I’d love to tell you I am typing this in a nice, quiet and absolutely alone spot. But I’m not. My two year old insists on sitting on my lap and I can hear my two boys wrestling/fighting/playing in the next room. I’m about 20 seconds from my period and woke up with a migraine that won’t go away despite the medication I’ve thrown at it. I’m a mom with FIVE children and a wonderful husband. However, sometimes (and sometimes OFTEN) I just want to be ALONE. I want to have quiet to read, scrapbook, go on a walk or just breathe without someone around or touching me. As a mom, that most often isn’t an option.
So what is a mom who needs some alone time to do?
- Put the kids to bed early. This is a sanity saver for me and a marriage saver for my husband and I. My children range in age from 10-2 and they all go to bed at 8. Sometimes, depending on their attitudes or mine, they go to bed at 7:30. With the kids in bed at 8 I have some down time to date their dad or read a book without interruption. If you like putting your kids to bed later so you have more time with them, then pick one “early” night each week to carve a few hours of alone time.
- Get up early. I will admit to NOT doing this. My toddler can hear when my breathing changes from sleep to awake and seems to be up when I am. However, some moms can utilize this time to read, meditate, work out or do something they enjoy. Even 15 minutes early can make a huge mental difference.
- Schedule a time away. I know what it’s like to give 100% of yourself to your family. It’s exhausting physically and mentally and it can only last so long before we have a breakdown. No we won’t end up in the psychotic ward (though sometimes that sounds lovely) but we will lash out on our precious kids in a way we will later have #momguilt about. With a working husband or working a job ourselves it can feel impossible to find time for us to get away. However, if we book ourselves a break far enough in advance it usually works. Do you need a massage? I book mine 4 weeks out. Haircut? 6 weeks out. Both are things I NEED (hello, gray hair) and because it’s in our shared calendar it’s a time we can’t double book.
- STOP! It’s easy to push ourselves to the limit and schedule things for every minute of the day. We want our kids to experience everything or we want to do everything. When I notice that I am especially irritable and annoyed with my kids and spouse, I start to look at our schedules. Do we as individuals and as a family have margin in our lives? Here are some good posts to check out for more about margin: Why you need margin in your life (and how to get it) and The importance of having margin in your life.
- Turn on the television. Ok, if you are using t.v. everyday to distract your kids then you may need to cut back. However, if you are PMS-ing and need a time out from dealing with the kids, movie time it is. They won’t die and they will definitely be safer watching Disney than hearing you scream at them over spilled milk.
- Hide behind a locked door. This one may seem like a joke but I’m quite serious. Sometimes when I need a break, I lock the bathroom door will I shower and turn up the music as loud as it can go (because the kids aren’t deterred by a locked door they just bang and yell louder).
- Do something with the kids. What? I thought we were trying to get time alone? Sometimes in the middle of a day when there is no option for getting away but I am going to explode from #momming I sit on the couch with all my kids and involve them in something I love…reading a book out loud. I have gathered them all for a walk outside to the local gas station for ice cream. Everyone’s mood lifts when we do something fun together. On a rainy day recently, after dealing with kids and a migraine what I really wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep. Unfortunately it was only noon. My kids were begging to go outside and play in the rain but all I thought about was more mom work. However, I decided to throw on my own rain boots and play in the rain with them. Best. Decision. Ever. Not only did I show my kids that mom can be silly and have fun but I danced and played and laughed. Nothing cures the Crabby Mom Syndrome like laughter. Laugh. Dance. Be silly. Get wet.
The hardest part of finding time alone? Doing it. Making time for yourself in the midst of the daily grind. It is far easier for us to take two paths instead: 1. martyr (I must sacrifice myself on the alter of motherhood) or 2. guilt (I don’t deserve me time). Neither are healthy choices and no one will thank you for choosing them over some alone time. How will you carve some time out for yourself today? What will you do? Share in the comment section or over on our FB page!