Mom Time — No Guilt Allowed!

Copyright 2006 Karen Fusco

Something happens when you have a child. Suddenly time seems to shrink faster than a new pair of jeans in the dryer. Leisure time becomes a distant dream, and if you are lucky enough to have a few minutes a day to yourself, you feel guilty.

The first order of business is to do away with feeling guilty for wanting and needing some time to and for yourself. Realize that if you don’t take time to recharge and refresh your energy, you’ll be useless to everyone. You aren’t being self-indulgent (and there’s nothing wrong with a little self-indulgence once in awhile), you’re ensuring you have the energy and enthusiasm you need to be a great mom. Remember, it’s more about the quality of time you spend with your family, not just the quantity.

Now that you’ve gotten the guilt behind you (and yes, that’s where it belongs, so put it there and leave it, please), it’s time to think about some creative ways to make time for yourself. Again, keep in mind that just a few minutes a day are usually enough to energize you—quality over quantity is what’s important for mom time too.

One way you can find a few minutes for yourself is to get up before your children do. Have a cup of coffee, take a long shower, write in your journal, or meditate.

Another way you can squeeze a few minutes a day in for yourself is to do the opposite. Rather than falling into bed as soon as the children are tucked in, take a long bubble bath. Fifteen minutes in a hot tub of water can be as effective for stress relief as an hour of exercise. Given the choice between a soak in the tub and a workout session, I personally would choose the soak any day of the week!

If you’re a mom who works outside the home (as well as inside!), use those lunch hours for you. Pack a lunch and a good book, and head for a park near the office. Or take a walk around the block. A change of scene alone can make you feel so much better—and allow you to go back to your work and family responsibilities refreshed and invigorated.

Plan and schedule a mom time out! Put everyone on notice that you’re going to go to a movie or out shopping—alone. Then stick to your plan, no matter how much whining goes on. Your family will survive a couple of hours without you. Plus, they may just appreciate you more when you get back. After all, dads usually can’t find those all-important socks or blankets or make cheese toast like moms. Your family will look at you with more appreciation and respect when you get back.

What about scheduling a play date—for yourself! You do it all the time for your kids, and you know they’re happier when they’ve had some time to spend with their friends. Well, you’re the same way! So, call up your best girlfriends and make plans for a dinner out or to see a movie together. Your friends are probably as eager for some time away from the families as you are. They’ll thank you for coming up with the idea, trust me.

Finally, manicures, pedicures, facials, massages and spa trips are all great ways to have some mom time. Can’t afford to have these done professionally? Then gather up your nail polishes and nail files and sponges and hand massagers, etc., and head for the bathroom. Tell Dad he’s on duty, and just go! Lock the door and stick the earplugs to an iPod in your ears if you have to, but don’t leave that room until YOU are good and ready. Everyone will survive, I promise.