5 Steps To Creating “Me” Time Despite All The Kids
What most people don’t realize is that I have A LOT more time to spare than they realize. I find it rather comical and tongue-biting when people naturally respond, “Wow, you’re a busy mom – you’ve got your hands full – they keep you busy don’t they?” Au contraire, my friend, I don’t feel “busy” at all. We have our daily tasks to do in order to keep everyone fed, the baby changed, and everyone in bed when we want them there. If that’s “busy,” well, I simply call it living and I’ll share with you 5 steps that I take in order to get “me” time without feeling busy or overwhelmed with a “To Do” List.
1. First things first – Mean What I Say, Say What I Mean
I don’t like disappointment. There are times I felt extremely disappointed as a child because someone would say something to me (and I figured they meant it) and yet, they would not follow through. It baffled me as a child that people didn’t do what they said they would do. It was so heartbreaking that I vowed that if I said something, I would certainly stay true to my word. Well, I’m human, and that didn’t always happen. However, I was adamant about owning up to my word and acknowledging my shortcomings.
Now as a mother myself and looking into the innocent (well, most of the time anyway) eyes of my child, I wanted to be true and honest with them.
My famous last words when I haven’t fully made a decision about something are: “We’ll see.” Yes, it may sound like a cop-out for a maybe or I’ll think about it, but it works for me and my children and it honestly can go either way.
It also means that I don’t threaten. If I say we will go to the park after lunch, that’s what we’ll do. If I say you will not have candy when we get home because they were being sassy at the store, they KNOW they don’t get any. I said it; I meant it. This takes away the arguments, the bickering, and the indecisiveness of thinking, “oh gee, I was too hard on them, maybe they should get one or two pieces….”
Um, no. I said it; I meant it. Even if I do feel sorry for the little guy and want to revoke my decision, I rarely do. Unless I was bat-crazy emotional and losing my shit (my groom usually lets me know), I’ll apologize and explain to them my change of heart.
2. Have Boundaries
Now that you’re saying exactly what you mean, you’ve GOT to draw the line with your children. No emotional outbursts needed. For example, during our school year, we’ll get up at 6:30 am. I love my sleep. I thrive when I get to sleep. I don’t get sick when I sleep, and I’m a MUCH more loving mother when I have slept well! I tell my children that mom is “done”, “checked out”, and “no longer in service” after 9 pm. If they can see the clock on the stove, they start telling time. Unless it’s a dire emergency, they can go to an older sibling, dad (if he’s still awake), or to bed. I may have to repeat myself 4 days out of the week (usually just to the 8 and 6-year-old), however, all I have to say is it’s after 9 pm and they immediately know what I mean; they apologize and say a quick good night.
I thoroughly explain why I need to sleep and not to be disturbed – I need to function and they really don’t want a sleep-deprived momma nitpicking at every little thing.
Now, I’ve established my groom time or simply ‘me time’ till about 10 pm when it’s lights out.
3. Ask/Tell Them
At the start of each day, we have ‘family meetings’. It’s a relaxed time during the morning after everyone has had their morning breakfast blend and they are still waking up. We ask each other how they slept, if they are feeling well, or any crazy dreams they want to share (I bet you can imagine the crazy dreams these little people dream!).
During this time, I explicitly explain what I have going on. I ask each of the kids if they have anything going on that they need my undivided attention with. Sometimes the 17-year old will chime in with a request or the 8-year-old wanting a special parent-building-project time.
This is when we go over the day’s schedule (and we have a family schedule on our phones). Once all that is laid out, the kids know when to leave me be and when I’m available.
Plenty of time, each and every day! They enjoy their space, our space together, and my space alone.
4. Give Them What They Need
Recall the 8-year-old building-projects-bonding time? Yeah, he needs that. He doesn’t need it every day, so we’ll do a project every couple of weeks or so, just him and one of us. If I expect to “get” something from my family – I, too, will “give”. None of us humans can thrive by constantly taking or by constantly giving. However, just pay attention. I pay attention to what lights them up, what brings out the “happy” in each of them and then simply give that to them.
My daughter needs a morning hug to start her day. My four-year-old needs morning mommy-lap time while she drinks her breakfast blend. My six year old needs me to just listen to her odd and silly dreams that she had while asking the most off-the-wall profound questions about life.
When they are filled up – it takes less effort and “asking” to get some “me” time.
As a mother, I believe it’s natural for us to give, give, give without thinking about what we need in order to continue giving. Which takes us to the next and most important point of “me time.”
5. Take “Me” Time
This may be a Duh-factor, but what’s the point of setting up this environment of “me time” if I actually don’t take it! I’ve been around other moms who have felt guilty for doing something for themselves, or giving so much that when they actually do have a moment to themselves, they’re too exhausted to enjoy it! Not for me!
I need to be rejuvenated. I need to be functional. I need to be alone to “recharge” as a human being. Sure, I can get all the sleep in the world and have massive amounts of energy, but if I don’t take time to be alone – my “me time” – I’m no good to anyone. Call me an introvert, but it’s my personal way to recharge and do what I do best – which is live my life with these amazing people I get to call family. I want to be my best, so it’s easy to unselfishly claim my time, enjoy it, and leave the moment refreshed, reenergized, and not the least bit guilty for taking it.
And that’s, how I take “me time” as a mom of 9. How do you take “me time”, whether you have 1 and you’re done, or going for #10 in your own private den?
Photo Credits: AndiL.
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