You know, a moment when you don't have a child hanging on your leg, begging for a snack, a drink, your time, your attention, or for you to be their Barbie playmate.
Or a free moment of not feeling the pressure of the household chores tugging at you.
I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling weary and haven't had much time for myself I become very cranky and very impatient. I don't respond to my family with grace and I often wish I would tame my tongue. But by the time I feel that way, it's often too late. I've already said something not so loving or mom-like.
Thankfully, over time God has revealed to me what my limits are. So when I feel like I just want to hide in a closet and cry, I know it's time to be "tagged out" and enjoy some much needed mommy time. But it's really much better to avoid reaching my boiling point in the first place. With regular mommy time woven into our daily routine, I find I'm a much happier person overall.
It's healthy and important for all moms to get some "Me Time."
Here are ten ways to ensure you're getting the mommy time you deserve:
1. Take up running. Or join a gym and workout regularly. Many gyms offer childcare. I've found running to be an effective "escape" for me. It re-energizes my spirit and my mind. And I benefit from the feel-good endorphins for hours afterward, so my mood is more pleasant.
2. Schedule a mommy shopping trip. Let the kids have a scheduled afternoon of hanging out with daddy, while you get away to shop a little bit. Some women I know use this opportunity for grocery shopping, while others like to just go to the local mall.
3. Get together regularly with a moms group. If you aren't part of a women's group in your community, check with your local church and get involved. I meet once a week with the moms in a women's bible study group. Childcare is always arranged for the two hours we have to enjoy fellowship with each other, talk about our latest book, discuss our prayer request or praises, and pray for each other. And my kids have FUN playing with the other kids.
4. Sneak into the bathroom with your favorite book or magazine. Do this when your hubby or another responsible adult is home to keep an eye on the kids. Just take 10 or 15 minutes for yourself. Nobody will bother you when the bathroom door is closed…unless of course your family has an "open door" policy. In my house, there is a strict "Do Not Disturb" bathroom rule. Everybody deserves a little privacy.
5. Take advantage of nap time. When the kids are napping or having their quiet time, don't use that time to do the dishes or dust the furniture. Lay down and take a nap with them. Or plop down on the couch with a magazine and a cup of tea. Hey, you might even enjoy watching some daytime television for an hour or getting caught up on your favorite television show on the DVR.
6. Wake up early. Rise before the chaos begins. I get up at 5:30 every morning. This gives me an opportunity to spend time in the presence of God, pray, and study His word. I also use this time to get my writing accomplished, which is something I have a passion for and I find it to be very therapeutic. Getting up early also allows me to plan our day out without having the kids standing at my side asking, "mommy, what fun things are we going to do today?"
7. Plan 30 minutes of FREE time in your daily or weekly routine. Discuss the plan with your children and have something for them to do during that 30 minutes. Let them watch TV, or set them up with some Play Dough. Or maybe this is a good time for coloring books and crayons. Make sure they know you get to have FREE time too. During that time, check your email or surf the internet. Whatever it is, just make sure you're doing something for yourself.
8. Exchange play dates with a friend. This is a great way to get a few hours to yourself without having to pay a babysitter. One day, you host the playdate at your house so your friend can have her mommy time. The next day, she hosts the playdate at her house. Note: this is a playdate where you drop the kids off and leave to do whatever you want. Don't feel obligated to stick around and chat with the other mom. Go take care of your personal needs for a few hours.
9. Visit relatives with kids. Once a week, we go to my husband's parents house for dinner. Of course, grandma and grandpa don't have other little kids running around their house, but they do live in a neighborhood full of friendly kids who are always outside looking for someone to play with. So inevitably, the grownups pull up a chair outside and relax while the kids are busy playing with friends. These moments are good because you aren't necessarily "on call" to entertain anyone. And you can enjoy grownup conversation without interruptions. I often take a magazine with me or play Scrabble on my iPhone.
10. Put the kids to bed early. There is nothing wrong with putting your children in bed at 7pm and taking the night off. Kids need their sleep, especially during the school year. If it's too hard to get everyone in bed that early, plan normal nighttime routines for earlier in the day. For example, when I know I want to get the kids in bed early on a particular night, I will plan some outdoor water play in the afternoon before dinner. Then when they're tuckered out and ready to go inside, they go straight into the bathtub for cleanup. Then into their pajamas. Then I fix dinner while they watch a movie. After dinner, they brush their teeth, we read, and they're in bed. Easy peasy!
~Until next time, may God bless you with a few minutes to nurture your own needs!
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