Wake up. Take a shower. Wake up the kids. Make the beds. Make breakfast. Clean up kitchen. Drive kids to school. Go to work. Pick up kids from school. Drive kids to activities. Make dinner. Help with homework. Bathe kids. Pick up house. Put kids to bed. Collapse. Repeat.
Does this daily routine sound familiar? If it does, you must be a mom. Moms typically spend so much time attending to the needs of their families that they forget about taking care of their own needs. If you don't take even just a few minutes each day that are just for you, you are more likely to run out of gas when it comes to taking care of your family. Plus, if your kids recognize your personal time as important, they will respect it.
Leslie Keane, 42, mother of two girls ages 9 and 7, has made a point to have private time each day since her girls were babies. She says, "I remember a friend of mine telling me how she would get up at 5:30 each morning to read for an hour before her family woke up. At first I thought she was crazy but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. I started getting up a half hour before I needed to start my daily routine so I can have my tea and read the newspaper. Even now, if one of the girls wakes up early, they know not to disturb me. They call it 'Mommy's time.' "
It's important to allow yourself a chance to breathe so you can feel better about yourself. Whether it's through exercise, reading or simply listening to music, you need these outside forces to help anchor and stimulate you. It's amazing how much smarter you feel when you read the paper for just 10 minutes a day!
If you have a difficult time claiming private time, here are some suggestions and things to think about:
- Get up a little earlier or stay up a little later, if you must, to fit in your private time. If you are an early riser, set your alarm for a half hour before the house rises and enjoy a quiet cup of coffee. You will be amazed how quiet your house can be! Reversely, if you are a night owl, take a few minutes to do some stretches and deep breathing after the kids go to bed. It's not a good idea to cut into your sleep-8 hours is the recommended stretch needed to restore your body-so choices will have to be made to find this time.
- Are your kids going to bed too late? If your kids are under 8 and they are up running around after 8 or 8:30, then they are up too late. If your child is still napping and wired until 10pm, then maybe it's time to drop the nap! Otherwise, try starting the bed time routine a bit earlier and let your kids have their own quiet time for a half hour if they can't sleep right away. Let them listen to a CD or an audiobook or read their own book in bed while you do the same.
- If you work in an office, book 1/2 hour for yourself on your calendar as if it were a real meeting. This way the time is blocked off and won't get accidentally rescheduled.
- Stop bringing your Blackberry or iPhone to bed! Give yourself a cut off time of 7 or 8pm and let your mind be free of work and the mini screen for the night.
If a whole hour seems like too much, here are some things you can do for yourself that only take a few minutes each day but can recharge and refresh you:
- Read the newspaper or a magazine-even for 10-20 minutes a day
- Turn on the radio and groove out to a station you enjoy-you could really lose yourself in your old favorites
- Pick up a good book and read a few pages a day
- Call a friend or a relative-they'll be glad you did too!
- Meditate by closing your eyes and clearing your head.
- Do some stretches-these are very important in the morning before you start your day
- Walk around the block or to the corner-just a little air can make you feel better
- Take a bath before bed, the bubblier the better
- Say a prayer before bed and give thanks to the good things in life and think about the things you want to change
- Close your eyes and do some deep breathing-remind yourself that stress will pass
- Eat right and drink plenty of water-you need to take care of your body as well as your mind