If your house is anything at all lime mine, the majority of things to be done fall on my shoulders. Many times I’ve prayed for the eyes of my husband so I can walk past the dirty dishes or laundry to be done without stressing about when everything would get done. For a very long time (and still a lot of the time), I took it all on. That meant less sleep, no time for things I actually enjoyed and lots of resentment and unneeded anger. When we moved earlier this year, I took a lot of time planning things out to make the move and unpacking go as smoothly and quickly as possible. Once I was happy with the way things were unpacked (for the most part – I’m still tweaking things), I started asking my darling family to take care of certain tasks. Sometimes reminders are needed (some more blatant than others) but this has allowed me to work on things important to me (like my blogs!). I want you to feel that happiness too so here are some ways to make it happen for you:
Get Everything Squared Away
Your starting point is going to be different than mine and everyone else’s but start with things the way you want them. For example, I made sure all the dishes were in the kitchen so it was easiest for me to cook and use the kitchen. Once everything was in place, the kids started emptying the dishwasher and putting things away. We’re slowly working on having them start refilling the dishwasher once it’s empty too.
Be on the Same Page
Consider taking a picture of the “finished product” so everyone involved is on the same page. Telling my boys to clean their room obviously means something very different to them than it does to me. Having a picture on the back of their door with things picked up and organized for them to refer to seems to be helpful. Knowing the expectations help down the road with follow through for punishment (and rewards too!).
Don’t Refill That Time
Now that you have that half an hour where you’re not taking care of dishes (or folding clothes or whatever), don’t find another chore that needs to be done that requires you to do it. Keep that time set aside for you.
Find Something You Love
Maybe you don’t know what you’d actually do if you weren’t scrubbing floors or folding clothes. Take the time to try several different things if you don’t already have something in mind. Really the options are endless – photography, scrapbooking, reading, crossword puzzles, exercise or even blogging. Most importantly it needs to be something that you’re in love with so you’ll stick with it and keep the time set aside for it.
Make It Part of the Schedule
If it’s daily, weekly or monthly, add your time to your calendar just like you would a doctor’s appointment, PTO meeting or a vacation. It’s your time and if you don’t block it out, something will come up to take it away from you. Once your family gets used to you going for a walk after dinner, they’ll become used to it and expect you to be away from home during that time.
Keep It Yours
It never fails. I find time to do something for myself and suddenly it’s no longer my time. My little darlings want to come on a walk with me or want to do arts and crafts or whatever else I’m trying to work on. This might mean you’ve got to save your mom time for when the kids are sleeping, but at least you’re getting time for something you love.
It’s Not For Everyone
Trust me – I get it. Not everyone has a partner they can delegate to, kids that are old enough to help out or even has too much mommy guilt to take time for herself. I’ve been there. I’m still there. I can totally relate. While I write just about every single night once the kids are in bed, I’m not always the best about doing anything else for myself. This year I planned a weekend away with other mommies for the first time ever. Yes I’m freaking out about leaving my kids. Yes I’m freaking out about how I could have spent that money otherwise. I’m totally freaking out about trying to make all the other girls happy since I know how hard it is for us to all get away. So much stress that it’s almost not worth it right? Wrong! You’ve got to talk about something else besides diapers, science fair projects and the newest show on Disney Junior.
Do you make time for yourself? How do you do it? What made you start making the time?