Moms, we spend all our time working, caring for kids and cleaning our homes. On evenings and weekends, we feel bad not spending time with the kids and devoting those hours to them. And we wonder how to make time for yourself for exercise or hobbies.
We hear how others—even those with kids—pursue hobbies and go out. We see photos of their outings on Facebook—and it doesn’t seem possible.
How to make time for yourself
Many of us have heard the common advice to have a life outside the kids but have no idea how to do just that. Your schedule may not allow any opportunities, and life seems like one big “blah” of a day. Maybe you’re wondering how to find time when you have a baby.
What are some tips on how to make time for yourself, even as a busy mom?
Making time for yourself alone
- Find a hobby you can do at home. So… maybe you were once an avid wine taster. Or a hiking fanatic. Or you’d hit the waves on your surfboard. As a mom, there’s not much opportunity for that. Consider finding or rekindling a hobby you enjoy that you can do at home instead. Maybe that’s playing a musical instrument, reading, or gardening. Adjust a hobby into something you can do at home, such as exercising instead of going to the gym like you used to.
- Use your lunch hour for fun and hobbies. Sit in a coffee shop for impromptu writing or journal writing. Other moms use that time to exercise or have lunch with friends and coworkers. Still others find a library to sit and read.
- Do fun things after the kids are asleep. The hours after 8pm are my ‘me’ hours. With the kids tucked in bed, I can blog (hi!), read, watch movies and hang out with my husband.
- Make the time to be with friends and loved ones. An 8:30pm dinner date with a friend seems exhausting. You know you’re going to get home late. You know your kids won’t sleep in the next morning. But friendships are important enough to mark your commitments on a calendar. This doesn’t mean it has to happen frequently, either. Once in a while hang outs are sometimes all we need or are able to do.
Making time for yourself with kids
- Do fun things with the kids. My family and I love downtime weekends with nothing to do but go to the farmers market and the park. We also use weekends for family fun. We visit family, go to the beach, hike, and check out seasonal events like pumpkin patches.
- Have play date with friends who have kids. Feel bad for stepping away from the kids to hang out with friends? Invite your friends and their kids for a play date! I love the dynamic of having play dates with friends of your own. There’s less awkwardness or getting-to-know-you shenanigans that sometimes come up in mommy groups.
- Incorporate kids into your life. But your life doesn’t have to be completely devoid of everything you used to enjoy before becoming a mom. You just need to learn how to accommodate kids. Walk around an easier trail with the kids instead of hiking in the canyons. Or visit your favorite museums, but just for an hour or two.
Establishing routines to make time for yourself
- Your home doesn’t have to be perfectly clean. For some, a clean home is their only sanity, and if that’s the case, then tend to your home. But don’t feel like you have to clean if having a life outside of kids is a priority for you. I’ve pretty much accepted that my home won’t be sparkling clean the way it used to be, and I’m okay with that. I’d rather not deal with the stress.
- Teach your kids to be more independent. Some kids rely on their parents for constant entertainment. Help your child play more independently by himself. This gives you the time to tend to tasks that would otherwise occupy your remaining free time.
- Age matters, too. Taking older kids around is much easier than doing the same with younger ones. Older kids are more independent, can last longer in the day and don’t need their parents as much. Trying to make time for yourself with a young infant is a difficult task that should ease up as the months go by. Especially if he breastfeeds, naps many times and doesn’t sleep through the night.
- Remember that life is different. To think that life can remain the same with kids in the picture is unrealistic. Life changes with kids. For many of us, becoming parents is the single biggest change we’ll face. Accept it, work with it, but remember that this is a new role you now have.
Here’s something I want to leave you with: you have to believe that you can make the time for yourself. Have you met busy people? They’re the ones who have so much to do, but all that extra work still leaves them just as busy as they started off. People get stuck with busyness. No time management tools, apps or motivation can get them out of their rut.
Being a mom is busy, I get it. But we can’t let ourselves believe that having no life is our lot for the rest of our years. It won’t be the same as not having kids, and it’ll change with time. But in the middle of a busy day, we can still catch a glimmer of joy and contentment, a bit of ‘me time’ even as a mom.
Get more tips on how to make time for yourself:
- What to Do when Your Baby Needs to Be Entertained Constantly
- The Biggest Reason Parents Should Have a Life Besides Kids
- Feeling Lonely? 13 Moms Share How to Make Friends
- The Surprising Factor that Gives You Work Life Balance
- How to Balance Parenthood with the Rest of Your Life
Tell me in the comments: What are your tips on how to make time for yourself?
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