Turn Your Car Into a Bathtub:
5 Ways to Carve Out Time for Yourself
by Emily Chase Smith
Veggie Tales time = Mom time
Newsflash: Kids love videos. They’re going to watch videos and as you know, some of those videos have great messages. Engage in a bit of patience and forbearance and save the viewing for prime time. I have a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old at home, so I save video viewing for the baby’s nap time. When both kids are occupied, I have my hands and my brain free.
A nap by any other name smells as sweet
If your child has stopped taking the coveted nap, institute a reading/resting time. My 3-year-old doesn’t nap anymore, but she will “read” quietly on the couch for about 45 minutes. While she’s reading I sit next to her on the couch with my laptop and read or write. She knows that reading/resting time is for her to read quietly to herself, not for me to read to her (that’s "snuggle bunny" time). Note: sometimes reading/resting time turns into an impromptu nap, and that extra time is golden!
No more water!
Institute a firm bedtime. As parents, you get to decide when the day ends. It probably should not end after 2 hours of wild, running children fighting sleep with hyperactivity. Kids need sleep and you need a break. Not only does a firm bedtime give you time to yourself, it also gives you time with your husband or parenting partner. You know your kids are going to wake up at 6 am anyway; you might as well get some rest on the front end.
Ignore the frantic beeping
Stop for a moment and try to count the number of things in your house that contain computer chips. If you give up because you lose count, limit your search to your purse. I bet there are tons! Each of those electronics has you on a string. The phone rings, the timer goes off, the TV turns on of its own volition and you jump. Give yourself a break by saying, “you’re not the boss of me” to them all. Let them squawk away and count the reprieve as time out.
Turn your car into a bathtub
Not only do I have an infant and a 3-year-old, but I also have an 8-year-old that needs to be picked up from school each day. I try to arrive about half an hour early because I know that my kids are lulled to sleep by the rhythm of a car ride. While sitting in the car in front of school I read, play Sudoku or just lean my head against the headrest and close my eyes. It’s almost as relaxing as a nice warm bath (without the candles). I have also been known to park in front of the local Starbucks with my laptop to use the free Wi-Fi while my kids sleep in the backseat.
Yes, many of these methods to carve out time for yourself involve children sleeping — no one can say my kids are not well rested. The real key is to look at what’s already going on with a new eye, then tuning it to meet the needs of your whole family, including yourself.
Emily Chase Smith is a former attorney and now work-at-home mother of 3. She is the founder of www.MommyBrainOnline.com, a website, newsletter and weekly iTunes podcast encouraging mothers to continue to live their dreams and passions while raising children.