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Finding time for you
January 25, 2012 9:31 am | by

We have been thinking a lot this week about leisure time. With the introduction of the bumGenius Freetime, one of our goals was to give parents back those few extra minutes a week that you might spend stuffing your pocket diapers. It may not be a ton of time, but as you well know, every minute you can save from laundry or housework can be invested in your family or even yourself.

Experienced moms will often shower new moms with the advice, “Don’t forget to make time for yourself!” I don’t know about you, but I struggled with how to do this without feeling completely selfish and guilty the entire time.
I believed these women, but I just was unsure how to make it work. I began slowly at first. At nap time, I would toss a load of laundry in the wash and sit down with a sudoku or crossword puzzle. Sure, it wasn’t completely selfish, but I don’t believe it has to be. What I found was that when my time was up I had something that was completely mine and my little ones could not undo. Technically, they could grab my pencil and scribble all over it. Which they did, on more than one occasion, but you get the idea. It wasn’t another task like dishes, laundry or diaper changes that would have to be repeated again in a few hours. I didn’t do it every day, but I tried to carve out at least two 15 minute sessions a week. It was amazing how that little bit of me time changed my outlook on my dreary, wintery, stuck at home with three under two years days.

As my children grew older, slept longer and went to bed at a regular time, I began to expand my “me time”. I traded my puzzles for projects that took a bit longer like knitting or crochet. I watched online videos to learn the skills. I chose simple projects like washcloths or coffee cozies that would bring me satisfaction quickly and hide my rookie mistakes. Again, I was surprised how finishing a simple project empowered me and changed my attitude. As my skills progressed, so did my courage. I began to knit and crochet while my children were still awake and toddling around. All the while, they watched and asked questions.
It was not the easiest thing, but I began to realize something significant. Not only was I giving myself the gifts of leisure and new skills, I was teaching my children lessons as they watched. They would watch how I taught myself a new skill. They witnessed my frustrations and responses when things didn’t go as planned. They would rejoice with the beauty that unfolded before their eyes.
Now, as they grow older, we are beginning to share hobbies. I don’t knit and crochet as much as I used to, my new obsession is running. Together, we have engaging conversations about health, exercise, how muscles work and much more. My children ask to join me for runs, and occasionally I oblige. I want them to learn to take care of themselves while taking care of others, but I do occasionally say to them, “Not today, Mommy needs some alone time.”
Sometimes I say to my older children, “You seem to be having a rough day today. Do you need some alone time? What would you like to do for yourself for a few minutes?” When they complain, I am able to say to them, “Remember last week when I was having a rough morning? I went for a run and when I was done, I felt much better.” They reluctantly nod their heads and walk off with slumped shoulders to their ‘fun’. When they are finished, they often return with joy to report how much better they feel. It’s powerful to see how they are already learning how to self-correct bad attitudes with these tools I have modeled for them.
I am amazed at the wise women who encouraged me to take time for myself. I wonder if they had these types of experiences with their children. I wonder if the knew about all I would discover about myself and how to lead my family through the simple process of taking a few minutes for myself.
Now, I’m the woman who encourages harried moms to take a few moments for themselves. I rarely get the opportunity to explain why it’s so important as our children circle us with taps, cries and tattling. All I can to hope is that they’ll catch the wise, knowing look in my eye and take their first steps down that path to discover the same lessons I have. Their journey may look a bit different than mine, as each family has it’s own personality and priorities. They may not choose a physical break like I have, but rather a mental break with the children still close by.
How do you carve time out for yourself? What hobbies or passions do you enjoy during those few precious moments to yourself? How has taking care of yourself had a positive impact on your family? Share your stories with us!

About the Author

Heather is mom to four, born within 40 months (single, twins, single). She writes transparently about her chaotic household to encourage others through the twists and turns of parenting.



  • Dmoma said...
    January 28, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Usually I get me time when my husband takes our little one out by himself for an hour or two every other week or so. When they are out, I get to surf the web or just read. It feels good seeing that other moms are having similar experiences as I am. (not being able to take a lot of time for myself) By the time they get back, I am more calm and refocused which helps my patience with both of them.

  • Katie Lady said...
    January 28, 2012 at 8:44 am

    “Me time” to me, could mean all kinds of things for. I have to have time to myself that I look forward to doing my kinds of things. I enjoy a nice escape by reading a book and drinking tea. My husband and I also try to stick to a date night (when we hand over our little one to g-ma) at least once a week so that we can catch up with one another. Its a date to us even if we just go out for coffee.

    • C&D's Maman said...
      February 4, 2012 at 10:03 am

      This comment has been removed by the author.

    • C&D's Maman said...
      February 4, 2012 at 10:05 am

      You are so lucky to have someone willing to babysit once a week! Its a miracle if my mom sais yes once a month! Enjoy, not every one gets that pleasure!

  • Amy said...
    January 26, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I Really have trouble with getting me time. I have 4 kiddos and the last 2 are only 16 months apart (18 months & 2 months now) and we manage a campground, rentals, & a fishing/hunting store. We live on the grounds so I can never leave work. I have the kids 24/7 and homeschool the 2 oldest. I see it as an exchange & invest my time in them for now. If I do get any me time I love to sew and read. I have made cloth dipes(but find flips & econobum a better value. 😀 ), mei tai carriers, baby gear, stuff for my older kids, etc. I have been spending about 25 mins a day on the wii fit this past week & hope to continue that.

  • Cheerful Homemaker said...
    January 25, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Mama Time comes after G goes to sleep. It’s the only time each day I get to myself. When things get rough, I reach out to my husband. He occupies the baby while I go take a hot shower, nap, etc.

  • Pernilla said...
    January 25, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Ehm well, I let my husband do at least half the work at home ( diaper washing he does 95% at least, for example) so I get quite a lot of time on my own. I also go by tram to work so I have at least 1 hour every day for reading, knitting, listening to podcasts…. Works pretty well. Oh, and we don’t clean unless it’s really necessary…;)

  • Team Ford said...
    January 25, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I love cooking and baking. I hand my little boy over to my husband and whip up something fantastic!

  • Meredith said...
    January 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I have a hard time taking time for myself when I’m at home. I get distracted by all of the laundry, cleaning and many many things that are required to take care of 3 boys (8, 5, & 11m.) The way I get time to myself is by taking classes at the gym or working out on my own. Childcare is included & I leave my kids for an hour to exercise & have time to myself. It’s amazing what an hour of me time…just a few times a week does for my attitude! I feel better about myself & have more energy to accomplish some daily tasks at home! I’m not saying “all” 😉

  • Jenn said...
    January 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I use my “me time” to blog or catch up on other people’s blogs! I usually try to finish up whatever chores I can while he’s in the process of falling asleep, and then once I know he’s konked out, I get to kick back on the couch and just read…. so nice and relaxing.. 🙂

  • Caroline said...
    January 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I started a knitting group that meets every Monday. While I take my nursing 9 month old with me (as she’s come since she was in the womb!) It’s still an escape for me…it’s a nice thing to be able to meet together with other ladies who get it…and who aren’t aversed to picking up my 9 month old and passing her around through the evening!

  • Beth said...
    January 25, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I like to get a book or snack and sit in whatever room of my house is currently cleanest and just enjoy the view!

  • PamEla said...
    January 25, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I also crochet. It’s so relaxing to sit and crochet while watching the 10:00 news after the kids have gone to bed. But of course it has turned into a hobby centered around my kids. Just today I made a rainbow scarf for my son to appeal to his current Care Bears fascination 😉