Easy Ways to Carve Out “Me” Time

What would you give for some time alone?

Many of us laughed with almost manic hysteria when Tina Fey’s character in Date Night explained to her clueless husband that her fantasy involved an air conditioned room alone in a hotel with a Diet Sprite. She didn’t want more time with people – no matter how romantic – she just wanted some peace and quiet, and sadly this is something every mother can relate to. As a mother, no matter how old your children, there’s very little time that is dedicated simply to you.

Fortunately, with a bit of clever planning you can make at least a bit more “me” time to enjoy.

Get Up Early
Often we get in the habit of sleeping as late as we possibly can to enjoy that extra dozing time, but getting up at the last minute makes us feel rushed and haggard all morning long – often affecting the whole day. Imagine how peaceful it would be if you got up an hour earlier, did a bit of yoga, took a hot shower and then sipped some coffee or tea while waiting for your kids to wake up and start the crazy part of the day? Sure, getting up earlier means you’ll need to go to bed earlier, but why not crash out when you’re exhausted at the end of the day and enjoy the more rested part of your day for you?

Combine Duties
How long does it take you to put your kids to bed? If you read each of them a story or three and then sit with them for a bit you can be spending more than an hour just getting everyone settled in for the night. Depending on how old your kids are and how much you enjoy that quiet time with each kid, why not combine forces at least occasionally?

Gather everyone together in one bed to read stories only once instead of twice or three times. Sit in the hallway between rooms so that you can help two kids fall asleep at one time. If you’re extremely tired at the end of the day, consider letting your children “sleep over” in a sibling’s room – put them to sleep in the same bed and cut down your bedtime routines by half.

Schedule Your Time
If you can’t seem to get much time in your own home to enjoy, start scheduling it away from home. Book yourself time in a spa for a Saturday afternoon. Or make yourself a member of an exercise class that meets every Tuesday and Thursday night. Getting away for that hour or two can be hugely relaxing and help to revive your mind and spirit.

It also helps that your partner will get to be in charge of the kids for a few hours without you there for assistance. You don’t have to be “on call” while you’re resting and your kids get to benefit from time with each parent. If you can’t actually leave home to have your time, use your calendar to block out time for things like your favorite shows or an exercise program you’re planning at home. Just seeing that block of time on the calendar can make you rather serious about making sure you’re taking advantage of the time.

Use Work Time as Me Time
If you’re truly pressed for time, you can use your work time or your commute time as a bit of your own time. Love to read but don’t have the time to enjoy it? Start renting books on tape from the library (you can even do it online in many cases) and listen to them while you work via your iPod or plug them in through the car and listen on your way to and from work. If you need some fresh air and exercise, see if there’s a gym near your office and join it. Eat a quick lunch at your desk and use your hour at the gym instead of the cafeteria. If you’ll miss the social aspect of lunch, just convince your friends to join with you – healthy exercise and conversation at the same time!