So with all of the things a busy single work-at-home mom has on her plate, “Me” time tends to get bumped down to the bottom of the priority list. But remember that saying: “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” There’s some truth to that. Just by taking a little time for yourself to relax, rejuvenate, and do something you enjoy, you’ll feel better and your kids will benefit from it too. Knowing that single moms are short on both time and money, here are a few ways to make the most of your “Me” time.
Say no to Starbucks. Since you’re working at home and maybe even home schooling, the odds of you driving by a Starbucks may be pretty slim (even though there’s probably five of them within a mile of each other!). But even if you did, there’s no sense in spending five dollars on a cup of coffee when you can sit and enjoy one at home. If you’ve got one of those coffee pots with a timer on it, use it! Set it up the night before as part of your bedtime routine then wake up and have it waiting for you. Then get up before the kids do, grab a magazine or book and read while you relax and enjoy your own homemade cup of breakfast blend. Resist the urge to check email or work during this quiet time. Remember, this time is for YOU.
Hit the streets. Actually, a sidewalk will do. Make it a habit to take a walk at some point during the day while the kids are at school, or in the evening if the weather is too warm. If your kids are little, take the stroller. If they’re old enough to be home by themselves, step out alone. Even if it’s just a few trips around the block, it’ll be enough to clear your mind and get some exercise at the same time.
Reading is fundamental. Every mom I know encourages her child to read. But how many of you find time to do your own reading? (No, the latest issue of Parents magazine or the feeds in your Google reader don’t count.) Use that quiet time between the kids’ bedtime and your own to lose yourself in a book. You can get a good paperback at Wal-Mart for less than five dollars or look for a used bestseller on Amazon. Check out Paperbackswap too.
TiVo is your friend. With kids in the house, your odds of getting to watch a grown up show are pretty slim especially since a lot of families have cut back on TV time. If you have cable and DVR, record your favorite shows and watch them while the kids are asleep. If you don’t have cable, rent or buy shows on DVD. The library is a good source for freebies!
Regardless of what you do with your “Me” time, it’s important that you make room in your schedule for it. It’s a great way to relieve some stress and keep connected with yourself and your needs. What are some of your favorite ways to unwind? If you could squeeze an extra half hour into your day, what would you do with it?