One of the Mother Myths hanging out there is that we just don’t have the time in our crazy calendars to take care of ourselves. When exactly are we supposed to sit for almost two hours while we get a mani/pedi?
Wait – go out at night with a girlfriend and let the rest of the family fend for themselves with a frozen pizza and popcorn? Heaven forbid! Besides, when will you get to do the laundry, go through coupons or organize that Tupperware cabinet you’ve been meaning to get to?
Well, we’ll discuss priorities in another post, but suffice to say, there is a nice, bright light at the end of your crowded tunnel.
First, however, before you read any further, you must do one important thing.
You need to have a paradigm shift in your thinking of who controls your calendar. If you have given that control over to other people in your life, you must take it back – immediately. This is more of a mental exercise than anything, because unless you are in control of your time, these “3 Simple Things…” will become significantly more difficult.
So just close your eyes for a moment and take back control of your time and calendar. It may be a bit of a tug-of-war at first, but know you are more powerful and take it back! It’s okay, I’ll wait until you return…
Okay, ready? Now that you are in possession of your time and calendar, these 3 Simple Things will help you to open up time on that calendar.
1. Just say “No”
Stop trying to be everything to everyone all the time. When you limit your commitments, time will suddenly appear on your calendar that you never realized you had.
For example, don’t volunteer to host or co-host every friend’s party, neighborhood BBQ, or holiday family gathering. The party may not be as fabulous as if you had planned it, but chances are good you will enjoy it more because you are the guest and not the host for the umpteenth time.
Delegating your chores to your children and spouse is another way to start seeing daylight in your schedule. Of course, the laundry won’t get folded just right and the dinner may not be as gourmet as if you did it (or maybe it will be!), but it will get done.
There is an added benefit to this as well, and that is the fact that you are teaching your children invaluable life skills. We know of a mother whose two daughters are heading off to college in the fall and neither of them know how to cook, clean or do their own laundry. Their mother is quite literally scared for them. When we asked why she never taught them, she said what we have all said at least a dozen times ourselves, “I didn’t have the patience to teach them. It was just easier and quicker if I did it.” Well, that may be true, but now her children are not prepared to live on their own and she has lost years of opportunities to have some personal time. It would have been a win-win situation. Yet hindsight being what it is, all we can do is learn from her well-intentioned mistakes. So delegate, delegate!
3. Go Away!
Don’t feel you have to stay for every play date, birthday party and family visit your child goes to.
Now don’t freak out, but we are here to tell you that, even though your kids haven’t seen you all week, they may still want to hang out and play with their friends on the weekend for a couple of hours. Birthday parties and play dates are their opportunity to go crazy with their friends for a while.
And here is your perfect opportunity to sneak in a Mommy Time-Out.
If your children are old enough and you know and trust the other parents, ask if you could do a drop off/pick up for this party or play date and you will chaperone the next. Chances are real good the other parents will take you up on the offer.
Play dates and parties not on your schedule? How about a couple of hours to visit with grandma or auntie? What a great opportunity to bond with other family members. It’s only two hours out of a week, and again, the benefits you and your children gain far outweigh the alternative.
The Impossible Becomes Possible!
Opening up time in your schedule is not impossible; you just need to remember that you have more control over those blocks of time than you think.
You’ll also find that it will become easier with each “Me-Time” you schedule, because not only are you training yourself, you are training everyone else in your life. Setting a good example of being in control of your time and your sanity will impress your children, spouse and friends alike.
More importantly, by lightening your load you will you have more opportunity to take a consistent Time-Out, and as a result you will inevitably feel less stressed and overwhelmed.