As a mom of three, I literally beg, borrow, and steal every quiet moment I get to myself. When one kid finally goes to sleep, it seems like someone else wakes up or needs me.
Working from home doesn’t help matters much. When I taught face-to-face at the high school, I got some “me” time. Granted, I squished that “me” time into my 25 minute lunch break or the five minutes between classes, but working outside of the home is very different from working inside the home — with kids.
These days, I depend on my boys to take naps or my daughter to be home from school and willing to play with her brothers. When I find those very small moments, I work my heart out to complete the most demanding and time-sensitive tasks. Then, once the kids are in bed, I work hard again to get caught up and sometimes — just sometimes — I get ahead.
I’ve learned a few things along the way about how to find time for myself.
- Get it done when you have the chance. Gone are the days of procrastination. Remember when you could put off that English paper until the night before it was due and then crank out an A+? If you’re like me, that just doesn’t really happen any more. Not that you aren’t talented enough. When you’re a parent, Murphy’s Law kicks in way more than we’d like. If we were to put something off like that, most likely we’d be graced with a sick or teething or just not-sleeping-in-general baby. So, take care of what you need to do as soon as you can. It’ll free up more time later.
- Make yourself stop. Setting time limits for work is a good thing. When you work a 9 to 5 “regular” job, you get to (for the most part) clock out and go home. When I was a face-to-face teacher, I did take work home with me. But, with the world of social media and online jobs, we could spend all day and night working. We have to make ourselves quit for the day. I have begun setting a time limit for myself. By 8:30 each night, I try to be offline as long as I don’t have any meetings.
- It’s okay to put something on the back burner. We have to prioritize. As parents, our children are job #1. Then, we have to look at what else we have on our to-do list and make some choices. Not everything must be done today, and some of it can certainly wait for tomorrow. It’s okay to let things go in order to have some time to yourself.
- Decide what you need to be relaxed. Whether it’s sitting and watching a TV show or reading the book you’ve had on your reading list since before baby was born, you deserve time to yourself. What is it that will give you the most relaxing time? Do it. For me, it’s watching one of my favorite shows without my computer or iPad or phone in my hands. Sometimes, it’s doing something crafty like making a sweet new hairbow for one of my friend’s daughters.
When my oldest was born, the most technological item I had was my desktop computer. In the few short years since she joined my life, I’ve added laptops, tablets, eReaders, and smart phones. It’s hard to remove ourselves from work if it’s readily available to us.
But we all deserve time to just be us — and to relax.
What tips do you have for finding time for yourself? Share!
Lydia Richmond is a high school English teacher with three kids, two dogs, a cat, and one hunky husband. She blogs over at Cluttered Genius where she writes about the joys of life that — sometimes — get a little cluttered. You can join her on Facebook or Twitter.
If you are the perfect mom with the patience of a saint this blog post is not for you.
For those who know me in real life you might think I hold my stuff together pretty well. And that is true, in public at least. I think we all have the face we wear around others and then the other, the true self that only surfaces when we are at home.For me, I don’t want anyone to think I’m a monster of a mother. And maybe monster is an exaggeration. Still, I don’t want anyone knowing that sometimes I’m not so nice and calm with my children. After all, I’m a mom blogger. Doesn’t that mean I adore my children every second of everyday? Well you might think that but it’s not reality. Of course I love them always but I don’t always like them. In those situations that’s when I lose it.
I’m a passionate person. I do everything 110% be it happy, sad, or upset. Like everything else in life there are two sides to the coin. So while being passionate about things can be positive it can also be very negative. One natural reaction when I’m getting upset is to yell. Who wants to listen to some yell all the time? The Bible verse in proverbs Only a fool gives full vent to his rage kept playing over and over. Sure I wasn’t going postal (do people still say that?) but I still felt bad about the yelling. It’s like I went from 0 to yelling without any gradual increase in volume. I knew it was wrong and that I wanted to stop.
But how? Every time I tried I fell right back into the biggest trap women face. The comparison trap. I know a lot of moms who seem to have it all together all the time. No matter how bad (yes I said bad) their children are in public or at playdates they just smile and calmly laugh it off. Meanwhile I’m like WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM!?!?!
I felt like a failure as a mother. A pretender, an emotional wolf in patient sheep clothing.
My daughter is generally compliant and with her I don’t even need to yell to get my point across. My son however, pushes my buttons (naturally we are the most alike) and everyone gets to hear what happens next. I yell, he yells louder, and nothing gets accomplished. Yeah not fun. So if yelling doesn’t work why do I keep doing it? Well I don’t know really, automatic reaction I suppose. Sorry it’s not more philosophical than that, I’m just trying to be real.
I came across another blog, The Orange Rhino, and was inspired by her story. She set an original goal for herself of 365 without yelling, pretty amazing right? I saw that she is now in year 2 of not yelling which is very encouraging! And that’s when I thought “Hey I can do that too! I can go without yelling.” I set a slightly smaller goal for myself of just the school year. But began a little early, because it’s never too early to stop yelling. No one knew about this challenge except myself and my family. Part of me didn’t want to share encase I failed miserably. Whether this is a success or a train wreck you all will know. And yes that scares me just a little.
