So you want to find more time for yourself during the day, but it’s not that easy.
If you’re anything like me, your days are full of taking care of your kids. You spend all your time feeding them, doing housework, running errands, and by the time the evening comes you’re too tired to spare energy for anything else. After the kids are (finally) asleep all you want to do is watch TV and relax.
How do you find the time for anything else when you’re run ragged caring for everyone else all day?
In this post I’m going to show you how I’m able to free up 2-3 hours a day as a stay-at-home mom to allow time for me to work on my business and have time for myself.
First, I should mention that I wasn’t always doing this. For the first year and a half of my daughter’s life, I was completely overwhelmed by the day to day stuff. I was also experiencing postpartum depression and we were on a tight budget financially so things felt really stressful at that time.
But once I started using these 5 tools for managing my time, everything started to change. Instead of letting time control me, I was able to control my time.
This allowed me to make room for things that were important to me that I felt I had sacrificed earlier in order to be a “good mom”. Things like going to yoga, taking a relaxing bath, listening to a podcast, reading a book, and working on my business. Now I know that taking care of myself is essential for me to be a good mother to my daughter.
You might not be looking for extra time to work on your business like I am. Instead you might just want time to do something fun for yourself like take a pottery class, go to yoga, or have a glass of wine with friends.
Whatever it is, we all need time for ourselves! And you deserve it. There is more free time in your day than you might think. The secret to figuring that out is to give yourself a time audit.
9 ESSENTIAL TIPS TO GIVE YOURSELF MORE FREE TIME IN MOTHERHOOD:
1. Get up earlier than your kids
If you get up before your kids, you can accomplish a lot more during your day. Some things you can do during the early morning hours are answering emails, paying bills, going to an early yoga class, doing a workout video at home, working on your business, etc.
In the morning you tend to feel much fresher for accomplishing tasks. It’s much harder at night when you’ve already done one million other things during the day.
The key is to go to bed early enough that getting up in the am doesn’t feel incredibly hard. Give it a week or two before you start to see a routine form. At first you might be more tired than anything but over time you’ll get the hang of it.
2. Limit the time you spend on your phone
If you go to your settings and look up screen time, you will see how much time you are currently spending on your phone daily. What if you put this time to better use? Instead of scrolling through instagram you could use this time to complete a quick chore around the house. Instead of looking at Facebook while your kids are playing at the park, you could do a workout on the grass. The easiest way to get started with this is to remove any apps on your phone that distract you. Try going without them for a day or two and see how you feel.
3. Multitask when you’re with your kids
Use the time you’re spending with your kids to get housework done and other errands. Have them help you with small parts of each job to keep them interested too.
4. Set boundaries for screen time at night
After I put my daughter to bed I’m usually pretty exhausted. All I want to do is relax on the couch with a TV show. But I’ve noticed that when I do this I end up staying up later and having a hard time falling asleep. So I switched to using this time to read a book, take a bath, or meditate to relax and prepare for sleep. This helps me go to bed earlier so that I can get up by 5:30 or 6:00 am.
5. Learn how to use time blocking
Time blocking has become my life raft after being a mom. If you haven’t heard of it, time blocking basically works like this – you divide your time in to blocks. Each block is spent on a different thing. For example, one time block might be for your morning routine (showering, feeding the kids, getting them ready for the day, etc)
6. Make big picture goals
This one is important. Without making goals for yourself, time will fly by really fast. What would you like to accomplish within the next 12 months? Maybe you want to eat healthier foods, or find a supportive group of mom’s to connect with. My big picture goals this year include finding more time to be consistent within my business, going to yoga more regularly, and making healthier lunches for myself (I always struggle with lunch prep for some reason).
In order to achieve these goals, I add smaller tasks and work towards them in my daily schedule. Even if it’s for 10 minutes a day – like doing this yoga at home every morning with my daughter. The small things done daily will add up to the big picture goals done over the year.
7. Create a “mom’s day off”
Having a mom’s day off is the most glorious invention ever. I’m sure I’m not the first person to ever come up with the idea. In our family, Sunday is mom’s day off”. That’s my day to do whatever I want and my husband takes on all the duties at home, including watching Luella and doing the housework. In the morning I like to go to a yoga class, or grab a coffee with a friend. And I usually spend the afternoon working. Basically, it’s a time to take things slow, and remind myself that I’m not just a mom. I love it.
It’s not always possible to create a full day off every single week. Some women do an evening off for themselves. Some take one day off every month. Whatever it is, make sure you write it in the calendar. That ways you have something really special to look forward to. A day that is just for you.
8. Work with the season of motherhood that you’re in
I learned this lesson the hard way. When I first had my daughter I expected that I would be able to start getting back to normal life pretty quickly. I pictured myself being able to work from home (at least a little bit), and go out for coffee with friends with a sleeping baby in tow. But the reality was very different. My daughter was a colicky newborn. She cried almost all of the time that I wasn’t breastfeeding which lead me to spending majority of the first 4 months feeding and cuddling her at home, while watching Netflix.. She would only sleep in a moving car or near my chest, so coffee dates were out. And there was no way I was going to get any work done either. Not exactly how I pictured the first part of my motherhood
But instead of embracing this very small season (it was only a couple of months ), I let it overwhelm me instead. Having nothing to compare it to, I was so worried my life would look like this forever. But in reality I was able to start working part-time around 4 months.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from that experience is this: Adapt to the season of motherhood that I’m currently in. Work with it rather than against it. I still use this method today. Now that my daughter is a three year old, I have more time to work, but I still schedule it around her – before she wakes up and after she goes to bed. I realize that in just two short years she will be in school and things will be completely different again.
9. Have a plan, but be flexible
Last but not least, it’s crucial to have a plan, but also just as crucial to be flexible with that plan.
This past Fall, my husband was riding his bike to work and he got into an accident and broke his hip. He was unable to walk for 3 months, and unable to do a lot of things. This completely changed our entire family schedule. I had to put a lot of my personal goals on hold. Instead I took care of my husband and my daughter. It was definitely challenging, but the hardest part is over. We’re almost back to normal (he can start walking again next week) and I’m able to squeeze in time for myself again.
We all know that life happens and there’s nothing you can do about it. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and do the best you can.