How to Make Time for Yourself as a Parent
Is this something that you struggle with?
As a home educator it’s something I massively struggle with. It’s ‘the’ hardest thing about home educating for me, but I know a lot of parents struggle with this generally.
So how can we make time for ourselves as busy parents? I’ve come up with 7 simple top tips that you can book in to your week straight away.
1. Pop into your diary a relaxing bath, twice a week, when the kids are in bed.
Turn off that phone, grab your favourite products, light a few candles and relax!!!!!!! For me it’s all about my Neal’s Yard White Tea Facial Mask and my Seaweed and Arnica Foaming Bath, but you choose what you love to relax with. I find that a bath really helps me to sleep too and if I’m feeling a bit tired or rundown it’s definitely essential for me at the end of a busy day with the kids.
And if a bath twice a week isn’t enough then…
2. Book in treat days throughout the year to look forward to.
I love a spa day! Last year I managed to have two spa days despite everything Covid going on. One was to celebrate my birthday with friends (a few weeks before the first lockdown) and then I took my Mum for her 60th birthday in September when lockdown restrictions had eased. It was bliss. A whole day to rest, think, swim and completely relax.
Planning these days in advance means that you can budget for them and organise childcare in plenty of time. Also, it means that they definitely happen and are not simply nice ideas that you don’t ever get around to.
It doesn’t have to be a spa though. Walking, sports and craft days are all great ways of having focussed ‘you’ time.
Have a think about what you’d like to do and get it booked in now.
If the first two aren’t possible for whatever reason then treat yourself to ten minutes at the beginning and end of every day to…
3. Enjoy an evening ritual to take care of yourself.
My Neal’s Yard Remedies products bring me so much joy. Husband Hooks often asks me why I’m taking so long and what on earth I’m doing, but for me, it’s that shorter moment to enjoy a few minutes where I stop, think and enjoy applying beautifully natural organic products to my face. This moment relaxes me before bedtime and helps me feel fresh and ready to begin the day in the morning.
If it’s not Neal’s Yard for you, then what products do you enjoy using? Perhaps spend a bit more time thinking about this automatic process and slow it right down. Notice how the products feel and smell and take a slow breath in and out.
Maybe you’re not into skincare products but have a different daily ritual that you enjoy just as much? A cup of tea in the morning or reading a book when you get into bed. Try slowing these things down too and notice how much you enjoy them and how they make you feel.
But maybe you need a moment during the day?
4. Take 30 mins at lunchtime to stop and rest.
Again for you this might look different, but for me, I always try to make sure that I sit down on the sofa with a hot drink and rest. This used to be the time slot when I’d try and get jobs done, whether it be house jobs or ‘screen’ time jobs, but now that I’m learning to take time to think, I’m now trying to simply sit with my drink and look out of the window (usually at my children playing outside) and leave my phone alone. I’m also trying to talk to God more in these quiet times and bring him into everything we do.
So you might be thinking, but surely the kids will not allow you time to simply ‘be’?
Well that’s partly true and there are times when I have to get up and see to their needs, but they are slowly learning that just for that half an hour, it’s Mummy’s time. It’s easy to feel guilty about taking time during the day when the children are around, but I’ve learnt that for me to be the best Mum I can be, those moments are so important. I can then be fully active and engaged with them for the rest of the afternoon.
Perhaps you don’t have to stay inside…
5. Go outside for fresh air and/or exercise.
Having spent more time in the Autumn outside with the kids in the forest, it seriously made me realise how good getting outside is for your mental state of mind. In a recent social media post I talked about our first full day in the forest after lockdown and how I fully appreciated every little thing that I previously took for granted. Someone commented that it was called ‘Forest Bathing’. I’d never heard of this before but it makes total sense.
If you don’t have a forest nearby then why not head out for a walk around your area alone or with a friend. I try to do this regularly but lately we haven’t been out so much. Partly due to the weather but also partly due to my responsibilities and commitments taking over. But what I’ve found is, stepping outside the house is literally a ‘breath of fresh air.’ It only takes us around 30 minutes to do a loop around our village, plus extra time for chatting and it feels so refreshing.
If you struggle to have that time during the day to stop and think then perhaps you might like to…
6. Find extra childcare support or work as a team with your partner to give each other time.
This is a very interesting one actually. Despite me suggesting this as a tip, this is the one thing I’ve found incredibly hard to do in the past and obviously it depends on family circumstances as to whether you have the extra support to hand.
For me, the difficulty lies with asking for childcare for me to simply take time to rest. Husband Hooks is very good at giving me time when he can but it’s usually for me to work on my business. It’s rarely time for me to simply be, and actually, if I were offered the time would I simply rest, take time out or sit and do something that I enjoy? Or would I see it as an opportunity to get house jobs done or work on my business for example?
If you have the option of extra childcare for time to simply ‘be’ then take it and don’t feel guilty about it. You will feel so refreshed that you will be more present and patient with your family and yes I need to take my own advice here!
If again this isn’t an option then use your time wisely and efficiently and…
7. Find a good listener who will give you that time, attention and space to enable you to think for yourself (like me!).
I know, I know, but I had to pop this little tip in! You can’t blame me for that? Having someone ‘be’ with you using the ten components of the thinking environment is priceless. I’ve experienced it for myself and it’s completely liberating. What’s more, it’s so simple but yet extremely powerful because our society and culture doesn’t allow for this kind of independent thinking. It’s truly freeing to have time to think and to make decisions based on your own thoughts and ideas. You feel so clear afterwards and free that I’d simply recommend it to anyone.
And if you think that by asking a friend to listen that it would be the same, it actually won’t be. With the best will in the world friends interrupt and enjoy talking about their own experiences and try to offer advice. It’s just not the same. It stops our thinking.
I’ve learnt that if I want to make time for myself as a parent, it’s the small moments that really make a difference and booking things in advance forces you to take the time that most of us so desperately need.
I’d love to know if you try any of these tips and about how you get on.
Thank you for reading.
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