you are making yourself feel pretty or working on a hobby, involve the kids in the process.  Many little girls have fond memories of watching mommy making herself up.  Also, when allowing yourself to eat first, let the kids help set the table, serve the meal, or get drinks, whatever is appropriate for their ages.  Again, this won't work for everything, but it will work for some.

4) Make it part of the family's routine
Again, this will not work with everything, but you could institute daily reading time or quiet time, where everyone has to read or look at books for 15 minutes.  Even the youngest of kids can amuse themselves with a book, even if they cannot read.

5) Let some of the chores slide, at least occasionally
I am not talking about letting your house slip into utter chaos, but there are likely days that you can skip vacuuming for a day, or instead of unloading the dishwasher, you grab the dishes from it as you need them (that works best with smaller families).

6) Prioritize
Look at all the things you do each day and determine if there is something you could give up, at least occasionally, in order to do something for yourself.  Maybe it is spending less time online one day a week, or making convenient meals (freezer meals, crock-pot meals, or whatever your go-to quick meal is) one night a week.

7) Multi-task   
This can mean doing more than 1 chore at a time in order to free up some time later, or it can mean using some alone time to do the things you need to do, such as grocery shopping by yourself or chatting with other adults while waiting for your children at gymnastics.

8) Get up a little earlier 
I have not been able to do this for a while, but when I am sleeping through the night again I plan to do this again.  I like to take my alone time at the start of my day.  I wake up about an hour before everyone else.  I read my scriptures, shower uninterrupted, and sometimes work on something I enjoy, whether it be reading a book or knitting or baking a treat.  It is a nice way to start my day.

9) If feasible, hire help
If it is in your family's budget, hire a mother's helper, babysitter, or house cleaner to come over once a week.  If money is tight, see about trading services with someone.  Maybe you could trade a cooked dinner (double your family's meal) for a couple of hours of service.

10) Cut back on unnecessary distractions and chores
Do you do things that do not bring you joy and are not necessary?  Cut back on those things and replace them with more time for you.  Do you have your kids involved on numerous activities that THEY do not enjoy?  Ask yourself which activities are most important and cut out the others.  Are you cooking every meal, every day from scratch?  Try making freezer meals once a month to free up some time each week or double up your recipes and have planned leftovers the next day.  Do you do ALL the housework yourself?  Involve the kids in everyday chores as appropriate.  They will enjoy helping you, learn life-long skills, and benefit from having a more relaxed mom.

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