A few moments to myself.
Honestly, sometimes it can feel like the difference between my being the delightful, charming woman I imagine myself to be and being a TOTALLY. CRAZY. MOM.
But maybe you aren’t like me. Maybe you thrive on social interaction and are always patient and loving and anxious to spend every moment of every day talking and being talked to.
Sigh. I wish I could be like that. Really. But I’m just not.
I know personality plays into it a lot. The more introverted you are, the more likely the constant companionship of childrearing can become…overwhelming! Most people who know me would likely never label me as an introvert, but I still have that reclusive bent, what I like to think of as my pensive tendencies. But you have to keep in mind, too, that I spent many years as the only child at home with parents who worked second shift, meaning I was at home alone A LOT. I adjusted to that, and I grew to like it very much.
Yet I grew up and married a man who would never CHOOSE to be alone a day in his life if he could avoid it. And then I had four kids! So much for a ‘reclusive bent’ and pensive tendencies…
I’ve heard statements from a few who believed “Me Time” in any form was the selfish notion of a narcissistic, anti-family, anti-child world.
Sorry, but I’m not buying it.
Sometimes we just want some time alone because motherhood is tough. Loving and feeding and rescuing and teaching little people all day long takes a lot out of a woman, and that’s not a new and strange, (and somehow wicked,) phenomenon unique to modern culture. There are selfish, neglectful moms out there, and then there are ones who just want to take a bath by themselves! Putting the two in the same category hardly makes sense, and guilting moms just for wishing they could have some time alone is neither encouraging nor constructive.
But how does Mom Time become a reality, especially when you’re a homeschooling mom?
While I can’t offer a scheduling miracle here, I can offer a few simple suggestions, although you have to keep in mind that what works for me and my family may not necessarily work for yours. I can’t begin to know all the specific challenges presented by your unique family and life schedule. But some basic principles can be helpful toward implementing a little Mom Time into your days, or at least into some of them!
You have to know what to do with it!
Maybe this doesn’t even seem worth mentioning, but I’m surprised at the number of moms I talk to who have no real hobbies or interests aside from those that take them outside the home. They dream of Me Time, but because they have no real plan for how they would use it, it’s virtually impossible to make it happen. For practical reasons, you need to find some relaxing activities you can enjoy without straying, (or straying far,) from the house.
Do you like to read? Craft? Garden? What activities do you find restful? And by restful, I don’t necessarily mean relaxing your body. Some people find hard exercise more rejuvenating and relaxing to their mind than a quiet activity. Then again, I know moms who would rather steal a 30-minute nap during Mom Time than do anything else in the world!
You have to be realistic about it.
To be brutally honest: Sometimes moms never get any time to themselves because they’ve simply set their sights for Mom Time too high to be practical.
You may consider a long walk on the beach or hours of “retail therapy” at your local mall to be the ultimate Mom Time, but I would say very, very few of us are at a stage in our lives where that kind of alone time is at all feasible, at least not regularly. We can grumble and complain about the alone time we can’t have, or we can embrace and enjoy the time we can. I’d rather do the latter, even if it’s not always as long or as wonderful as I would like for it to be.
You have to be intentional about it.
If you think at some point you’re going to start stumbling across free time in your schedule, you are sadly mistaken. Mom Time doesn’t happen by accident. If it isn’t a scheduled, intentional part of your day, it will never happen.
So that means if you want some time to yourself, you have to MAKE A PLACE for it somewhere. Maybe that means getting up early or staying up late. It may mean shifting some things in the schedule around so you can have a few minutes after lunch or right after school or following dinner.
But you HAVE TO plan for it.
You have to be disciplined.
Sometimes it’s easiest to blame the kids or our spouses or unhelpful friends and family for why we can’t get any time to ourselves, when we’re often our own worst enemies where finding Mom Time is concerned. We have to discipline ourselves to implement schedule changes before we can ever see it become a habit.
That may mean adjusting naptimes, (something I was always pretty militant about,) or instituting quiet times where kids play in their rooms quietly or read. It may mean older children have the daily responsibility of helping out with a younger child for a few minutes every afternoon or just after supper. It can even mean learning to get up earlier or doing better about getting the kids in bed sooner at night.
You have to keep in mind that, generally speaking, the younger your children, the more of a challenge finding Mom Time may be. It’s a stage and, I’m learning for myself, Mamas; it gets easier with time.
Also, the more children you have, the more of a challenge finding Mom Time can be, though some moms do eventually find it easier to squeeze in some time to themselves once there are children old enough to help out some with the younger ones. Again, it’s a stage, and each stage has its blessings and its challenges.
Someday, unfortunately, all the kids will grow up and move away, and we’ll sit in a quiet house and be sick of all the alone time we have. And no doubt we’ll long for the noise and chaos again.
But it’s okay to wish for a little peace and solitude from time to time now. And with a little patience and self-discipline, often we can fit some of it into our busy homeschool days.
So how do you squeeze some Mom Time into your day? What activities do you find most restful when you can steal a few minutes alone? Any tips to share about how you work Mom Time into your busy schedule?