TIME FOR YOURSELF? Hmmm
Something that I realized early on, after becoming a mom, is that time for yourself is crucial in being successful. And by successful, I mean, not going crazy.
Now if you are anything like me, you may find that it is hard to simply leave your kids with a mother in law over night, once or twice a week, and just take the day off. In my books, it's just not how it works, at least not when my kids are at this young age.
I need to know that I can make it through, the thick and the thin, and the everyday grind of being a mom, 100% of the time. With that being said, I don't think that you should never take breaks. But there is a difference between a break and a vacation a few times a week. Like I said, through the thick and thin. I need to know that no matter what happens, I WILL pull through and survive the day. I chose to be a mom, and to my kids I plan on giving it my all.
There are other ways to make time for yourself though and things you can do to stay 'sane' in the midst of all the chaotic potty training, messes, tantrums, and melt downs. I found that finding something for 'me' was the best plan of action. Once you figure out how to manage your time, you can find slots of time....yes, that you can have to yourself.
1) Find something that you like to do.
Hobbies are great because they are usually things that you can spent little bits of time on and the outcome isn't going to change much. No time limits. No guidelines. No rules. Basically you can fit your hobby in those magical time slots that WILL appear as you get organized and learn tricks on how to manage your time.
A hobby might be: scrapbooking, learning to sew, painting/ drawing, writing, reading, crafting, knitting/crocheting, or even baking. It just simply needs to be something that you love, are interested in, or that you look forward to doing. Who knows what it will turn into? Sometimes hobbies even turn into businesses!
Now don't be discouraged by thoughts like 'I am not crafty enough to do that' or 'to get started it would be too expensive'. There is always a way and like anything else, getting good at something sometimes takes practice and building yourself and your tools/supplies up as you go. You aren't going to necessarily become a world class sewer overnight but you can start out with a simple machine and use used fabrics to learn on. You Tube is FULL of videos on how to make simple projects and training. Dollar stores often have large amounts of crafting materials, scrapbooking items, and even painting supplies and you never know what you might even find around the house. When you start looking for things that you want to make, I am sure that a few minutes on www.pinterest.com will give you more ideas than you can work with all at once.
Unfortunately, something really bad can happen on the road to finding your hobby. You might be like me and find that you want to dabble in SO MANY different things. BUT that is why it is called a hobby. Some days I really just want to sit down and write, while others I feel like putting together an amazing wreath that I saw on Pinterest. I have a stack of fabric waiting for a night where the stars align and the kids are all tucked in early, and the house has remained relatively clean....and yes these times do happen. Other times I paint while the kids are painting during our weekly craft times or knit a small project while watching tv at the end of the day.
Look for a hobby and keep on looking. You will find something that you like, even if not right away. And you will surprise yourself with your talents. If you saw my first scrap booking page you would cringe, but years later others who see my scrapbooks wonder in amazement where I got my talent..........lots and lots of practice. I don't show them my first scrabooking pages...
2) Find something to do outside of the house.
This can be something like joining a club, a sports team or even running a home based business out of your home. The point of this is to find something to do that doesn't necessarily evolve around your kids or your husband. This can be the one thing that you do for yourself.
I strongly believe that having a home based business when you are a stay-at-home supermom-in-training can be an absolutely empowering thing to do. Now not all home based businesses are right for everyone, and some are definitely not ones that I would even consider. They need to have a good compensation plan, not cost you money every month to make your commission, have low start up costs, fit your lifestyle, and be something that you are interested in.
I decided to start with Avon Canada two years ago and LOVE it. I have something now that I can do that is my own, and that gives me a goal and people outside the house to talk to and get to know. I have built skills that I don't know if I would have otherwise acquired at this time, among them is time management and scheduling my days, talking on the phone, doing presentations and webinars, and keeping myself updated with new technology. I can now make a regular income by working from home and may not even have to consider going back to work full time when all my kids are in school. How great will that be when I am able to coach soccer every year, attend school functions and fundraisers, and be part of committees and clubs in the kids school and sports events? I am super excited! Not to mention, if I do go back to work then I will have acquired some really great skills to help me get back into the game, and even not go stale within the technology world. Twitter? What is that? www.interavon.ca/cassie.wood
And because I have been so successful with my first home based business, I decided to start just one more. I fell in LOVE with Steeped Tea when I saw their catalogue and decided that I would take my love of tea and my huge list of contacts and start building a secondary 'social' business. Both companies have a great compensation plan and small start up costs. And the BEST thing is that they sell products that are consumable/used up over time so there is a large chance of repeat customers and orders AND now I have an excuse to have friends over more often. We usually have tea/ coffee and snacks anyways, why not let them try a cup of my new tea from my business? http://www.mysteepedtea.com/CASSIEWOOD/
Don't have time to work from home? I am sure that you will surprise yourself. Many home based businesses are built around the idea that you have a busy life and therefore the business 'plan' is flexible to help you work around your schedule. No set hours and no boss. Keep in mind though that you will get out what you put into it. I do very well with my business considering it is part time, and I am not taking much time away from my family. I know that if I do it full time later I will do even better, but for right now I have found a good even balance.
3) Sign up for Google Calendar.
This is one of the best tools that I have found for trying to keep my life organized. I have my Google calendar synced with my phone so that I get a reminder before an appointment and can easily add and delete events, appointments, and meetings. I have gone so far as to schedule in friends for coffee or play dates. I use it to plan out the week so I don't miss potential play groups for the kids, forget to return library books, miss soccer registration night, or forget to phone family members. If it is on my schedule, it is happening. And seeing that Google Calendar is free, I SAVE MONEY. I don't have to purchase a day planner yearly, deal with scribbles and erasing, and try to fit all info into a small block on the page, or lose or forget my planner at home. Or better yet, forget to use my planner. When you get busy, your planner definitely doesn't jingle at you 15 minutes before your scheduled calendar appointment either....
4) Realize time opportunities
Time management is usually a skill that is learned with trial and error. I , myself, am a terrible procrastinator. Through using my Google Calendar and 'scheduling' things, as well as making myself an ongoing and running list for to do's I am able to 'practice' time management skills. I am getting better at getting things done and with my new skills that I have learned with being more organized in the home, I am slowly getting better at NOT procrastinating as badly. I have found reward in 'time' for accomplishing tasks, and a definite decrease in stress when I see things dropping off the list.
Part of time management is 'realizing' time opportunities. Usually it is in moments where the kids are busy playing with playdough, watching morning cartoons, or playing quietly in their room, that you can realize a small slots of free time. These are moments in time when I can TRY to get into my hobby, my business, and maybe even catch a quick shower, or make a cup of tea and just sit. I believe that time management should really be called ' Realizing Opportunity' in supermom lingo.
Creating a schedule with your family can be the best tool to help time opportunities appear. A set bed time, supper started early enough or prepared the night before and timed for a certain time each night can be your best ammunition toward NOT losing free time at the end of the day. And even then free time might mean an early bedtime for yourself...but with practice it will work out more and more often. :)