Stealing Mom-Time: 6 Crucial Tips Your Mother Forgot to Mention

 

Stealing Mom-Time: 6 Crucial Tips That Your Mother Forgot To Mention - http://www.incredibleinfant.com

It’s not really your mother’s fault, you know.

She didn’t mean to overlook these tips.

How could she know how crazy life would be in the 21st century?  With all these gadgets and gizmos, you’d think the pace of life would simmer down a little.

But no.  We’re all running around like crazy minions without a master.

And don’t forget the Sanctimommies.  

Those bossy-pants moms who always have “a word of advice” that really just is a brag fest of what a much better mother they are.  Their sharp criticisms send down an avalanche of guilt and shame that buries your fragile mom-esteem so deeply not even a St. Bernard can find it again.

Your mother never saw them heading your way.  Pushing you towards a perfection that frankly doesn’t exist.  

No, your mom couldn’t prepare you for all this.

So let me fill in the gap, so to speak, by going over six crucial Mom Time tips that she never thought to mention.

“Mom Time” isn’t a luxury for other moms.  It’s a necessity for ALL moms.

You included.

Don’t shake your head and sigh forlornly!  You can do this.  Here’s how.

#1: Ditch the Guilt

As a confessed introvert, I’ve had years to work through the guilt of taking “Me Time”.

  • Shouldn’t I be doing {insert activity with kids} instead?
  • Shouldn’t I be folding laundry?
  • Shouldn’t I be finishing up that report for work?
  • Shouldn’t I be knitting scarves for the homeless?

Fact is, there is always something we should be doing.  

But here’s the good news:

If you feel guilty, that means you are unselfish enough to worry that you are being selfish.

This means you’re not as likely to throw your hands into the air and say “Screw it. I’m heading to Vegas”.

It’s one thing to take little Mom Time breaks, it’s quite another to toss all your responsibilities in the air and take a Mom Weekend on the fly.  (There’s a place for Mom Weekends, sure, but it should be something planned for and anticipated, not a spur-of-the-moment abandonment of your responsibilities.)

One of the Great Mothering Lies of this century is that you can do anything and everything you put your mind to.

Perhaps when you were 18 and had no dependents, but you’re older now.  You have offspring, and these little people will suck up your time like a Netflix series on Saturdays. 

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You are not designed to give give give 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 

It would be foolish to think you can drive a car to Alaska without filling up with gas.  You need to take time during the day, even if it’s only for 15-30 minutes, to fill up your jet pack for the rest of the day.

It’s not a matter of “pushing through”.  It’s a matter of “you are human and you have physical and emotional limitations”.

So make it a priority, and don’t feel guilty about it.  *finger wagging*

#2.  Have the Right Perspective

Repeat after me:  This is a season.

Babies grow up.    😥

Think for a second about all the things you do during the day that you won’t be doing in six years.   I’ll give you a few starters:

  • Eventually, you will buy your very last box of diapers.
  • A day will come when, instead of throwing his food on the floor, he will prepare his own snack, and then share it with you.
  • In the future, you will leave the house with nothing but your purse.  No diaper bag.  No stroller.  Just your purse. 

Let me testify something to you that you already know:  Having young kids is hard.  AMEN?  

As a mother who no longer has young kids, let me say it again:  Having young kids is hard.  As busy and hectic as my life can be, my children can all dress themselves, load the dishwasher, clean their rooms, and fold their clothes.

Those are all things I was doing for them a decade ago.  Things you’re doing right now.  Keep your chin up, friend.  This is temporary.  

#3.  Make Mom Time Routine

The third crucial tip for finding time for you is to make Mom Time a part of your regular daily or weekly routine.

Sure, it’s great to do something special for yourself once in a while.  The problem is “once in a while” can so easily slip into “never”.  So instead of thinking big, think small.  Little deposits every day (or week) will always benefit you more than one big yearly deposit.

The Art of Daily Quiet Crib Time

Quiet Crib Time is a smart idea on many levels:

  • For younger babies, it helps build confidence that the crib is a happy place – an essential thing for those looking to wean away from co-sleeping!
  • For babies over 15 months who are moving to a single afternoon nap, a morning rest time helps prevent overstimulation and make it easier to get him down for a nap later in the day.
  • It helps him get used to playing alone and entertaining himself – a great confidence booster for sensitive babies!

Many kids will be just fine if you put them in the crib with some fun toys to play with.  They’ll hardly know you’ve left!  For other, more sensitive babies, though, you may need to build up their confidence in smaller steps.  Try this:

  1. Put him inside his crib, with baby-safe toys and boardbooks for him to play with.
  2. Sit next to the crib for a few minutes while he plays, not interacting with him or making eye contact, then get up and move out of the room – but leave the door open.  If he starts fussing, come back in immediately and reassure him.
  3. Do this repeatedly, leaving him for longer periods to help him get used to playing alone in his crib.

Bring your baby monitor with you, so you can keep an eye on his “activities” and catch him before he tries taking pictures off the walls or test his crib escaping skills.

Make Your Baby's Naps Longer

The Weekly Mom Night

If you’re a working mom and daily quiet times aren’t an option, set up something with your spouse, grandparent, or friend to declare a night of the week as yours. 

