In one of my recent articles I was talking about staying professionally fit during the maternity leave. I have also promised you to give some ideas on how to find some spare time for any personal growth activities in a busy mom schedule. So here they are, the tricks which worked for me and which hopefully will help you.
It’s not a secret that taking care of a small child is more challenging and time consuming than any full-time job. Many moms can think of plenty of great things they would like to do daily, but never manage to get on the track because of the lack of time. I was the same. I had such great plans, I wanted to learn a foreign language, to listen to the self-growth podcasts, to complete online courses, etc. And I kept on postponing all these activities because I didn’t have time. Until I’ve realized a simple truth, you will never HAVE time, but you can TAKE time for something which is important for you.
So, first, give yourself permission to take your time and use it for what you chose to do. It will be always a choice, should you wash dishes or take an online language lesson, clean the house or read an inspiring article? Definitely, your child and family are always your priorities, but don’t try to finish all the house hold duties before you start to do something for yourself. Otherwise you may never start.
Remember, happy mother means happy family!
So, let’s start to hunt for some free minutes.
♥ Think of how much time a day could you have for yourself
Try to be realistic. When I was home with my son I set myself a goal of half an hour of productive time for myself. In this half an hour I would learn something new, work on my skills, etc.
♥ Now think when during your day you would like to have this time
For example, it could be in the evening when your husband is at home and can take care of the child or early morning when everyone is sleeping and you can fully focus on yourself. As for me, I am not a morning person and I wanted to spend evenings together with my husband and child, so I preferred to have my half an hour during the day, when my son was asleep.
♥ Plan your activities.
As boring as it might sound, planning is a key for successful time management. Make yourself a daily list of what you want to do, when, and how much time you need for it. If you are not used to do it, start slowly. First observe how much time do you need for certain tasks, try to see where you can save some time. Sometimes we try to be perfectionists in our daily duties. By that we spend much more time on a task which can be do same good in a shorter time. If you recognize yourself, try to set yourself time limits for certain tasks, e.g. 20 minutes for bathroom cleaning, not more. Do as much as you can in these 20 minutes and move on once this time is over. See if it works for you, but I could save some precious minutes with this method.
♥ Know what you want to do in your free time.
If we don’t have a clear idea of what we want to do in a given time period, we tend to spend more time browsing without any goal, spending time on Facebook or reading news. So, if you want your time to be productive, set yourself a goal and don’t get disturbed.
♥ Consider multitasking.
Yes, I know that mom’s life is nothing else but constant multitasking, but still try to think if you can do something useful for your self-development while you are busy with another task. For example, my son had a period when the only way to put him to sleep for a midday nap was to take him out and stroll for a while. That meant that every day after lunch I needed to go out for about 30 minutes. I didn’t need to interact with my son, since the goal was to put him to sleep, so I was literally making rounds around our building hoping for him to fall asleep as soon as possible, so I could come back home and do something useful. To be honest I was quite annoyed by this. However, then I started to use this time for listening to some inspiring podcasts, audio trainings, etc . on my smartphone. And I actually started to look forward to this afternoon strolls! You can do the same while you are washing dishes or cleaning the apartment.
♥ Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Sometimes you just need to take a time for yourself, for completing something which is important to you, plan your future actions or simply clear up your mind. Don’t be shy to ask your partner or close friends to stay with the kids. If you feel comfortable, share with them why you need this time, what do you want to do. Most probably they will be happy to support you. Otherwise a nanny or a babysitter can be a good option.
♥ And the last, but not the least, enjoy everything you do!
Remember, your goal is to be a happy mom and not a super productive robot. Be kind to yourself! Praise yourself if you follow your daily plan, but don’t get frustrated if something gets in the way. This is life, so enjoy every moment as much as you can.