How to Take Time for Yourself as a Working Mom
When you’re a working mom, your time is stretched pretty thin. Read on to learn how to take time for yourself as a working mom.
Being a mom naturally means it’s difficult to take time for yourself. Mothers all over the world know this and they also hear from their doctor, friends, and spouse that they should be finding time to focus on themselves. That’s easier said than done, however.
Research shows that moms get less leisure time than anyone in the household, fathers included. That same research finds that mothers also spend much more time over the course of an average week multitasking, which drains energy and increases stress.
Moms need that alone time just as much as anyone, if not more. When you spend time on your own, you are able to recharge by focusing on things you enjoy without anyone needing your attention. It’s imperative that moms do this for themselves. But where to start?
Here’s how to find that time when it’s most needed.
Start a Time Journal
As a working mom, you might think there’s just no extra time to take. The truth is that if you spend some time tracking it, you could find some pockets in there for yourself.
Spend a week writing down each of your tasks and how long they take. Make sure you include everything from packing lunches to taking a shower.
After a week, you should be able to see where you’re wasting time or where you can cut back on certain activities or delegate them to other family members.
Put it on the Calendar
Finding time for yourself means scheduling it. Just as you schedule all of your children’s activities and events, add your own to the calendar. It could be anything from taking 15 minutes to read alone at the end of the day or an entire afternoon to meet your friends for drinks or manicures.
The simple act of adding your alone time to the family calendar improves the odds that you’ll make it a priority when it comes.
Take Time for Yourself by Starting Small
Changing your routine probably won’t happen overnight so don’t put that pressure on yourself. Instead, start small by adding just five minutes of alone time to your schedule. Read an article in a magazine or pluck your eyebrows with the bathroom door locked.
As you build self-care into your routine, it will become more of a habit and you’ll naturally find more opportunities to make it a priority, whether it’s for five minutes or five hours.
Create a Support Network
As a working mother, you’re going to need some help. As they say — it takes a village to raise a child. No matter how dedicated you are or how much you love your children, you simply can’t do it all and you can’t do it alone.
- Enlist the help of your spouse, parents, close friends, or a reputable childcare provider.
- Ask your husband to be on bath and bedtime duty so you can take a walk or go to the gym.
- Let the kids spend the weekend mornings with their grandparents so you can have brunch with a friend or your spouse.
- Hire a sitter in the evening so you can hit the library, have drinks with friends or go shopping.
Without this help, you may never get a spare moment to yourself so take advantage of the other people who want to spend time with your children.
Get Up Earlier
You might be surprised that adding just 15 to 30 minutes in the morning you can spend by yourself changes your entire day. Take that time to do a quick yoga routine, read your book, or sip some coffee alone.
If you’re not excited about setting the alarm earlier, perhaps you stay up a few minutes later than everyone else at night to take some much needed me time.
Maximize Your Wait Times
You want to take time for yourself, but you spend so much time shuttling kids around and then waiting for them. Who has the time? Turns out you should be maximizing that wait time.
Read a book or write in your journal while you wait for soccer practice to let out. Catch up on your favorite podcast while you’re standing in line at the grocery store. Read here to find the best headphones for this. Or knit your latest creation while you’re in the school pickup line.
These tiny little pockets of time add up and make you a happier mama.
Take a Lunch Break
If you work in an environment that allows for a 30-minute lunch break, take it. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to get just one more thing done.
Skipping your breaks actually lowers productivity and increases stress. Taking time to eat your lunch alone or with a close friend can actually make you better at your job, allowing you to get it all done before you go home, even with a break. Your lunch break is also an ideal time to read your favorite book or take a power nap in the car.
Stop Aiming for Perfection
The happiest moms aren’t the ones with spotless houses and kids perfectly dressed in the latest styles. Nope. The happiest moms are the ones who find the right balance of time spent on their kids and time spent on themselves.
It’s important to give up on the idea of perfection. It simply won’t happen with kids in the house. Instead of spending every waking moment on chores after the kids go to bed, sit down and binge-watch your favorite Netflix show or read that new novel that’s been sitting unopened on your nightstand for three weeks. Your kids won’t remember a clean house, but they will remember a blissed-out mom.
You need to take time for yourself. It may take some getting used to, but the results are going to be so profound that you’ll never want to give it up. Listen to the experts and make the most of that much needed me time, whether you have a job outside the home or not.
Check out the Nighthelper website and blog for more information on being the best parent you can be.