As a mom it’s not always easy to find time for yourself. And often when you do it somehow feels like it’s at the expense of someone else in the family. But as research and personal experience shows, taking a little time for you is VITAL to be a good parent, a healthy person and just plain happier.
Even with my kids in school (one only in school for a couple of hours at that) I still struggle to find time for myself that doesn’t involve cleaning or working. But lately I’ve been working hard at making it happen, and I’m starting to get better at it.
Here are a few things you can find a little time to yourself even when you don’t have any to spare.
Garden – OK so gardening can be a bit of work in the beginning but once it’s going strong the actual “gardening’ part can be very therapeutic. Weeding, watering and harvesting have been soul-soothing activities for thousands of years. When the weather is right you can let the kids loose in the yard while you get some earthy time in the dirt.
Read – Most schools ask that your kids read 15 to 20 minutes a day, each day. At our school we actually have to sign a sheet that the child did read for that period of time. Instead of nagging your child from the kitchen, sit down and read a book or magazine of your own. This will help encourage your child to work on their reading and give you 15 minutes of quiet reading time.
Early to Bed Early to Rise – Make it a point to get up 15 to 30 minutes early than the rest of your house. Read, do some yoga or just enjoy a quiet cup of coffee before the chaos of the morning starts. And set a decent and early bedtime for your kdis and stick to it. Then use that time to unwind from the day, catch up on Facebook, go to sleep early or simply watch a little TV with your spouse.
These things may not seem like much but incorporating them into your daily routine can do wonders for your stress level, your health and even your ability to be a good mom. Remember, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight to learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors. I was selected and paid for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.
The family and I had the rare odd and fun opportunity to be filmed for a story that aired on Fox News Tuesday. So I’m posting a few screen shots of the clip for Wordless Wednesday. OK, so there are a few words here but it’s my blog so I can add words to my Wordless Wednesday if I want.
I am tired today. It’s been a stressful couple of days, which I’m not in the mood to blog about right now. Besides I always try to keep in mind that no matter how crappy your day is there is always someone out there having a crappier day. It’s important to always keep whining in perspective.
With that said, that doesn’t mean we should bottle up out stress either. But when we wear a lot of hats, as most of you reading this do, it’s hard to find the right time or place to let it all go. Not all of us can get to gym or afford yoga classes at the studio downtown or a nice relaxing massage.
So for my own sanity, as much as yours, I came up with a list of things you can do for free around the house to take the edge off.
Garden – OK so gardening can be a bit of work in the beginning but once it’s going strong the actual “gardening’ part can be very therapeutic. Weeding, watering and harvesting have been soul-soothing activities for thousands of years. Take some quiet time working in your garden and enjoy.
Read – This may not always be easy with kids running around and a house to keep up, but force yourself to. Not only is reading a relaxing activity, it’s also very good for the soul and for the brain. A good book will give even the most stressed person a much-needed break from whatever things in life are stressing them out. Reading before bedtime can also do wonders for insomnia.
Nap – OK, OK stop laughing. It is possible to nap. Some days. Remember when your kids were newborns and everybody said “Sleep as much as you can!” or “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” Yes, great advice, but it doesn’t have to end when your kids are no longer babies. If your kids still nap, take one yourself. If they’re older put on a favorite movie and make a big bed for all of you on the floor. They can watch the movie for an hour and a half while you let your body rest. A massage is wonderful, but is nothing compared to a good nap.
Television – Give yourself a chunk of time in the evening one or two days a week and enjoy your favorite sitcom or reality show. TV has been relieving stress and creating an escape for people for years now, and is as good at doing it today as it always was.
Yoga – I know I said that not all of us could afford the gym or yoga classes. But most of us can afford a DVD, which we can than use when we want to. I know for me the mornings I get up before the kids and enjoy 15 minutes of yoga while the house still sleeps are amazing. Good for my sanity, my soul and my body.
Last week on WomenCount Radio (the Blog Talk Radio show I host on Thursdays) I interviewed Sharon Lerner author of the new book, “The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation.” I also got the chance to read the book before hand and it gave me a lot to think about it. The book basically is a look at how in the United States mothers face so many challenges when it comes to simply raising out children.
