Recently, on Instagram, I posted about making time for yourself and self-care, and an overwhelming amount of my followers said that their spouse has time alone but not them. It’s crucial that you figure how how to make time for yourself as a mother, even if it feels impossible.
I’ve been in your shoes.
You have kids needing help and attention. Your partner works all the time and wants time with friends as well. You might work outside of the home or work at home.
At first, you have great intentions to make time for yourself, but, by the end of the day, those plans fall to pieces. You didn’t even complete your to-do list; how are you going to find time for yourself when you didn’t have time to unload the dishwasher?
Priorities – that’s one place you need to start. Let’s look at ways to make time for yourself and why it’s so vital.
Yes, You Really Need to Make Time for Yourself
When everyone needs you, it’s hard to find time to go to the bathroom alone; finding time to go get drinks with friends seems impossible. It isn’t, and no one should think so.
Before you became a mother, you were an individual with hobbies, passions, interests, and a social life. Maintaining all of that when you have kids is more complicated, but it’s not impossible. It means that you have to be more intentional with your days and hours, but the time is there.
For awhile, I rarely made time for myself, but as I worked through my struggle with postpartum depression, I began to realize the importance of self-care and prioritizing my mental health along with the kids’ health. I remember thinking that it wasn’t really important to make time for myself; it’s a lie that society tells us. Moms feel that we need to devote all of our hours to our family, but that ends up hurting us and, therefore, hurting our kids.
Why is it important to make time for yourself? Here’s a few good reason.
1. You’re a Person
If you had to describe yourself right now, what is the first word that you would use?
I bet you would say – Mother.
That’s okay; our kids are a huge part of our lives, and when we spend all day every day with our kids, they become part of our identity as well. However, this is dangerous and damaging to our persons. Mama, you are a person who is separate from your kids, and it’s okay to maintain your personality and individualism as a mother.
When your kids have children, do you believe they should forego everything else? I bet not. You want them to be happy, follow their passions, and live a happy life.
Do the same for yourself. Being a mother is just part of who you are. You might be a lover of good books, a gardener, an artist, a baker, a lover of horror movies, or anything else. The sky is truly the limit, and you’re a bit of everything. A mother is part of who you are, but it’s not the only part of you.
2. Fostering Hobbies is Important
Hobbies are an important part of our individualism, even as a mother. Stay at home mothers need hobbies; if you try to spend all day cleaning and changing diapers, you’ll eventually go insane.
If you don’t have a hobby right now, find out. Pick up a gardening book, find a local crocheting class, find a bread baking recipe, or sign up for a yoga class. It’s important that you take the time to find things that interest you because you need to do other things with your time than care for your kids.
3. It Makes You Happier
I’m sure you’ve heard people say that you can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s true – to an extent. You can pour from an empty cup, but you’ll end up drained and miserable.
I like the saying “happy mom, happy family.” When you’re happy, your family sees that, especially your kids. They want a happy mom who isn’t stressed. When you’re happy, you’re more likely to engage in activities with your kids and have more patience for their wildness.
Your spouse sees it too. Everyone wants their partner to be happy; I’m sure you feel that way about your spouse. When you’re happy, they’re happy for you, and it creates a better atmosphere in your relationship.
Let’s not forget that self-care is vital for your mental health. Taking care of yourself directly ties into your mental health wellness.
4. You Set Good Examples for Your Kids
Here is one of the best reasons that you need to make time for yourself as a mom – your kids see this example.
Kids are little sponges, and they absorb so much of what they see. If you never take time to sit down and do something you enjoy, your kids see that, and it’s something they’ll remember as they get older.
This is one reason why I make time to pick up a book and read it regularly, even if it’s only a few pages. I want my kids to enjoy reading, but I cannot expect them to pick up a book if I never do. So, I set the example for them.
This goes for almost everything in life; we have to be their good examples. I want my kids to find passions and things that make their heart happy, so I do it for them as well. For example, I started a garden, and we grow vegetables. It’s not huge, but it’s a fun hobby that we all now enjoy.
