When you’re a new mom, there is often a biological urge to forget about yourself completely and devote every ounce of your energy to your new love or loves! As time goes on you either start making time for yourself again or you stay in that same frame of one hundred percent devoted energy to your children. I don’t think it’s healthy to completely lose yourself to the point of neglecting your own basic needs. When I am finally able to take some time for myself, it doesn’t matter what I do, as long as I have the time to myself. How important, to just have a few thoughts to myself. Sometimes I’ll meditate in the yard or just look something up that I’m interested in. A yoga class or an outing, even just to run an errand, is a treat and I try to enjoy the solo time when I get the chance. When I drive without the kids, I play my favorite Jazz station and take my time, just letting my mind finally have a chance to wander.
Here are a few of the ways I’ve learned how to make time for myself with four young kiddos:
Independent Playtime- I started making independent playtime part of our regular routine, when the first two were about nine months old. I make sure this is a positive, fun and safe experience that help the kids gain independence and confidence in themselves. When they were very young, I surrounded them with their favorite toys, played fun music and cheerfully told them, “I’ll be right back”. I started with only a few minutes at a time and as they grew more confident with me out of their sight, I would add a minute or two, building their independent playtime stamina. While away, I would order groceries, change the laundry, sit and have a breather, whatever I needed. I always listen carefully and make sure their room is completely baby proofed. Sometimes during independent playtime, especially when they are very young, I listen or watch through the monitor if necessary. Now that they are four and two, all four are completely happy having independent playtime on their own or together, while I get a little done around the house. When I come back, most of the time everyone is fresh and in good spirits from the little down time and break.
Grandparent Play Dates- It has been so wonderful to have Adam’s parents or mine take the kids on a weekly basis for a few hours so I can have time to take care of things and honestly, catch my breath. If grandparents aren’t an option, a sitter or nanny will do!
Relaxing Evenings- We make sure all of the chores are done before the kids go to sleep so we can relax and recover after they go down! One of our routines that really helps with this, is the way we do bedtime. I sing and rock one baby to sleep at a time while the kids play with Adam. When I sing and rock the second baby to sleep, Adam reads the first book to the bigs. When I come out, I read the second book to the bigs and Adam does the dishes. The dishes are done, books are read, four kids are down, all in about twenty minutes. Then, right when the kids are tucked in, we start our parent only, relaxation time.
Hatch Baby Mornings- This has been one of the best products I’ve discovered that I didn’t know about before I was a parent. This awesome device is a night light, sound machine and the best part of all, it changes colors however you set it, so your child knows if it’s time to rise! It can even be controlled from your phone through the Hatch Baby App! For us, at bedtime a soft yellow light goes on and stays on all night and at 7am the light turns blue and the kids know morning is here and it’s time to wake up. We have a water sound set for the sound machine to help block out noises. If they wake up and the yellow light is still on, they can either go back to sleep or play or read quietly until the light turns blue. This has been an amazing, life changing product for our family. I know it’s a little pricey, but for me it is worth every penny!
Napping/Rest Time- Nap time is so necessary, not just for the kids to have some down time to recharge but for me, too. We have a routine that I don’t stray from. Songs and rocking for the littles and two books for the bigs and down they all go. Now that the bigs don’t actually sleep, I give them quiet activities during their rest time. Sometimes an audio book, a puzzle, beads, train tracks, etc. We use the Hatch Baby for nap time in addition to the mornings, which helps the kids know when rest time is over. Check out my favorite Quiet Time Activities, here:
QUIET TIME ACTIVITIES
Featured Activites: Train Track Set and Fuse Beads
My favorite Train Set, endless fun!
Fuse Beads- this set comes with a mermaid and a unicorn!
Adult Supervision (ages 3&up)
Kathleen, M.Ed.-mom of two sets of twins, educator, yoga instructor, nature enthusiast.