When I was a new mom of two under two, I remember looking to a more seasoned mom for a little support and inspiration. She had three kids after all and they were all older than mine, she must know what she is doing.
We aren’t in contact much anymore…her kids got older and bigger and developed other “big kid” interests and I got the hang of my new mommy status. What I did get from our sort of brief interaction of wow-I’m-a-mom-too was her 15-minute rule. It went like this, “Give yourself 15 minutes a day of something that you really love to do–uninterrupted.” Gee…only 15 minutes?!? I’d much rather have 15 hours! Ok., beggars can’t be choosers.
I have revised this 15 minute rule to fit me. After a really intense play session with my kids–say we’re all playing “camping girls,” an imaginative play they’ve taken to recently, I take a 15-minute just-for-me break (set a timer if you must). I might check my email or sneak in a little reading. Then I hit it again–another intense session of playing chase or hide and seek. Followed by another break.
When we give our kids that undivided time they crave, they eat it up. And they stop pestering you for the umpteenth time because they know you’ll be back for your next kid-time session.
What can you do in 15-minute stretches of time?
- File your nails and apply some nice lotion
- Scrub 3 toilets (that’s not really “you” time…but needs to get done, right?)
- Read a chapter of a book
- Flip through “People” magazine
- Do sit-ups and stretches
- Rest your eyes
- Put a few final touches on a scrapbook page
- Surf the Internet
- Catch up on Facebook
- Make an appointment for something special like a manicure or a haircut
Here’s another idea you may want to add to the rhythm of your day: active activity followed by a passive activity and so forth. This works great in the summer time when the kids can get outside more. For example, let your kids run and play for awhile and then have them inside for a quiet coloring time. Next, let them play Wii for a bit, followed by quiet reading time.
Trust me, if you follow this 15-minute rule, you and your kids will feel much more balanced.
What other ideas do you have for maintaining your sanity?