These days, it seems that everyone is busy. Too busy. But as a single mom, the word takes on a whole new meaning for me. Grocery shopping? I’ll do that! Bath time, story time, lullabies? I’m all over it. Kissing boo-boos (10 million times)? No problem. Home-cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner? Yup, I’ll do that, too. Business development and a full time career? Yes and yes.
It’s exhausting just reading that, and I know I’m not alone feeling like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all, let alone get in some “me time.” Motherhood often means putting ourselves last, but it’s important to set aside time that’s our own. This is even more true for single moms like me because there isn’t anyone else at home to help pick up the slack, which means that we have to be “on.” All. The. Time.
I work 50+ hours a week and still find the time to do a yoga, barre or spin class three or four days a week. That is my “me time,” but yours can be whatever makes you feel good; turning off your phone and reading a book, meditating, getting a massage, whatever!
Since becoming a mom, I’ve heard a lot about the importance of making “me time” a priority, but what I couldn’t find was how to do that with everything else that has to be done for work, running a home, and staying engaged as a parent. So, instead of spending time trying to figure out how other moms do it, I figured out how I could do it!
It is amazing how just a few changes can add up to more time for things that make me happy. Here are some ways that I am more efficient in the other areas of my life, which allows openings for scheduling “me time:”
I plan out meals for the following week on Fridays before I shut down my work for the day. Yes, I would love to get home to see my daughter, Isla, or meet a friend for a glass of wine, but I have found that taking 30 minutes saves me hours of time over the next week. Then, I devote half of each Sunday to prepping the week’s meals (roast veggies, bake a chicken, make burger patties, marinade chicken, etc.) Isla loves to “help” me, so it’s actually great bonding and teaching time, too.
Cut 0ut television
I got rid of my television two years ago, and have never looked back. Reading is so much better! Besides, I work out during the work day, so I have to make that time up elsewhere. Instead of flipping on the TV after Isla goes to sleep, I work or read.
Double up on food prep
Every evening when making dinner, I also make Isla’s lunch for the next day. If I am making chicken, quinoa and broccoli for dinner, I grab a tortilla and make Isla a chicken and cheese quesadilla for the next day. Add a side of steamed sugar snap peas, and ta-da, lunch for the next day is ready! By prepping two meals, I save myself the time of having to get everything out again later in the evening or the next morning. Plus, I am already cleaning up after dinner, so a few extra dishes are easy to handle.
Make ME a priority
Finally, I schedule in my “me time” as nonnegotiable. I wouldn’t skip a client meeting because I need to get something else done, so why would I skip a meeting with myself? I don’t. Fortunately, I have a flexible job that allows me to work out during the work day, and then make up that time in the evening after Isla goes to sleep. So when my calendar alert pops up for yoga, I get up and go, and I feel better afterwards, every single time.