I came across an interesting post on my birth board today. The poster stated that she feels as though she is running on nothing more than steam and needs a little "me time´ away from the family and out on her own. Her problem, though, is a common one that many moms working out of the home face: by going out and doing something when her children are at home, she is giving up even more time that she could be spending with her family.
As a work at home mom, I don´t have this problem to the same extent, since I can work during naptime and then spend some time with my daughter during the day. However, if you work outside of the home and can´t see your children at all during the workday, you really want to see them when the day is over.
My best friend has this problem as well. She works full time during the week so has only the weekends in which to spend large chunks of time with her daughter. She feels guilty if she wants to go out for a highlight and pedicure on a Saturday, or to meet up with some friends for coffee on a Sunday morning.
I thought I´d share some solutions that I read on the birth board and also that I got from my girlfriend.
First, schedule night out times with friends once your children go to bed. My daughter goes to bed every night at 7:30 or 8:00. For me, this is pretty late, and at this time of the evening I´m quite tired. However, the one girl that said she spends her time away at night after her children are in bed said that even though she is tired when the time comes to actually go out, once she gets out she feels fine. She schedules monthly dinners or movie dates with her girlfriends.
My girlfriend does something similar. She is a music teacher at an elementary school. One night per week she plays in a local orchestra. She leaves the house around 6:30, so just an hour and a half before her daughter goes to bed. She makes sure that she goes home early that day and takes her daughter to the park before leaving for orchestra. This evening is considered daddy and daughter time, so while my friend is out doing something that she loves, daddy is home spending bonding time with his daughter. Everyone is happy with the arrangement.
Schedule your "me time´ on the weekend when your husband or a family member can spend some quality time with your children. I tend to take my me time on the weekends, because I have more energy and it allows my husband some time to spend one on one time with our daughter. She enjoys having daddy take her to the park, and I get a few hours away from the house to unwind. It´s amazing what just three hours will do!
If your children are younger, schedule your me time around naps. If you really feel like you can´t leave the house when your children are awake, then schedule your me time during their naps on the weekend. Take a two-hour break, go out and grab lunch, see a movie, or take a book to the local coffee shop and enjoy some quiet time.
Though it´s difficult to take time away from your children when you barely have enough time to spend with them as it is, it is definitely an important thing to do. Remember, an important part about being a mom is identifying when burnout is setting in and then going out and doing something about it. Oftentimes just a few hours away will be enough to help you renew and recharge; not only will you notice the difference, but your children will as well.