How to Find Time for Yourself as a Busy Mom

by | Mar 21, 2018 | time management

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 mean–the stuff in the house alone is enough, amiright?

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!

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34 Comments

  1. Kelsey

    I can’t imagine how busy being a stay at home mom must be! I feel like I barely have time for my own life haha

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Ha! It’s all about perspective. Someone recently told me that balance is not 50/50–it’s doing what’s most important right now. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  2. Amy @ Orison Orchards

    I love your suggestions, especially batching tasks. My day looks similar to yours, maybe I can find some spare time, too!

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      There’s gotta be a minute or two floating around in the day somewhere! Hope you find it. Thank you for reading!

      Reply
  3. Dee At My Dee Dee's Diary

    You are so well organized. I’m finding time to do everything and give myself time slots as well.

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Hi Dee,

      Thank you, I wish I was as organized as my schedule. It gives me something to shoot for, which is way better than what I was doing before haha. Thank you for reading. Hope you find a routine that works for you.

      Reply
  4. Sunni

    “You are an irreplaceable human being with a soul, and taking care of yourself is not a nuisance but an absolute necessity” – I love this! I know I don’t take enough care of myself cause I see SO many things to do and just want to do them all at once instead of taking a break. Great reminders!

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Sunni,
      I hope you can pencil yourself in! Thank you for reading!

      Reply
  5. Mimi

    I feel like I’m always so busy and I’m not even a mum, I don’t know how you do it

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Thank you Paula! It certainly does help.

      Reply
  6. Rachel

    I tell people about batching all the time and they look at me like “what are you talking about”! I love how you explained it!

    Reply
  7. Kristin Cook

    So, so true! The world will still turn and all is still well if every little thing isn’t pristine. Good reminders. I get up earlier than I have to so that I can have coffee and blog. It really does help.

    Reply
  8. Gabby

    Yes! I’m not a SAHM but I do have a busy schedule and often find myself overwhelmed with what I need to get done during the day. I have found that not only is writing my schedule out helpful but also thinking about how much time things ACTUALLY take. When I keep everything in my mind I end up thinking one task will take an hour when really its only 10 min. That makes a huge difference!

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Yes! Timing your tasks is so helpful. If I know it’s only going to take me 10 minutes to wash dishes rather than an hour, I’m less likely to dread it and more likely to just get it done. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  9. Erin Haugerud

    Great routine! Why is showering such a struggle?!

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Hey Erin–to be honest, I don’t know! It only takes me five minutes to shower, ha! Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  10. ShootingStarsMag

    Great tips! Breaking your day down can definitely help you get more finished. And multi-tasking when you can is always good. 🙂

    -Lauren

    Reply
  11. Samantha

    It’s crazy how busy us moms can be! I like this breakdown of your schedule.

    Reply
  12. Linda

    Batching / multi-tasking is key for me too! I’m a SAHM home school Mom, with a husband, a blog, and an an art business to boot! I am not always 100% on task but batching sure does help a ton! Now to find “me time” in the mix! ?

    Reply
  13. Rosemerry R Blash

    This was a great post. I couldn’t find the printable. It seems I got stuck in a loop between pinterest and the post. I love the ideas you shared.

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Hi Rosemerry, thank you for letting me know! I fixed it. And thank you for reading.

      Reply
  14. DANIELLE BRONSON

    Oh how relatable this post is! As a mommy of 8 with a blog and a 1000 other things that need my attention in the day. I loved the idea of loose pockets of time like loose change. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      So glad you found this relatable, Danielle. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read this!

      Reply
  15. Karen

    I really enjoyed reading this post and realize that I do some of these things. I need to restructure my day so I don’t feel Burnt out sometimes. Being a mommy is a tough job but I enjoy it. I want to be the best for my son!

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Karen, it’s really hard sometimes. Best wishes. Thank you for reading!

      Reply
  16. Britney

    I’ve been horrible about making time to eat real food! I’ve been so busy with kids working and life, I just want to toss something in the microwave!

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Britney, I understand the struggle! It all balances out somehow.

      Reply
  17. Tara

    This was a great reminder that I cannot and shouldn’t have to do everything! I definitely need to start time blocking. I love meal prepping on Sundays so that is a start. Thanks for the post.

    Reply
  18. Ariel | www.mamaofkings.com

    I NEEDED this post! I am a stay-at-home mom to three under the age of 5, homeschooling, full-time blogger, author, and also working part-time from home too. I have been having a hard time as far as planning goes, whereas pre-kids I was OCD about my schedule. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Kat Charles

      Ariel, you are one busy mama! So glad you found this helpful! Batching tasks comes in very handy when you’re doing so much, especially with homeschooling! Homeschooling is like a full-time job in itself. Hope you’re finding time to sleep! Thank you for reading!

      Reply

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Meet Kat

Hey there!  I'm Kat, homeschooling mom of four.  I'm on a journey to design a life I don't want to hide in the bathroom from.  Sound good to you?  Hope you'll join me!

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