How to Find Time for Yourself as a Busy Mom
You may have heard that time is money.
The truth is–your time is more valuable because, unlike money, you cannot get it back.
I used to spend my days working through my seemingly endless to-do list, frustrated and exhausted at the end of the day.
I used to read mom blogs and wonder—how on earth do these women find time to blog?
With kids? In the house? With all the stuff in the house?
I was desperate for margin in my days, but I barely had time to shower, much less do anything for myself.
Or so I thought.
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TIME IS MONEY
After doing some thinking, I thought that maybe–similar to money–time can be budgeted. I wondered, how much extra time could I come up with in a day?
Enter time blocking.
On a piece of paper, I listed the main things I did every day. I took note of my waking and bed times. A typical day with no extra activities went something like this:
7:30am – wake up
8:00am – wake kids up/morning routine
8:30am – breakfast
9:00am – school drop off
10:00am – housework
12:00pm – lunch
12:30pm – play with K & N
1:00pm – naptime
3:00pm – school pick up
3:30pm – afternoon snack
4:00pm – play time/homework
5:00pm – dinner
6:00pm – clean up
7:00pm – bath time
7:30pm – night time routine
8:00pm – tuck ins
8:30pm – prepare for next day
9:00pm – wind down
10:00pm – bedtime
Lo and behold, I found little hidden pockets of time like loose change all throughout my day.
If I pushed back my rising time to 6:00am, I would have plenty of time for reading, prayer, meditation, and maybe even a quick workout before waking the kids.
If my goal was to start a blog, I could devote the morning hours to writing.
If I went to bed at 10pm, I would still get a good 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
The naptime hours might have been devoted to catch up on chores or even taking an actual nap before, but this is prime time for a workout or hobby.
With a budget, you tell your money where to go.
Time blocking is basically a budget for your time.
BATCH TASKS TO SAVE TIME
There are certain times when I need to be fully present with my kids–like dinner time, homework time, and tuck-in time, family meals, and perhaps a game or two, for instance.
Otherwise, doubling up some tasks can be a huge time saver.
For example, I start laundry first thing in the morning so that it’s going while I start the rest of my day.
I can make phone calls while I’m washing dishes.
I can clean my bathroom while the kids are in the bathtub, then I can mop up all the water they splash on the floor if I’m really on a roll.
I often meal prep for other meals and snacks while I’m making breakfast. I double recipes and freeze the leftovers so that I only do half of the cooking.
Getting the kids involved in the housework teaches responsibility AND saves you time (depending on the task). There are so many ways to find hidden pockets of time in the day.
WHY MARGIN MATTERS
All work and no play leads straight to burnout. Burnt out moms have trouble sleeping, don’t eat well, and they are snippy with everyone in the house.
For a long time, I suffered from a martyr mentality. I believed that my self-sacrifice was noble in some way–a rite of passage as a mother and that I was loving my family more by giving every bit of myself to them.
In reality, I was led astray by my pride and selfishly prioritized my precious to-do list over my husband and kids.
Trust me, they did not like it one bit.
I hope you hear me when I say that your world does not rest on your shoulders.
If your kids have PB&J for breakfast and dinner once in a while, or their socks don’t match, or your house isn’t perfectly tidy when your friend stops by for a surprise visit–the world will not, I repeat NOT slip off its axis.
You, my friend, are not a machine. You are an irreplaceable human being with a soul, and taking care of yourself is not a nuisance but an absolute necessity.
Taking care of yourself is one of the most important ways you will show your family that you love them.
When you leave margin in your schedule to attend to your needs, you can offer your family your best self.
And of course you want the best for your family, right?
FIND SPACE IN YOUR SCHEDULE
So what is it that you need to find time for? A new hobby? Working out? Starting a blog? Self care?
Let me know what you would love to make time for in the comments!