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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Making Time for Yourself

Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day!


While I'm guest posting over on Chronicles of a Babywise Mom (with a post about how we survive Sundays with two kids at church services!), Bethany from The Graceful Mom is guest posting on my blog! Enjoy her post today all about making time for yourself:


Do you have enough time for yourself? Chances are your answer is, No!...Good Grief, No! We could all use more time in almost every aspect of our lives. More time for devotions, to exercise, to clean, to spend with our children, to work on personal projects, let alone just downtime for ourselves.

Babywise has been the biggest blessing in giving me downtime almost every single night. Sure there are still nights I have something I need to get done after the kids are in bed instead of relaxing. Yes, there are definitely nights where one or both kids think sleep is optional. However, the vast majority of nights the past 3-4 years I have had 2 hours or more each night. I am very passionate about making those two hours for me and my husband.

As our kids have gotten older, it has definitely gotten trickier in keeping those hours simple. There are lunches to pack, chores undone, projects that cannot be done easily in one night, dates to schedule, laundry and laundry and laundry, meal planning, and so forth. I still have to be very intentional about keeping that time simple, and honestly, two hours often is not enough to feel rejuvenated or get much done for ourselves.

When I start to feel that nagging, itching feeling that I am becoming frustrated and overwhelmed with time racing away, there are a couple of things I do. First is evaluate what is causing me to feel most overwhelmed. Often I realize I have over committed myself or tried to take on too much. I really need that downtime most nights to remain patient and relaxed as a wife, mother, and person. When I don't even have time to unwind, I usually need to start cutting some activities, projects, or tasks out. Sure there are short periods of time that are just crazy, busy trying to prepare a birthday party, but even then I usually try to do too much. When I really stop to reflect, I could easily pull off an even better party without spending hours planning, creating, inviting, and such. Usually just sitting down and making list of what I *need* and *want* to do and what I have going on makes it much more clear to see what I should drop or simplify.

Second, my husband and I make sure that each of us has one evening a week to have the night off. He usually goes to exercise and/or play frisbee. A lot of times I meet another mom for dessert. Sometimes I just go browse a craft store or bookstore. It is a night just to focus on our own hobbies, interests, or plans. Helping with dinner or bedtime is entirely optional. It can be easy to forget or pass it up or schedule other activities, but we have really made a concerted effort to make sure each of us uses a night every week or so to be by ourselves.

Photo Credit: RelaxingMusic

We also make a point to spend time with each of our children alone. When I feel my patience vaporizing, it is often refreshing to spend some time one one one with each child. They have such intense and vibrant personalities individually that do not always shine through at home with their sibling. We do set aside dates with each that are not for running errands, but there is value in the lessons and conversations I experience with each child in little day to day activities one on one. Sometimes just soaking up their little personality is enough to help me rejuvenate my mind and feel balanced again.

I do feel strongly that each of us needs some time to ourselves, though. You cannot be a great wife and mother if you are consumed with others all the time, especially because tiredness is almost inevitable. Everyone needs time to recharge. Some of us need time with girlfriends and some of us need time alone in a quiet coffee shop somewhere. It doesn't matter if you stay home with your children or work outside the home. All of us need to be true to ourselves and find ways to make that time a priority. If your husband works evenings or long hours, find a babysitter for a few hours at least 1-2 times a month. If money is limiting, trade time with another mom every month.

By making time and re-evaluating priorities, I have easily refreshed myself and found hobbies and interests I never imagined. I usually have a completely different perspective when I come back. Getting together with a girlfriend is almost a non-issue since my husband and I make sure we extend grace to each other in making plans each week. My challenge to you, especially if you are feeling worn out, is to go ahead and schedule a few hours away. What will you do with your free time this week? 

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