On that night, give yourself special favors. Perhaps…

  • It’s always a crockpot night, so there’s no frantic dinner prep.  (eMeals has some delicious slow cooker meal plans!)
  • Dad does the put to bed routine, and you slip in there to breastfeed at the last minute.  (Or he gives a bottle.)
  • You get to take a long bath, paint your toenails and read a book.

The point is, it’s something you can look forward to every week.  A break that can serve as a pinnacle at the top of the mountain you’re striving for.

Of course, if you’re going to have a Mom Night, you should also plan a Dad Night… but that’s for another post. 🙂

#4. Teach Your Kids to Respect Your Time

How do you preserve your Mom Time when your kids are no longer “contained” in a crib?

When my kids were 3-4 years old, I invented something I called The Snack Fairy.

If my girls stayed in their rooms and played quietly until Quiet Time was over (I would set an alarm), they would find a surprise little basket outside their door filled with treats.  

They would come downstairs after Quiet Time all excited to show me what the Snack Fairy had left.

To add a little wonder and excitement, I would pretend that she was being sneaky:

“What’s this!!  I set out sticks and rocks for you to eat and that sneaky Snack Fairy changed them all into pretzels and grapes!  That little stinker!”  

The girls thought my being thwarted by a naughty little fairy was hilarious.  🙂

It also rewarded them for staying in their room until Quiet Time was over.  What good is Mom Time if you’re interrupted every 3 minutes?   Yeah, nothing.

#5.  Think Outside the Box

The most obvious Mom Time solutions usually are…

  • Watching TV
  • Interacting on social media
  • Reading books  (Check out the Overdrive app that lets you download free library books!)

Those are great, but sometimes you may not have 45 minutes to watch TV.  What if you only have 15 minutes or less?  

Out-of-the-Box Ideas:  60-Second Refreshers

If you can’t find 60 minutes, set aside 60 seconds.

  • Step outside, close your eyes, and listen to the world (without participating in it).
  • Literally count your blessings.
  • Listen to calming music while doing chores or traveling in the car.
  • Order yourself a special Starbucks.
  • Have a special “stash” of mom chocolates.  Give yourself an indulgence every day at the same time.
  • Schedule a massage or manicure next week.  The process of scheduling will give you a feeling of accomplishment, and now you have something to look forward to!

Out-of-the-Box Ideas:  Heather’s Fav’s

One of my absolute favorite ways to “check out” is to play puzzle games on my iPad.

It’s my little shameful secret I only tell my closest friends (so don’t tell anyone).  After all, playing games is supposed to be a kid thing, right??  🙂

Well, at the end of a hard day, I’m just done being an adult.  Here are a few of my favorite puzzle games:

  • The Room Series ~ Has a spooky vibe, but is addicting and very fun to figure out!
  • Lumino City ~ The graphics are amazing, story is cute, extremely unique experience.
  • Monument Valley ~ It’s a puzzle inside an M.C. Escher painting.
  • Tiny Thief ~ who doesn’t like being sneaky?  Made by the same people who created Angry Birds.

If you have some sweet puzzles or hidden object games you enjoy, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

#6. Strive for a Wobbly Balance

It’s our last most important tip.

As you’re trying to steal some time for yourself in the midst of your every day, strive for a wobbly balance, not a perfect score.

Some days or weeks are going to be more restful than others.

You’re looking for an uneasy truce between all your roles.  

Start by looking at your home responsibilities.  Are your chores realistic for your season of life?

  • Will you get the windows washed every week?  No.  
  • Can you make sure everyone has clean underwear?  Yes.
  • Will that underwear be nicely folded and in a drawer?  HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHA

The point is, when you’ve got young children to care for, some things are just going to have to fall off the list.

Give yourself a time limit.  Clean in 15-minute increments throughout the weekend.  (Wearing an awake baby is a huge help in keeping naptime to yourself and not doing chores!)

That’s doable.

By Monday morning you’ll feel like you had some rest time, and you’re family is ready to start the week with clean underwear.  Who cares if that underwear is in a laundry basket next to the dresser?  Let’s face it, that’s probably the closest it’s going to “being put away” until baby starts preschool. 

Do You Feel Guilty About Mom Time?

As wise as our mothers were, we live in a world they couldn’t predict.

Finding time to recharge your batteries when you have young kids is a real challenge.  (It always reminds me of the “Bathroom Break” image I used in this post.)

Do you struggle with taking Mom Time?  

What do you do that recharges you for the week ahead?



Meet Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor

Heather is the Chief Encouragement Officer here at Incredible Infant and has been writing and encouraging parents online since 2007.  She's certified in baby sleep coaching (yes, that's a real thing), has served as an Expert Parenting Panelist for numerous events, and has been a featured writer on blogs like DaveRamsey.com, SimpleKids.net, My Kid's Adventures, Cafe Mom, and others.  If it's 2am and you're desperate to read SOMETHING, click here for all her darkest secrets, including why she really shouldn't be allowed to blog.  


 

Stealing Mom-Time: 6 Crucial Tips That Your Mother Forgot To Mention - http://www.incredibleinfant.com

Comments

  1. Thank you for this post! I think we are taught to never be selfish…and so it is difficult to distinguish between that and healthy time to oneself. Hard to find the balance! Even though I only have one infant, I often wonder how to make it all work. I guess that is where grace, from God, towards others and for myself comes in.

     

    Thanks again.

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