Finding time for yourself, to recharge and re-focus, is quite the challenge when you have a family in tow. As a parent it can feel selfish to ask for “time off”, but with recharged batteries the time you spend with your children will be much more enjoyable for all of you. There are plenty ways where you can find this “me” time, without doing any major schedule rearrangements.Say no
There is no shame in setting limits. You don’t have to attend every school trip or community event, it’s perfectly alright to say no if you feel you need a break. This also goes for your partner too. Don’t be afraid to decline offers and requests – even if it goes against other people’s expectations. Also, delegate household work to teach your children that they need to earn their pocket money (the fact of this giving you more feet-up-with-a-cup-of-tea time is just a happy accident).
Schedule time off
If you have a problem with finding time for yourself, get it down in black and white and schedule it in. This way everyone will know what to expect and that this time is for you – if something has to be planned, it should be outside of these hours. This can also help to bring a sense of order to an otherwise chaotic life.
Use flexible gym membership
Staying healthy and fit is a big ask for any parent, and finding the time to schedule a much needed workout can seem impossible. By signing up for a flexible gym membership you can go at any time, which makes it easier to incorporate into your life. You are not obliged pay when you decide you’re too busy to go, so you can attend the classes that are convenient for you without having to feel guilty if you don’t make it for a couple of weeks here or there.
Ask for help
Significant other, siblings, parents, friends, whoever you have in your life can babysit once in a while (they might even enjoy it). Having a support network of people around you is important, and getting your family and friends in on the picture is especially great for babies and toddlers as they get to interact with new faces.
If you know other parents with kids the same age as yours, discuss if it’s possible to set up a schedule where you all help out looking after each other’s families for an afternoon and evening once in a while. Your respective children will get to socialise with each other more often, and you’ll feel more refreshed for daily parenting if you get a well earned break every now and then.Start small
If all of the above does not help in carving out some time for yourself, start small. Just getting 10 minutes alone will be a godsend when stressed. Combine your me time with other activities, such as a bath or shower. Extend the time you spend on these activities by just a little, and this will give you a few more welcome minutes to relax when you can. You could also get up earlier in the morning, and where possible use this time to read or go for a walk or run.
Regardless of whether you have a support network, a flexible gym membership (if you live in the Coventry area, Pemberton Centre, Rushden offers pay as you go membership, in East Sussex the Lewes Leisure Centre, in Hampshire The Rapids, and in Worcestershire the Evesham Leisure Centre), or just take longer showers as suggested, finding time for yourself will lead to a more balanced life and a better time with friends and family.