Your family needs to understand that moms need to have a "time out" too. However, you have to grab those illusive chances before they are gone. Let’s look at some ways to make time for mom without starting a family mutiny.
Give Yourself a Break
Most women already know what the statistics show: We are still carrying most of the load. We juggle kids, work, home, volunteering and everything in between. Are we really enriching our lives by doing everything?
"When we are stressed, overwhelmed and tired, we have a shorter fuse. We become irritable, and it’s more difficult to handle the challenges of being with children," says Rachelle Disbennett-Lee, a personal life coach in Aurora, Colorado.
Logically, we know that running ourselves on empty isn't good for our health or our families. But the instinct to be a devoted mother means operating in overdrive. We want our children to be happy, and we desire to give them every possible life experience, even at the expense of our own needs. We feel guilty if our children don't have everything we think they should have.
"When we emerge from our solitude, we are stronger, more relaxed and calmer," says Disbennett-Lee. She adds that as much as we need a break, our children need one, too. When we establish "mommy time," we are in fact helping our children learn independence, socialization and hopefully, an appreciation of what we do for them. Even more importantly, we are demonstrating that taking care of ourselves is important.
One word of caution, "Me" time should not be scheduled at the sacrifice of others or occupy a large portion of your schedule. If you have been on a business trip for a week it's not fair to your family to schedule the entire weekend as "me" time.
Here are a few tips for moms on the run who are smart enough to get a little ‘me time.’ Make sure you pick up on the humorous side of the situation in this 8 Rule Plan.
1. Tell your family when you will be gone and for what reason. Be very clear - then go do it.
2. Unless someone is sick and there's no one else to watch them -- don't listen to reasons why you shouldn't go. The chores and Holiday projects can wait -- or they can begin them without you.
3. If you don't go -- don't blame it on your family.
4. If you are sick, let them know you plan to make up your lost "girlfriend time" at the next convenient opportunity.
5. Even though you love your family, try to get out by yourself (especially during the holidays).
6. Look around, are there more things in the house you could delegate to others? If so, do it. This will take more of the load off of you.
7. Try not to take a pager or phone. Everything will be there when you get back.
8. If you are going to be late let dad explain, in a positive way, that you will see them in the morning.
Schedule your ‘me time’ on the weekend when your husband or another family member can spend some quality time with your children. I tend to take my ’me time’ on the weekends, because I have more energy and it allows my husband to spend some one-on-one time with our daughter. She enjoys having daddy take her to the park, and I get a few hours away from the house to unwind. It’s amazing what just three hours will do!
If your children are younger, schedule your ‘me time’ around naps. If you really feel like you can’t leave the house when your children are awake, then schedule your ‘me time’ during their naps on the weekend. Take a two-hour break, go out and grab lunch, see a movie, or take a book to the local coffee shop and enjoy some quiet time.
Rally the Troops
To successfully plan a time out for yourself, get everyone in the family involved. Even the smallest hands can reduce the workload for Mom. Trade babysitting with another mom and use that time to rejuvenate. Give yourself a spa treatment with a hot bubble bath and pamper yourself with quality moisturizers. Indulge with "grown up" things like fine chocolates or a glass of wine with a good book. Connecting with other moms is also fulfilling and relaxing.
Something else to remember as we look for light at the end of the tunnel: This time with our children will go faster than we think. As our children get older, we will have more and more time to ourselves. If we use this time wisely and take care of ourselves, the whole family will reap the benefits.
Though it’s difficult to take time away from your children, it is definitely an important thing to do. Remember, an important part about being a mom is identifying when burnout is setting in and then going out and doing something about it. Oftentimes just a few hours away will be enough to help you renew and recharge; not only will you notice the difference, but your children will as well.
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