Find More Me Time
You're the one everyone usually goes to for something, whether it's a hug, a Band-Aid or some food. But who takes care of you? Busy moms need some time for themselves so that they have the energy to keep on giving to others. Here's a four-step outline to scrutinize your schedule and your to-do list to see what can be trimmed to reclaim a little time for YOU!
Find Me Time
Here are four steps to get you the me time you deserve: STEP 1: DECIDE HOW TO SPEND YOUR "MOM" TIME Busy moms may not have the luxury of many hours to themselves. Yet, one to two hours at a time invested well can work wonders to keep you going, giving and happy! Choose simple activities that instantly restore, relax and recharge you. Is it a mani/pedi? A pilates class? Movie with a friend? A nap?! Choose a couple of things that you don't need hours to unwind and get into, and keep that little "menu" of fun handy, so any time you find for yourself can be put to fabulous, satisfying use!
STEP 2: STREAMLINE YOUR ROUTINES to reclaim one to two hours per week. Don't be afraid to create shortcuts—and to delegate. Being supermom doesn't mean doing everything yourself—it means orchestrating like a true ringmaster.
- Create a master shopping list. Organize it according to your grocery store's layout. As you run out of items, simply check off what you need. When it's time to go shopping, simply grab the list and go. Even better: Order groceries online.
- Cook faster. Get a slow cooker. Toss ingredients in before you head out for the day, and come home to a fully cooked meal. Or decide upon 14 dinner menus that take under 30 minutes to prepare, and rotate every two weeks. If you love to cook, use weekends for your more creative meals.
- Deep-clean rooms in rotation. Example: On Wednesday clean the bathroom; on Friday clean the kitchen. The rest of the days, just focus on clutter pickup.
- Team-clean your house with the kids. Convert a semi-arduous chore into a fun family activity, and teach important life skills in the process. Attack each room together (so you can supervise and no one gets lonely or distracted) and rotate who gets each specific assignment (sweep, dust, mop). You never know, in a few weeks, your kids could be lining up to use the dust-buster!
- Speed up laundry. Sorting and separating take the longest, so try giving each family member two baskets—one for whites, one for colors. Then run your loads one family member at a time. Always buy the same style and color socks—you'll save a lot of time matching up pairs.
- Reduce the clutter. According to cleaning professionals, eliminating clutter can reduce housework by as much as 40 percent!
1. Delete: Let things go that upon reflection are not the best investment of your precious hours (e.g., unless you find sewing the most relaxing us of your time, buy ready-made curtains instead of making homemade curtains).
2. Delegate: Share the workload with your family, friends, or even a local teen looking to make a few bucks! (e.g., let someone else return that extra Wii game for you on their next run to the mall).
3. Do but diminish: Release your perfectionism to complete things that must be done but that simply take too long (e.g. write the same basic message on all the thank-you notes from your baby shower).
STEP 4: CREATE A "MOM-TIME" CO-OP You can't be the only mom in your town, neighborhood, or even street who needs me-time and can't find a sitter. Unite in your quest to re-energize and relax: Organize a group of local parents and divvy up a set of poker chips—with each poker chip representing a unit of time (e.g. 30 minutes). Each family gets the same amount of chips; maybe 10 to start, which would total five hours of "Mom-Time" for trading.
The idea is that when you are due for some me time, and need a couple of hours to take a yoga class, instead of spending $20 to pay a local teen or begging your mother-in-law to watch the kids for two hours, call a fellow network mom and pay her in chips! Then, when she wants to take her yoga class, she can trade her chips for babysitting time, etc. It's easier to enjoy your "Mom-time" when you feel good about who your kids are with—and the whole barter system creates a wonderful community of families.
Ready to organize your life? Check out our Get Organized Boot Camp with organizational guru, Julie Morgenstern! Read Julie Morgenstern's advice on:
- Changing handbags
- Getting started at home
- Keeping home organized
- Simplifying your commute
- Creating storage in your apartment
- Finding time to organize
- Cleaning with partner
- Staying motivated
- Organizing home after baby
- Managing laundry
- Cleaning out the closet
- Getting out the door faster
- Making bill-paying easier