Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Time for Myself
(Repost) One of the things that shocked me about motherhood is that I am never off the clock. Its eternal. Seriously. Most things end but not mothering. School lets out for the summer and everyday at a certain time. A job has certain hours plus vacation days. But not being a mother. There is no time clock. There is no vacation. There is no stopping point. Ever.
After much frustration, I have learned I can't compartmentalize my mothering. I literally would say "I am off the clock. Its past 8:00 pm and I am not responding." This didn't really work. First of all because Scotty said it was ridiculous and second of all because my girls didn't stop needing me at bedtime.
So if you can't beat them, join them. That means that I am in it for life. I have decided that these little people are my new best friends and I will love them 24 hrs. a day. (Don't worry, I don't mean I won't lead them and fall into some crazy philosophy that children need us to be friends instead of parents.)When I became a parent I became a mother for LIFE. Plus, now that I have accepted the children as a part of life, I have much more joy enjoying them.
Even though I am very "pro-motherhood" and "pro-be-with-children-more", I also have a plan to maintain some time alone (but no, that picture above isn't me reading...I didn't want to spend my precious alone time making a selfie of me reading. Ha!)
1. I get up before the children do so I can get a good attitude, eat, get dressed, read my Bible, stretch, go to the bathroom (a luxury once they are awake), and write out the schedule on the marker board. If I have a newborn then this plan is out the window and I let other things go in life so I can make it through the first three months.
2. No one is allowed to get up before 8:00 unless they are capable of not talking, needing anything, and staying out of the way and it better be for a good reason. That is, of course, after I greet them lovingly (which isn't easy but this post may help...
Otherwise, when they get up before 8 I greet them and send them back to bed to read or play quietly until I come get them. For the toddler that gets up at 7:00, I change a diaper and give a drink while they stay in their bed and it buys me about 20 min. Then, I go in and turn on the light and turn off the noise maker and give books and toys, that buys me another 20 min, and then I send an older sibling in to play for with them which buys me the last 20 min of time until 8:00. It isn't perfect but it works most of the time.
3. Everyone takes an hour break in the middle of the day. It doesn't matter if you are 10 yrs old, we are all taking a break. Everyone goes to their own bed or if I am gracious some can rest in the living room with no talking. If you are 4 and under you must sleep. If you are 5 and older and can make it through the day without meltdowns then you can just have quiet time. Books, drawing pads (no markers or crayons), magnet boards, puzzles etc are allowed.
4. Everyone goes with Daddy at 8:00 pm. Scotty takes over after I do after baths/showers/teeth for the girls. This allows me time alone until we get our couples time at 9:30 and he can bond with the children. There are exceptions like when he travels or has a message to write or is in a pastoring crisis but overall this is what we do.
5. Date nights, nights at grandparents, and getaways are on our calendar. (See post Staying Connected at
These are all the ways I keep my mind and emotions from being overwhelmed and not having time alone. This is crucial especially for those that home school or have multiple little ones. Since you are in this mothering journey for LIFE, you must have a plan to stay fresh so you can be the best mama you can be.
P.S. We also have a rule of no needing me while I use the restroom unless its an emergency (vomit, blood, danger) and no note-passing under bathroom door asking questions either (believe it or not this is a hard one to break for my girls).
And if you only have small children then you may just need to plan your potty break around their naps or video time or just take the baby with you in there...they won't remember it. But I don't recommend you going to the bathroom while they are eating in the kitchen because seems like every time I do this someone ironically starts choking or it is so silent I think someone is choking the whole time I am away which leads to being tense while I am away and we all know that's not healthy.
Yeah, being a mother takes some major planning even for the bathroom sometimes!