Wednesday, July 28, 2010

10 (Sneaky) Ways to Make "Me" Time

We all need it.  As much as I love and appreciate my children, I definitely long for time when no one is clamoring, clinging or crying.  There are days when I feel like the constant squawking might make me crazy, and I just need a break, already!  Because for every moment like this:

There are about a hundred of these:

Here are 10 ways I cope:

1. Clean.  Seriously!  Find the one chore you like and do it A LOT.  For me this is wiping the counters.  I actually really like cleaning a surface, especially granite.  I probably spray the countertops down at least 5 times a day, and am frequently heard saying, "I'll be right there to {read that book/wipe your bum/have meaningful conversation}; just let me wipe these counters first."

2. Get out with your girls!  For me, it is the occasional half-price margarita (or two) on Margarita Monday at the Mexican place around the corner, with a fellow Mommy of course.  You don't even have to do something like this that often to get the psychological benefits of knowing you can, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, take time away from the house.

3. Make a rule: Don't Interrupt Mommy While She's Eating.  Then drag your lunch out for as long as you can.

4. Quiet Time.  Big Boy is 3 and a half, and recently stopped napping.  Instead he has Quiet Time, which is that sacrosanct time of day when he plays (somewhat) quietly in his room and I write (somewhat) intelligible blog posts.  It lasts an hour.  Uh, or an hour and half...I gotta go

5. Strap your kids in the car and *then* pack their snacks.  Please don't do this if you A) live on the 18th floor of an apartment building, B) plan on packing snacks for the next two weeks, or C) start your car in the garage and leave it running (duh).  I guess it works for me because my car is practically parked in my kitchen.  It is a tiny but delicious luxury to move about packing snacks without tripping over toddlers.

6. Take the long way home.  Don't hate me, but sometimes my children love being in the car.  On days like those, when running our errands isn't quite enough time out, I like to take "neighborhood tours."  Nice way of saying I stalk neighborhoods I would love to be able to afford.  Big Boy has been on so many of these outings that sometimes he'll ask to drive through a neighborhood just because he "feels like it."

7. Ask your husband to get a hobby.  Forget about your own hobbies, have your husband get one!  Preferably a hobby he can partake in after he helps put the kids to bed.  Mine plays basketball one night a week, and I cannot overemphasize how much I love that evening of trashy TV, something sweet, and a glass of wine.  Hubs, you know I love you but thank you for getting out of here once in a while!

8. Encourage independent play.  Okay, yes, easier said than done.  Sometimes I find myself "encouraging independent play" by "taking my craft project into the kitchen and pretending it is a sound-proof room."  It is amazing how many things work themselves out when Mommy can't hear the chaos.

9. Speaking of Mommy not hearing you, Mommy Can't Hear You!  Sad as it is, sometimes keeping your nose in the newspaper or magazine and helping a little person to practice patience through some strategic ignoring, even if he is bouncing up and down at your side, is good for you AND him!

10. Turn your children's sweetest moments into "Me" time, in the sense that you can take pride and satisfaction in those precious things they do and say.  If my tot only has one minute today without whining, crying or pooping, that is the one minute of joy and happiness that I'll remember years from now.  Hopefully.

How about you?  How do you get "me" time?


  1. "Take the long way home" is one of my favorite "Me" times that turned into a "we" time that we could all enjoy and that they still really haven't out grown. It started out as adventures to learn more about the area where we moved when they were 3 and 5, but we were still taking the long way home when they were teenagers and the neighborhoods I wanted to live in became the neighborhoods *we* wanted to live in. It also was a great excuse to rock out to the favorite song of the moment. My older daughter is now 22 and lives far away, but she says she misses the long drives around the neighborhoods in our time. When she comes home to visit, we plan to drive around like we did when she was younger.

  2. Well, as the mother of children who are now grown and on their own, I just want to tell you young moms that I really miss the feeling of wanting "ME" time. Honest! I miss those days! But having said that, I wouldn't choose to go back. It's funny how most us humans are never truly satisfied. Somehow the grass is always greener. I guess the real key is to learn how to appreciate the moment we are in, and growing children will always remind you of that fact! You turn around and your baby is 3-1/2 and then 33-1/2!!

  3. Michelle! I love your blog! You are a gifted writer and I enjoy getting to know you a bit better because of it.

    I do the buckle them in and then pack as you do... learned that when the twins were little because no one can get into any trouble when they are strapped in and I can think.

    I do love MNO (Mom's Night Out's), now I know I can call you for margaritas!

    I'm trying to think if there is anything I do that you haven't mentioned... I got nothing. My brain has melted away from this July heat!

    Julie Wagner

  4. I also have to specifically comment on the neat contrast of pix! I love that visual!

  5. OK...I'm going to think of cleaning in a whole new light now :-)

  6. Love this--the picture is so true! My kids are 4 and almost 2, so I feel you! ;)

    Right now I made some "me" time by making my husband play a game with the kids UPSTAIRS before they go to bed. *happy sigh*

    Thanks so much for linking up--off to look around your blog!

  7. SO great! I used to wonder why my Mom would take a book into the bathroom with her... Now that I am a mother I TOTALLY GET IT. :)
    I came over from the Top Ten Tuesday! I love finding new blogs!

  8. Oh I love this post!! Probably because I can relate so well. I need this after a long day:)


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