7 Ways to Make Time for Yourself as a Mom
You’re probably thinking – “Okay, Brittany, that’s great, but how do I really make time for this? I barely have time to shower.”
I know this feeling too well, so I put together some tips to help you make time for yourself as a mom. These are tips I tried and that actually helped make it happen for me!
1. Make it a Priority
The first thing that you need to do to make time for yourself is to make yourself a priority. I think this is one of the hardest things that moms have to do; they prioritize sweeping the floors over giving time to themselves.
Sweeping the floors isn’t a bad thing; it’s a needed task, but you have to believe that you are a priority as well. It might be hard to ignore the things that need to be completed, but your self-care is just as important as household tasks.
2. Put It in Your Schedule
I suggest that moms have a schedule; you might have a stay-at-home mom schedule or a schedule that works around your work. Make sure you put self-care time on your schedule!
When you put something on your schedule, you’re more likely to go through with it. I put time for myself to exercise on my schedule as a standard self-care activity, but I also pencil in date nights with my spouse and time out with my friends. I suggest having a family calendar as well so your partner knows not to make plans when you’ll be gone with your friends.
3. Teach Your Kids – It’s Okay!
Something that I notice is that moms seem to be afraid to tell their kids they’re having time to themselves, but teaching our kids that mom needs alone time is okay. It helps your kids learn to respect the needs of others, and if you need a few moments alone, kids can give their mother that, depending on their age.
Now, you shouldn’t expect that from your two-year-old; you’ll end up with a destroyed home if you do. However, a four or five-year-old child can watch a TV show and know that mom is reading a book. Don’t feel guilty; setting realistic expectations for our kids is a good thing for everyone.
For example, if you want to read a chapter of your new book, turn a show on your child loves, give him a snack, and a drink. Then, tell him that mommy is going to read for X minutes. If you have a timer, that’s even better. When the timer goes off, mom will finish reading.
Kids adjust quickly, and before long, it will be no big deal that mom reads a book while he watches an episode of his favorite cartoon.
4. Take Advantage of Nighttime
Nighttime is when I get a lot of self-care completed, but it’s dangerous. Before long, I’m awake for hours and feel exhausted in the morning.
Once your kids go to sleep, schedule time for yourself. That might be zoning out to a favorite show, reading a book, crocheting, or something else that you enjoy.
I know that when you have nursing babies, it can be hard, especially if they won’t sleep without you. I lay my infants beside me and read a book, or I read a book while nursing. Those months are hard, but they don’t last forever. Try your best to find ways to work around them.
5. Leave The Kids with Your Partner
I know some moms who feel guilty leaving their kids with their partner – DON’T! Dads can take care of kids just as well as mothers, and they should. It’s good for the kids to see dad taking care of them.
I often see mothers saying that their spouse gets time alone but doesn’t give them time to themselves. That’s not fair, and you shouldn’t accept that. You don’t have to ask permission to leave without your kids. Tell your spouse that you’re going out with friends and leave. Everyone will be okay.
6. Find Sitters – If Needed
Sometimes, sitters are a necessity, especially if your spouse works out of town or rarely has days off from work. Having family nearby helps you make time for yourself, but if it’s in your budget, find a babysitter. There is nothing wrong with hiring a babysitter so that you can go out with friends for a few hours.
7. Swap Sitting with Friends
Find a few friends who are willing to swap babysitting services with you. You might watch their kids one week, and then, they watch yours. If anyone understands your need for self-care and time to yourself, it’s a mom. We identify with this struggle, so finding a mom friend who helps you get this time is invaluable.
Take Care of Yourself
Mama, you are as important as your kids; you have to value yourself and find time for important self-care activities. Whether you simply need 5 minutes of silence and want to focus on a self-care goal, finding ways to make time for yourself is invaluable.
You deserve you time!