Disclosure: I’m a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam which means that they pay for the streaming service in exchange for me posting once a month about the service. All opinions are my own.
Let me let you in on a little secret. Once you become a stay-at-home parent, you lose something precious you probably didn’t value enough. No, not money (although you do lose some of that). No, not sex with your partner, although that may happen less often. Who has energy for that after several days with little sleep? You lose “me time,” those quiet moments where you can escape everything (even your partner).
After Ginny, my oldest, was born, I got out of my house once a month for a couple of hours. Now that I have three little ones, all under six, I’m lucky if I get out for “me time” once every three months. And, even then, I feel guilty for leaving my husband, Chris, alone with the kids for that long. The guilt extends to running errands by myself, too. It’s ridiculous, really, since he spends up to nine hours a day at work or more. Yet, I’m gone a couple of hours and rush home because I worry I’m taking advantage of him. Oh, mother’s guilt! Oh, how you suck!
My husband gets “me time” every day. He gets it as he drives for 30 minutes to work and again as he drives home. I might be a little jealous of that drive time. I’d love an hour alone a day. I struggle to squeeze in a minute, and that’s the time I head into the bathroom before my baby finds me again. (Sometimes she’s fast and beats me there. How is that fair?) By the time he gets home from work, he finds me a frazzled mess ready for relief. I’ll admit that I don’t give him much transition time from work, foisting the children on him as he comes in the door.
We all deserve “me time,” even Chris as he drives to and from work. We need that time to decompress from the day or to get away from our responsibilities. It helps us survive this thing called parenthood. Okay, it mainly keeps us sane.
When I was single, I didn’t appreciate how much “me time” I had. I had too much “me time,” to be honest. Now, I look for any moment I can grab. I know that in a few short years I’ll have “me” time again once all my girls are in school full-time. Until then, I need to be creative in finding moments throughout my crazy day, between dressing my girls, breaking up fights, answering 5,283 questions in a given day (and that’s just Ginny’s questions), and saving the dog from the baby, Samantha, as she tries to chew on her nose.
Are you looking for ways to get “me time”? Instead of running away from home (I know that’s tempting some days), here are a few ways to get that much needed time to yourself.
Find Me Time While Surrounded By Children
- Take an extra minute or five in the bathroom. I keep magazines and books in my bathroom. I might spend a few minutes more in there than needed, that is if one of my girls doesn’t come in soon after I get there.
- Send all your kids to quiet time in their room. Hopefully, they can stay (relatively) quiet for at least an hour. Use the time to decompress!
- While your kids play in the backyard, listen to music with earphones or even an audiobook.
- Organize your closet while your kids play in another room.
- Need to rock the baby to sleep? Do what I do. The Netflix Sneak!! I put my headphones on and watch Netflix shows on my iPad as I nurse my baby then put her to bed. I’ve binge watched a few shows this way.
- Read a book for at least 10 minutes a night before you go to bed.
- Take a hot bath or a shower at night after the kids go to sleep.
- Get up before your kids do and enjoy the silence! (Yes, I know that’s next to impossible, getting up before the kids, I mean, but worth a try.)
- Take your kids to the park. While they play, you can listen to music or an audiobook or even do a crossword puzzle.
Do something you want while your spouse watches the kids!
- Solo movie watching! Go to a movie! The side benefit of this is you don’t have to watch a Disney movie or negotiate with your spouse or anybody else on what movie to see. You pick the movie and the time!
- Hide in your bedroom and lock the door for a Netflix* binge session! This is one of my personal favorites! I’m sure there is something you’ve been dying to see but your spouse isn’t interested in watching. What better time than now? Bring refreshments with you, crawl into bed, and enjoy a few hours decompressing as you watch a favorite show, like Orange is the New Black.
- Head to the park or beach with some favorite books! Kick back, relax, and read in peace.
- Eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner alone at a restaurant. No worries about your kids’ behavior. And, you choose where you want to eat. Your husband doesn’t like Chinese food but you do? Perfect. Now you can eat some Chinese. Your wife hates Mexican food? Go to your favorite Mexican restaurant.
- Take a class. Whether it’s a crafting class at Michael’s, a painting group, or a Zumba class at the local gym, find a class you want to take and enjoy that time for yourself.
- Grocery shop without the kids by going on a day your spouse is home! That’s what we do at my house. We plan our menu around my husband’s work schedule.
- At least once a week, go for a solo walk or run while the weather is nice. It doesn’t have to be long, but get outside and move.
- Spend time at the salon, either for a haircut or a mani/pedi.
- Shop at a flea market or garage sales.
- Take a nap.
*With Netflix, you can take it anywhere. I watch Netflix on my TV and on my mini-iPad. I can go anywhere and watch my favorite original series like Sense8, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil, or watch shows I missed the first time around like Gilmore Girls, Chuck, and The West Wing.