Take for instance,
Only 42% of working mothers stay home for the first 12 weeks of their babies’ lives.
The United States is one of just a handful of countries that do not offer paid maternity leave. Nations such as Germany or Australia dole out money just for having kids. And after infancy is over, there is free, high-quality childcare in France, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden.
The average cost of keeping one infant in a child-care center is greater than tuition at public college
And that hardly scratches the surface of issues facing moms, and doesn’t even touch on the other side of the coin, women who stay home and the challenges they face. Personally I have been a working mom and a WAHM.
I gathered a handful of links to posts about the challenges mothers face in hopes of doing the same thing the book does, which is show that we are not alone in our challenges as moms. We’re all doing the best we can.
I’ve written before about how I’m not big on the whole structured religion thing and as my children get older I ponder how I should go about dealing with the topic of religion. Today was Easter, which of course brought the whole religious thing into question, again. So how do I explain Easter? I mean truthfully Easter originally is a Pagan holiday (Eoster) which (like Christmas) got painted with the Christianity wand. So what do I tell them?
Well I opted for a simpler tale of rebirth. Outside we have a huge tree that shades half of our backyard in the summer. It’s one of the most gorgeous trees I’ve ever seen. During the winter the tree has been bare but in recent weeks it’s slowly began springing back to life with tons of bright green leaves. Also in our backyard are the sprouts in both our vegetable garden and flower garden. There are coming to life as well and slowly growing into the full rich colorful gardens they will be throughout the summer.
So instead of trying to explain the story of the Resurrection I took my kids outside. We looked at the beautiful tree that had been dead all winter and examined all the signs that it was indeed coming back to life. That, I told my kids, was what Easter was about. The changing of the season. When the cold harsh winter moves away and all that was asleep or dead comes back to life again.
I think by giving my kids a good spiritual base that is more about nature and just the life force that flows in and out of all of us, I’m giving them a strong foundation to help them as they grow older to seek the path that works for them.
Or maybe I just don’t feel like going to church.
So if you’re not exactly overly religious, or not religious at all, do you make any attempts at trying to explain holidays like Easter? Or do you just let them thing the whole thing is Easter Bunnies and chocolate eggs?
This past weekend was the annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin (Dublin, Ca NOT Ireland). The weather was superb and the food smelled better than anything else I can ever remember. It was everything a good local festival should be. First we listened to some good Celtic music (Tempest rocks) then we filled up on festival food. Then it was time to get some ride tickets and hit the midway. It was by no means a huge midway, but it had a decent
amount of rides on it.
First thing was first and the kids headed straight for the first bouncy house they saw. My husband and I milled around outside in the sun with the other parents and listened to the screams of laughter coming from inside while the sounds of Celtic music filled the air. When the kids were done with that we asked what ride they wanted to go on next. As we walked down the midway in the sun the kids stopped in front of the boat.
You know the one that rocks back and forth getting higher and higher with each rock. It was by no means anywhere near as large or as high as the Revolution at Great America or anything, but still my immediate instinct was to make sure they were tall enough. And for the first time ever both kids were tall enough. So we got in line. And instantly I realized that we, the adults, weighed more than the maximum. This ride was just for kids. They were going to have to go on it alone.
I guess maybe for some moms this would be a moment that just simply comes and goes. Maybe because I’m a writer, this moment felt like more than just a moment. I watched my kids get strapped in and I watched the look on their faces as the ride began to sway back and forth and pick up speed. I watched and my heart leapt from my chest.
How is it my kids are old enough to ride a carnival ride alone? How did this small but significant step come so fast? How is they can feel the joy, anxiety, fear and exhilaration of a carnival ride without me? How did time pass so quickly.
Maybe I’m just a little emotional because within the next two weeks my kids will each have birthdays where they’ll be turning seven and five. Maybe it’s because St. Patrick’s Day always stirs up so many of my own childhood memories.
Maybe it was just a ride.
But I don’t think so.
This is an original post to the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.