Becoming a parent is overwhelming. But in enjoying parenthood, learning how to set aside some “me” time is just as crucial as spending time with your child.
Your toddler is in a mess, your house is in a mess, and you’re in a mess. Sometimes you soldier on, but there are days when it’s just too much.
And that’s okay. Having to be responsible for your child’s every move is stressful especially when they just don’t listen.
In fact, you’re not alone. More than half of all working parents find it difficult to balance family and work responsibilities.
So, don’t feel guilty about taking some “me” time for yourself. Here are some ways to maintain some balance in your life
Making Time for “Me” Time
Honestly, it’s hard to even have time for yourself when you just don’t have any time. Just like budgeting, think about everything you have to do each day and work out what’s necessary and what’s not. For tedious tasks, are there ways to do it more efficiently? Set a timer or keep a clock nearby so you know when you have to move on to something else.
Similarly, identify what is causing you the most stress, and make it a priority to change or remove it.
“Me” Time: means it’s about “Me”
That’s right. Take some time and put yourself at the top of the priority list for once. You’re a person with your own wants and needs. Plan out some goals of your own that don’t just revolve around your child and set aside time to work towards those goals. Make it a priority to work on them, and not just something that can be chucked aside until your child’s all grown up and living their own life
When you find that you can’t cope with all that you have to do, just remember all those leadership quotes and delegate! Not even Superman could do everything – the Justice League was there to help. The next time your plate is full, call in reinforcements. Can someone else in the house lend a helping hand? Don’t be afraid to call a friend or family member for support, or even hire a babysitter. With some help, you might even get an extra hour of rest, and every little bit counts!
Remember to keep your priorities straight. Kids have a thousand and one requests each day, so letting them wait for a few minutes before attending to a silly request is fine!
The Best Ways to Spend “Me” Time
Don’t Take the Cookie from the Cookie Jar
Just one cookie won’t hurt, right? You’re having a bad day, so you deserve that cookie. And “just one” turns into “just two” and before you know it you’ve tumbled down the slippery slope faster than your child can say “Jack and Jill”.
The nicest tasting foods are often the unhealthiest ones and making that your crutch when dealing with stress is unhealthy and will only cause you more stress in the long run. Unless you have the self-control to just have one, put eating it at the back of your mind.
Instead, try another activity instead. Go brush your teeth or throw something minty into your mouth. The sensation may distract you from the hunger, and a few minutes of distraction may be all you need to forget about wanting to eat. Really turn your life around by going for a run instead! If you want to eat, then you should be willing to work for it!
Here’s some food for thought: a study by Carnegie Mellon University showed that you can fool yourself out of a craving by simply imagining eating the cookie instead of actually doing it! 2 So thinking about eating actually doesn’t make you hungrier!
Mad Money or Money Mad?
They say money can’t give us happiness, but it sure can give us problems. If your finances are stressing you out and robbing you of relaxation time, it might be a time to take a step back and review your spending habits.
Retail therapy can be enticing, especially when there are online sales and those items on your wish list just went on sale…. but when your budget is tight, close the page and resist the temptation to log back in again. There are better ways to de-stress that don’t involve spending a ton of money.
Along the same line, review your monthly spending and find out what’s necessary and what’s not. This applies not only to you but your kids too! Children should have everything they need, but not everything they want. There are certain things that your child can live without, and you must be willing to be strict about that. Remember that you’re the adult here!
With reduced unnecessary spending, you’re likely to spend fewer waking hours fretting over your finances, and more on actually enjoying the free time you have. Not sure how else to spend your time? Organize a gathering with friends for a potluck or find a fellow parent and offer to take turns babysitting. This saves money on hiring a sitter and gives you some much-needed alone time as well!
A messy house is never a relaxing place. And by living in a messy house, we get even more stressed when it gets difficult to find items. Unnecessary time spent trying to locate items is not only stressful but takes away our precious time.
While we understand that decluttering may cause more stress right now, let’s try to focus on the long-term benefits it will bring. The couple of hours of stress that comes with decluttering is in exchange for the few minutes you’ll save every single day in the future. This might not sound like much, but you’ll begin to appreciate this new convenience when you’re frantically trying to find your keys, while your children are badgering you to find their shoes.
Furthermore, we all know that we (and our kids!) have things we don’t really need, so why not just throw them out or donate it to a good cause? It can be quite therapeutic to see your house getting cleared up too!
Most parents get just 32 minutes of “me” time every day, and it’s just not enough.3 Use these tips to get more rest, so you can be a happier, healthier parent. Remember that parents everywhere go through the same struggles that you do, no matter how bad your day might get. You’ll never escape crying and all the messes, but sometimes a half an hour break is all you need to recharge.
Have some tips and tricks of your own to get some time for yourself as a parent? What are some ways that you relax? Share them in the comments below!
Pew Research Center, No. “How Working Parents Share Parenting and Household Responsibilities.” Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project, Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project, 20 Jan. 2017, www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/11/04/raising-kids-and-running-a-household-how-working-parents-share-the-load/.
Raube, Shilo, and Carey Morewedge. “Dec. 9: Thought for Food: New CMU Research Shows Imagining Food Consumption Reduces Actual Consumption.” Dec. 9: Thought for Food: New CMU Research Shows Imagining Food Consumption Reduces Actual Consumption, Carnegie Mellon University, 10 Dec. 2010, www.cmu.edu/news/archive/2010/December/dec9_thoughtforfood.shtml.
Schmall , Tyler. “Parents Have 32 Minutes of Me-Time Every Day, Says Depressing Study.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 3 Oct. 2018, www.foxnews.com/family/parents-have-32-minutes-of-me-time-every-day-says-depressing-study.