To start off my own challenge I did what The Orange Rhino suggested: make a list of my triggers. There was no need to take time and reflect, I already knew what they were and have known for awhile. But knowing and doing are two different things. Now I’m finally taking my list and putting it into use, like a battle plan. For example, I know ahead of time if I didn’t get enough sleep or I have a lot of work to do that I’m going to be on edge. So when the kids get going on their “He’s looking at me!” or “She’s not playing with me!” instead of freaking out I have been walking away. Going into another room to find my center before walking back and handling the sibling drama.
It is important to have someone to keep you in check, an accountability partner. For me, my daughter is very helpful. When I told her about what I wanted to do she was very supportive and agreed that everyone, animals included, needed to stop yelling. Her and I decided that if someone starts yelling we needed to say “remember the no yelling rule!” The boy child is too young to get it but he gives up sooner if the rest of us keep our voices low. I will take that as a win, for now!
The big question: How is it going? It has been 5 days since the last incident.
Do you struggle with yelling and want to stop? Then I encourage you to join me in the no yelling club. Here there is no judging, just encouragement for all of us to be the best mothers we can be. If you need an accountability partner I am here for you! Email me, tweet me, Facebook, whatever and I promise to support you in your journey!
Grab your daughter and your favorite American Girl Doll and get ready to experience an all new movie: Saige Paints the Sky!
The 2013 Girl of the Year is staring in her own movie: Saige Paints the Sky. The movie follows Saige, the passionate young artist, as she sets out to save her school’s art and music programs. As someone who loves the creative arts I am drawn to this story and the desire to rescue such important classes. Saige also goes through her best friend Tessa spending less time with her and more with another girl. I think we have all experienced something like that, and I know this is an issue my daughter will eventually go through. For support, Saige turns to her grandma Mimi who inspires her to take action. Can Saige find the courage to lead the fund-raising effort to start an after-school art program and save her friendship with Tessa? Heartwarming, empowering, and fun, it’s a movie for every girl who has ever dreamed big.
To celebrate the debut of Saige Paints the Sky, American Girl is hosting special Movie Premiere Events at all of its retail stores nationwide, starting Friday, June 28, 2013. Moms, girls, and their dolls will be among the first to see the Saige movie, enjoy related crafts, activities, and take home exclusive giveaways. Visit Saige’s Page for a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming film, including the movie trailer and video clips, cast and character bios, movie-related events, games, crafts, and much more.
Check out the trailer, and be prepared for your daughter to want to watch it over and over!
Saige Paints the Sky will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray July 2nd 2013 and airing Saturday, July 13, at 8/7C on NBC. Jane Seymour stars as Grandma Mimi, a well known artist and horsewoman and introducing Sidney Fullmer as the spirited Saige.
Mimi and Saige
We are counting down the days to the premiere event! I am just as excited as my daughter since I was also and American Girl fan as a girl. Naturally, my daughter has chosen a matching outfit for her and her doll. Poor mommy doesn’t have a Zebra print dress but I think I can find something suitable to wear 😉
What about you: Does your daughter love American Girl or did you play with them as a child?
There are a lot of things to do and see in Washington DC. Any tour of DC or tourist guide will tell you the major things: monuments, Smithsonian Museum, White House, etc. But take it from a local the city has a lot more to offer.
One of my favorite places in Washington DC is Capitol Hill’s Eastern Market. Saturdays the streets come alive with vendors from all over selling everything from food and flowers to handmade jewelry and furniture. I have gotten some of my favorite pieces from that market. The best part? Dirt cheap.
If you are in town during October, a must for the kids is Boo at the Zoo. From 5:30-8:30 explore the zoo, enjoying special animal encounters and of course candy at different stations around the zoo. In the Big Cat area, my personal favorite, they have a train setup. Although admission to the National Zoo during the day is free, Boo at the Zoo requires you to buy tickets.
The Butterfly Habitat is not only beautiful but educational as well. My daughter loves trying to get the butterflies to land on her Bambi. This is one place to definitely bring your camera to. I think it is really cool to be able to observe the complete life cycles of butterflies.
I know I mentioned museums earlier as something any tour guide would tell you but this is one museum I don’t think you should skip over. The Spy Museum is a lot of fun for adults and kids alike. You learn the history of espionage from all over the world, from Biblical times to present day. Go on interactive Spy missions either inside the museum or around DC. The one hour Operation Spy mission is probably my favorite. Really allow yourself to get into character and you will have a blast! Perfect for the James Bond in all of us!
If you love sweets you have to check out Georgetown Cupcakes. Yes those Georgetown Cupcakes from TLC. Coming from someone who is not a huge fan of cupcakes, they made me a believer. All I can say about this one is yum. Oh, you will have to stand in line so be prepared.
Washington DC is full of great brick and mortar restaurants but don’t miss out on the food trucks. They might seem a little shady or even nasty if you have never eaten from one, I know that is how I felt the first time a friend suggested we try one. Um seriously, food out of a truck barf. Trust me though, there is some amazing food to be had out of those babies. To name a few: Curbside Cupcakes (cupcakes on the go, yes please), DC Empanadas, Fojol Brothers (one of the originals and still going strong), Basil Thyme (I think is better then the traditional Italian places in DC), Philly Steak Bites, and even Chick Fil-a. And now I am hungry…
I could not possibly list all the great places of DC in this post. But I hope that these give you some ideas for fun activities for you and your family or friends to experience.
What is your favorite location or event in DC?