One of the things I’m constantly reminded of as a parent, is how important it is to look after myself. “Maria you need to take care of yourself” or “Maria you need some time to yourself” are often the lines that are said to me; and as much as I would love to, it just doesn’t happen.
I am a stay-at-home-Mum who (for the most part) loves looking after my kids. I often feel guilty for even thinking of having time to myself, or “looking after myself”. Not only that, I feel like I never have the time to do it. On the weekends I do work for Happy Mum Happy Child, and at the end of the day I simply go to bed.
There’s not really much time in between to have my eyebrows done, or go out for a coffee alone. And if you’re a working parent: heck your life is probably even busier!!!
So here are seven tips on how to get some time to yourself / look after yourself, if you’re a busy parent:
1. Get Up Early / Stay Up Late
This precious time early in the morning, when my kids are asleep, is MY time. You all know that I love this time. It gives me an opportunity to actually BREATH before the chaos descends upon the house. The same goes for staying up late; this is my husband’s time by himself. We both try to take this time so that we stay sane.
2. Scheduled Break Times
I like to think of 10am as my coffee break. As a SAHM it’s easy to be at your child’s beck and call 24/7, but it’s really important not only for yourself but for THEM that you take a step back. They need to learn to do things by themselves, it’s just a fact of life. So at 10am, no matter what is happening (roughly), I sit down and have a coffee. The TV goes on, a game gets set up, or I simply just tell my child “it’s my coffee time, I’ll come when I’m finished”. You’d be surprised at how they cope!
3. Send Up A Flare
Ask for help. If you’re lucky enough to have family who can come over, then get them to pop around once a week so that you can take a moment to yourself. Whether you hang out the washing, or go for a walk, it’s important. Plus, family / friends actually love that shit.
4. Don’t Be Hard On Yourself
Easier said than done, but a part of looking after yourself is remembering that we are all human; and we all make mistakes. Parenting is a giant bucket of fuck ups, that we learn from each day. What you are doing is not wrong, you are learning. Your child screaming because you poured milk on their cereal instead of yoghurt, is something that happens to everyone. A lot of us all yell at our kids. A lot of us swear in front of our kids. Don’t try and be perfect as a parent: bad shit happens during the day, but it’s never the end of the world.
5. Let The Other Half Take A Turn
If you’re fortunate enough to be in a relationship, then let the other half take a turn. Get them to take the kids grocery shopping on the weekend, to give you a break. You don’t have to do EVERYTHING together as a family. I often find because I am at home with the kids ALL week, it’s nice for them to spend time with my husband on the weekend. Or if that’s too much, simply ask your partner to put the kids to bed, or give the kids a bath. Just small things to let you have a moment where you can breathe.
6. Few Extra Minutes
A few extra minutes sitting on the toilet can do wonders for you. That might sound ridiculous, but I do it all the time. Take your phone in there, check your Facebook; or even take a book in there to read for a few minutes. ALWAYS remember to lock the door though …
7. Go For A Walk
I’m always reluctant to write this because I hate exercise, but I do know how beneficial it is for EVERYONE to take a walk. Even if your kids are toddlers and don’t need a pram anymore; grab their hands and take a slow walk down the road. The fresh air will do EVERYONE good. Just because you’re not pounding the streets with your heart rate elevated, doesn’t mean it’s not good for you. One of my fondest memories growing up, is going for a walk down the road with my Gran. We’d stop at every single flower and talk about it. Simple things are good for the soul.
Looking after yourself can be hard, as can taking time for yourself; but as I said above, it is important. You might not have the time, or money, to go out and do all of the amazing things we dream of as parents; but you can work around it.
Remembering that you are a person underneath the parenting cloak is really important. When you take the moment to breathe, it allows you to be the best parent you can for your children ❤
What small things do you do to take time for yourself?
Time To Yourself: A Guide For Busy Parents