My days have never been quite so full, or so exhausting. I could fill up the whole day with housework, errands and play dates. It is actually easier to let those things dominate the schedule, because their needs are so obvious. But as much as I truly love this mothering life (however challenging it is) I have my own needs, too. A lot of times, most of my needs don’t get met: more sleep, a shower, haircuts, flossing, just to name a few.
I’ve come to realize that there is a long list of things that will make me feel nourished and fulfilled if I get just a little time to do them each day. Lately, the main list contains (in no order):
- taking and editing photos
- talking with friends
- time with Scott
I am so glad that there is such a long list, because that means that I can switch off between them and keep things interesting. Plus, it’s more likely that I can grab time to do one of these things no matter where we are.
Here are some of the tricks I use to grab more time to do the things I love while making sure the kids have everything they need:
- My iPhone is a total game changer. I read book after book (we’ve had to rearrange the budget for this) on my Kindle app. I buy books on Amazon. When the kids are older, I will utilize the library a lot more to compensate, but when it’s so hard to get out with the kids (not to mention go somewhere quiet) this is a much better solution. Plus, I always have my book with me and can get a new one at any time. My WordPress app lets me write blogs and approve comments anywhere. I can save ideas for future posts in drafts when something comes to mind, and that makes it so much easier to keep things going. My Etsy app keeps me updated on orders and conversations and sends me alerts as they come in. (I haven’t been compensated or approached to endorse these apps, I just like them and use them often)
- Instead of the “clean as you go” philosophy, I do big sweeps at once. At the end of the day I will pick up when the kids are sleeping. I will do laundry and change the sheets on the same day. I use play dates to motivate me to do big wipe downs and sweep ups right beforehand. This way, when I am working or trying to fit in some relaxing time for myself, I’m not constantly distracted by trying to do the next little thing. If I’m going to draw or edit photos, or write a blog, I need some time to really dip into it and focus. So the house gets reaaaaaallllly messy, and then… pretty clean.
- I say no. Sometimes, for example if I know I am going to take the kids somewhere in an hour, I say no to playing with them for now. I will set them up with something that will buy me time if necessary. This way, later on, I can totally unplug at the park and give them my full attention. And yes please, cartoons.
- I find that it takes less time than I think to satisfy the kids’ need for attention. Sometimes a two minute conversation, direct eye contact and a big smile can make a huge difference. I try to tell Ben when I can stop what I am doing and turn my focus on him, and when I can’t (like diaper changes). I will sit down and play cars with him and after awhile he will forget about me. Then when I move on to my own activity, he will seek me out and try to get me to come back. I remind him that we just played together and we will play together again at such and such a time. “For now, you need to play by yourself. Do you want to color?” If he pitches a fit, I tend to ignore him and he eventually gets distracted by a toy or something shiny.
Trying to get anything done with the kids around is incredibly hard. I am constantly saying, “Oh, you are fine. Here, play with this.” Or just listening to them fuss for five minutes while I finish something. Or reading my book side by side with the monitor so that I can simultaneously tell Ben to get back in bed over the intercom. It’s juggling and dealing in blurry lines, and taking deep breaths. Right now, Ben is actually going down for a nap for the first time in three days, but no such luck with Baby Sister. She is tired, laying on the floor sort of half-whining. Probably trying to poop. The bottles aren’t made and the house is a mess and I need to pack for a trip, but I have time. Right now, this is what I need and taking the thirty seconds of half-quiet that it requires to type this last paragraph (ya I don’t write all this in one sitting) is worth it for me.
Sending you support and motivation to conquer your me time this week!Pin It