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Making Time for Yourself

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 7 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Making Time For Yourself

Being a working mum means never having enough time to do everything. And with the often competing demands of your job, family and partner, it's rare that you have time to do anything for yourself at all. But making time for yourself is vital. It not only allows you to decompress and ultimately perform better in your other roles, but it's also fun.

It's also important to let your children know that you are an individual with your own needs, likes and dislikes. They need to see you indulging in your own activities and interests, and realise that Mummy is a person as well as a mother and breadwinner.

Remember, as the children get older you will gradually have more and more me time. Younger children require watching every minute unless they're asleep; older kids can entertain themselves reading, watching telly or doing homework, and later they'll even go out by themselves. Investing in time for yourself now will stop that empty-nest feeling from developing prematurely, when your kids aren't yet teens!

Time-Making Tips

Unfortunately, finding time for yourself is often impossible, especially if you work full-time. Here are ways to help you make the most of whatever time you do have.

  • Seize the day. Make use of every spare second and try to prioritise things that matter to you. Have an extra half hour after the kids are in bed? Instead of watching Eastenders repeats, why not have some rental copies of films you've always wanted to see on hand? Alternatively, spend ten minutes checking out a really good book next time you take the kids to the library, then run a hot bath and enjoy.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff. How many times have you been left with an unexpected hour or two, but instead of reading a book or calling a friend you end up doing the ironing, cleaning the bathrooms or taking notes for next week's work meeting? Let it slide – time spent on you is precious.
  • Save your energy. We've all booked an eagerly awaited night out with the girls weeks in advance, then cancelled at the last minute because we're too tired. Take a nap, go for a run or negotiate a lie-in to muster up the energy you need. It'll be worth it.
  • Speak up for yourself. If our husband goes to the pub every Sunday with his mates, you deserve time out as well. Don't be afraid to let him know, and don't feel guilty about having a good time!

Me-Time Ideas

When you're not used to having free time, it's hard to think of things to amuse yourself. Here are a few ideas to get you in the mood.

  • Out with the girls. It can be poker night, drinks at the pub or a girly movie. They need you and you need them. Enjoy it.
  • Take a class. Look online to see what's on offer – evening classes near your office might be the most convenient option, or something close to home.
  • Exercise. Go to the gym, walk around the park or take a bike ride. It's all up to you, anything to get those endorphins flowing and your heart racing. Kind of like having an affair - on your own.
  • Develop a new hobby. Whether it's poker night with friends, gardening or making a scrapbook for the kids, something you like to do that's fun and interesting can give you a new lease on life, especially if you start doing it regularly.
  • Shop till you drop. You bring home the money, now go out and spend it. Even if you only indulge in window-shopping, a little people-watching at your local shopping precinct can do you a world of good.
  • Pamper yourself. Get your nails done, a new haircut or even a bikini wax. It's about time someone else looked after you!
  • Sleep. Just shutting your eyes for half an hour can help you relax, even if you don't actually fall asleep.

Making time for yourself is important. You want it and let's fact it, you deserve it. Do things that YOU really enjoy, things you like and can afford that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, not broke and/or bored. And do it now!

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