It's no secret that "me time" pretty much goes out the window when you become a mommy....with the sweet exception of naps. Aaaahhhh naps. Every parenting book and online forum says that toddlers generally nap until the age of 3. My little one, on the other hand, had different ideas. She stopped napping a little before she turned 2, which left me in the dark about how I was supposed to get anything done. Ever. Because at age 2, a busy toddler needs pretty much constant supervision/attention. It's been a work in progress but I've managed to come up with some ways to squeeze in a little "me time" on most days. Even in the absence of sweet, sweet nap time.
1. Quiet time where nap time used to be. Regardless of whether Avery sleeps or not, I've still stuck to our afternoon nap schedule. This means that between 1 and 2 o'clock, we wind down with some story time in her reading nook and then I put her in her crib. I tell her "it's nap time," give her a kiss, and tuck her in. About 4 seconds later, I watch through the monitor as she kicks the blankets off herself and starts jumping on the bed. She'll talk to her stuffed animals, sing, jump some more, do some weird yoga poses, and so on. She tried to climb out of the crib once, but we nipped that in the bud quickly by moving her mattress to the floor. No way she is scaling a crib wall that is higher than the level of her head (I hope). So while Avery has her "quiet time" in her crib, I take some time for myself to unwind. She usually lasts 20-30 minutes, which is just enough time for me to drink a cup of coffee and get a few household things done. I find that this really helps me get re-energized for the afternoon/evening and allows me to be more present and attentive with Avery. Plus I truly think it's good for her to have some time to herself too.
2. Early mornings. I've always been a morning person, but even more so now. I love the quiet and the solitude of the hours before everyone wakes up. I get ample "me time" in the early morning of 2+ hours during which I can easily fit in a workout, shower, breakfast, and some reading without interruption. It does mean that I have to get to bed early, often right after we put Avery down between 8:30-9:00, but I typically have no trouble crashing at that time after a busy day.
3. Digital babysitter. People have lots of opinions about this one- here's mine: I'm okay with Avery watching a little TV or the iPad when I need to focus my attention elsewhere. I usually let her watch a show while I cook dinner. And drink a little wine in the meantime. Of course we filter what she watches and limit it to educational kids shows (Frozen IS educational, thank you. Very important moral lessons). We also generally limit screen time to 30 minutes or so per day (on most days....). As an added bonus, Avery will generally agree to sit on the potty in order to "earn" her screen time. Win-win.
4. Human babysitter. This one is obvious, yet we find ourselves rarely using this option. Since Avery is with a sitter during our work week, we want to spend as much time with her as possible during non-working hours. The balance we have found here is to let Avery spend one night per month at her grandparents house so that Brandon and I can go on a monthly date night. It's been great for our marriage, and a great way for Avery to bond with her grandparents too.
5. Dedicated relax time. I've really tried to be intentional about taking some time each day to relax. Even if it's just 1-2 minutes of deep breathing (let's be honest, while checking my Instagram feed). I can always find 1 or 2 minutes while Avery plays, or while she is eating in her high chair, or even while she is watching her 30 minutes of TV. Again, it's a way for me to re-set and try to let go of any stress/worry so that I can be a better wife and mommy for the rest of the day.
6. Involving the kiddo. Counter-intuitive, right? Sometimes "me time" takes the form of me sharing something I love with Avery, and it's totally rejuvenating. Don't get me wrong, this is not easy to do. Late night baking with some wine in hand = relaxing. Baking with a 2 year-old = not relaxing. Fun, but not relaxing. It just has to be the right activity. For example, a low key workout. Avery likes to jam out with me to Toddler Dance Radio while we do squats, push-ups, tuck jumps, etc. Sometimes she likes to by my resistance too (see photo below). Another example is going for a walk. They are usually short walks and we typically stop at every fourth rock we see, but its quite refreshing to just be outdoors and see my toddler enjoying something that I love so much.
Any other ideas you guys have would be greatly appreciated! Especially how any "me time" is had with 2+ kiddos....
I’m Betty and I live in the beautiful pacific northwest. I'm a mommy. Vegetarian. Wife to a meatatarian. Pediatric physical therapist. Outdoor enthusiast. Enjoyer of fitness/healthy living. Even bigger enjoyer wine and chocolate lava cake. And hoping to find some balance between it all.