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Lets be real here. Finding time for yourself as a parent can be tough. Whether your child is a newborn or twenty they are probably still taking up much of your time. My own daughter is one and I’m always struggling to find the right balance. Between working from home, my husband working shifts, owning an allotment, having family nearby, having pets and Daisy too there is always lots to do. Add to that wanting to get out more, wanting to have a clean home and wanting to find time for date nights and we are pretty busy. Time is the one commodity, besides sleep, that parents seem to want so badly. It is possible to find time for yourself but often by sacrificing something else. Now I’ve made a list of little ways that I’m finding me time as a parent. I also wrote about my first year as a parent recently.
1 – Wake up early
This is a bit of controversial one I know. Firstly your children may wake up at random times of the morning. Sometimes 5am, sometimes 7am. Once a week I try and have a day where I wake up at 6am. My daughter often stays asleep until 6:30am – 7am, depending on bedtime. This means that I’ve got 30-60 minutes for myself. I use this time to have a hot coffee, a nice long shower and write my to do list. I love to be organised by keeping a #kickerlist which is my own form of a to-do list. If my daughter is still sleeping at the end of that then I get us organised for the day. This means during the day I’ve more time for us to play toys together and just relax. I try and do this on a day where I don’t have a lot of work to get done. This means that if I wake up, and my daughter does too, that I didn’t have anything specific that I had to get done. I like to use the *vibration function of my Fitbit to wake me up. This works well as it means I don’t disturb my daughter or husband.
2 – Take care of my skin during bath time
My daughter is one. This means that she needs constant supervision when she is in the bath. Despite my constant supervision she still managed to fall out and have to go to hospital a couple of months back. When I like to do is look after my skincare during bath time. Firstly I will spend time playing toys with my daughter. Then I wash her body, and hair, and brush her teeth. Once the essential cleaning is out of the way my daughter is happy to play toys. I stand right by the side of the bath and then I cleanse, tone and moisturise. This allows me to have a few minutes to relax, and look after myself. I’ve been using these Clinique products: cleanser, toner and moisturiser. The first week or so I had some breakouts but my skin is always breaking out anyway. Now it is starting to look and feel better. Finding me time as a parent for me means that I look better on the outside and feel better on the inside.
3 – Watch YouTube as I carry out chores
I love to watch videos on YouTube now. This is something I’ve discovered in the last month or so. Personal favourite channels for me are Cora Harrison and Ted Talks. Really both of these videos can be put on in the background. They are descriptive enough if you can’t watch 100% of the time you’ll still get the value. I love videos where people share insights into their lives, which Cora does, along with her partner. I also love videos where you can possibly change as a person. Ted Talks is great for this. I just watched ‘What makes a good life?’ and it was an eye opener. I always feel like I learn something for these videos. Finding me time as a parent is something that I’m keen to do but I also need to keep on top of the chores. This is a happy medium for me on a busy day!
4 – Take my little one to soft play
Now this is a bit of a controversial one I’m sure. Sometimes soft play is hell on Earth. However, if you can find a good one then you’re golden!! Personally we’ve got one 0.5 miles from our home. It has nice food, including lots of food suitable for babies with allergy. There are segregated areas depending on the age of your baby. If I attend with my husband then we can take it in turns to go play with Daisy. This is great fun and increases our happiness. Also, neither one of us has to cook AND we can have a hot cup of tea or coffee. The prices are really reasonable too which is nice. Failing the ability to go to soft play why not just buy a ball pit and throw your little one in!
5 – Meal plan / Use my slow cooker
This is a big deal in our household. By using my slow cooker I am able to save us time and money. When I’ve had a long day, or an unexpected poosplosion then I don’t need to worry. If I need 15 minutes to sit down once Daisy is in bed I can have it. There is less washing up, less preparation time and I can delay dinner if I need to. Also, Daisy can have her dinner at 4:30-5pm and we can eat at 6:30pm if my husband is on day shifts. Meal planning keeps our budget in check, stops us eating too many takeaways and makes day to day life easier.
6 – Facetime a loved one
I like to find some time to FaceTime a loved one. Usually I ring my sister or my Mum. I like to do this just before Daisy goes to bed. We can all sit and have a chat. My family get to see Daisy regularly and she remembers their face next time she sees them in the flesh. This prevents her being shy or feeling anxious and makes for a nicer holiday or day together with family.
If my husband is on night shifts then I like to give my sister a ring and have a longer chat. My sister lives 200 miles away and is a single Mum to 5 children. Ringing one another allows our bond to stay tight, allows us to offload on one another and we have a great laugh too. If I have any stresses then I can talk to my sister about them and she can talk to me too.
7 – Set aside an evening for myself
This is the hardest of the 7 ways that I am finding me time as a parent. Being able to switch off for an entire evening is hard. Often my daughter is asleep by 6pm. By 8pm I find myself thinking that I should do some work. While being self-employed allows me the flexibility to do that I want to be finding me time as a parent. I have had to make a conscious effort to switch off but it is working well. During the evenings, depending on if my husband is home or not, I like to play video games, read books, relax in a long bath and just do things I enjoy. I don’t worry about work (much!), chores or other household tasks. Admin is ignored. I rarely go on my phone either. To make up for this I do have 5-10 minutes before bed just to catch up on comments on my blog, social media and my emails. This means that when I wake up the next day I’m not already behind on the day.
There are other ways that I’m finding me time as a parent too. These are some of the ways that I fit in to my day/week regularly. This works well for us as it allows me a few minutes peace and I feel like I’m still me, as well as a parent. My daughter loves playing alone with her toys so this gives me some free time each day, for work etc. However, I didn’t want to work from home when I had children so I could ignore them all day. I’m all about finding the right balance. I manage to fit in a little bit of everything most days. I never get all of my work done in a day. The same for chores. However, we are a happy family and we have lots of time together. That is the main thing for me