Getting Me time without guilt used to be really hard for me. I’d feel guilty about leaving my kids, but also guilty about the resentment I felt if I didn’t get some alone time. It was definitely a lose/lose situation.
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Throughout my 6 years as a parent, I’ve discovered that in order to be a better mom, I need to be a better me. I have to take some of the focus off my kids and focus on myself.
I got up to the heaviest weight I’d ever been last May, and then I knew I had to do something about how I was taking care of myself. I needed to do a better job. I wasn’t happy with myself, I wasn’t healthy, and that wasn’t helping my kids either.
Here are the ways that I’ve found to get some Me Time without feeling guilty about it.
How I got Some Me Time
Join a Gym with Childcare
In September, I made one of the best choices I’ve made in a long time. Our family joined a gym. With childcare.
This was a really huge deal for us.
Not only have I not been a member of a gym since I was single, but my kids have never been to a childcare center. Since my twins were preemies, we were really limited with options of where they could go due to their immune systems. Now that they are older and their immune systems are better (and I’m less paranoid,) we have more freedom.
I took a tour of the gym, with the childcare being the first spot I visited. It looked safe, clean, and the staff was all very friendly. I signed us all up about 10 minutes later.
Since signing us up, I think we’ve been there a minimum of 2 times a week. I get to exercise ALONE, my twins get to play and socialize with other kids, and I don’t feel guilty about it at all. They are safe, having fun, and rarely give me a backward glance when I drop them off. I get me time, I’m getting healthy, and my kids are having fun. Win. Win. Win.
Ask for Help
Even though my husband is pretty tired when he gets home from work, I’m also tired from getting climbed on, fetching sippy cups of milk, and changing diapers. So, instead of just handing over the kids, and running out the door (which is what I really want to do!) I ask him if I can have a few minutes of alone time.
I also call my parents and my in-laws for help during the week. Sometimes, I just need to go to the grocery store by myself…or go anywhere by myself. I am super lucky that both sets of grandparents live fairly close.
No matter who you ask for help, you know your kids are going to be fine because they are with someone you trust.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have family nearby, my next suggestion is:
Hire a babysitter
We did this last summer, and it was a sanity saver. I found a girl that was home on break from school, and that was working for another twin mom. She charged a really great hourly rate and was amazing. We went over the numbers and decided we could afford 3 hours/3 days a week. Those mornings, I either closed my door and worked or went and ran errands by myself. My oldest was in summer school, so I was also able to drop him off and pick him up without dragging the twins along.
The twins loved having someone new to play with, who gave them their undivided attention for those 9 hours a week.
It was definitely the best money I’ve spent.
Find a Hobby
Remember those things you loved to do before having kids? Maybe it was reading a book or something creative like painting? For me, I used to love to dance. I danced with a local Modern Dance Company and rehearsed at least twice a week.
When I had kids, my whole focus was on them. I didn’t dance or even see a dance performance in almost 6 years.
I really missed that part of my life, so I found an adult ballet class once a week. It’s been amazing.
I get out of the house for an hour at night, I get to move my body, and I get to release some of my creative energy. It brings me back to the person I was before I was a mom. Being a mom is wonderful, but it’s only a part of who I am.
Find some work or volunteer
Another great way to explore a different part of yourself is by doing some work, either for pay or volunteering. Many stay at home moms, me included, like to get some outside validation. It’s hard work staying at home with your kids, but they don’t realize they need to tell you good job. It’s also hard when the only conversations you have are with the Man in the Yellow Hat.
Even though I don’t make a ton of money, I’ve found that blogging gives me an outlet and a way to connect with other adults. I also volunteer with the March of Dimes and the Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation.
A part-time job on nights or weekends can be really great. I worked with my husband’s real estate firm doing office work about a year after I’d had my first baby. We got a little extra money for the family, and I felt more productive.
No matter what you do, just remember you need to love yourself just as much as you love your family. No guilt required.