You are very important and you matter a great deal but I bet you don’t get much time to just be by yourself any more? Here are some tips for me time on a budget time to indulge yourself and remember who you are .
- The big lazy bath – this is a practically free, gorgeous luxury that you should indulge in when the children are fast asleep, your tummy is full and the phone is unplugged. Use lovely bath stuff (ask for it on mothers day), warm up your towels on the radiator, play your most favourite music and light a few candles. A little glass of wine or fresh juice a few little treat snacks and a good book will all add to the pleasure. Save your top to toe beauty routine shaving, plucking, exfoliating etc. for shower days but on bath day indulge and pretend for a while (and for very little cost) it is all about YOU.
- Record the shows you like on TV whatever they may be. Then when baby is asleep you immediately have something great to watch rather than having missed all the good stuff.
- Have your music on when you do the housework to make it more fun – babies do not need silence to sleep unless we always make it silent. For 2 years I have played kiddie music in the car and one day recently I rebelled. We now have a new rule, I get one song then my son gets his music - okay the ratio is pretty rubbish but for 5 minutes I feel like its my car again!
- Get books for you out of the library for when you have your lovely big baths, or get 5 minutes, you matter too! And it’s a great example for children to see you reading for pleasure.
- Go to places where you like to walk and soak in all the beauty your children will be happy to come along.
- See exhibitions you would like to see. Your child will always find some fun in it even if they just laugh at the funny pictures they’ll certainly bring a new perspective! Just don’t expect them to be quiet and reverential.
- Set your child up with an activity and call your best friend for a natter or read that book you got out of the library or have a lovely coffee in peace in the next room, As long as they are safe and stimulated children do not need entertaining 24/7. I have managed to write this book with my children right there with me, my baby rolling about on the floor with a ball and my 3 year old playing with his etch a sketch and looking at his books. As long as they have had a big dose of attention beforehand and are well fed they are often happy to have a good 45 minutes play by themselves whilst I do my thing. And I get this in maybe twice a day. Its good for them (and me!)
- Keep your world beautiful. Put some flowers from the garden in a vase, cut a poem you love out of a magazine or an article that inspires you and put it on the fridge. Take a minute to write and tell your great aunt she is special, stare at the sunset and do Tai Chi in the mornings. Remember your soul and your life, even if it is just in moments, don’t let parenting be everything. Simple, free, little lovely moments can keep you soul filled and spirit soaring.
- Get away for a while I don’t mean an expensive 2-week holiday sans toddlers or even spa day what I mean is a coffee on your own on a Saturday morning or a walk in the park without holding a hand. I mean a cup of tea or a bit of a shop with a friend or just a swim by yourself. Sometimes we need to just be without our kids, no guilt no fuss just time away. It is refreshing and important.
- Learn to meditate or do some yoga anything that helps you relax and chill out quickly and maximises relaxation and take away stresses. You need serene places particularly if you have a tantruming two year old (my spell check tells me there is no such word as tantruming but I think there definitely should be so I am leaving it in!). Inner peace may be the only peace you will get so you need to learn how to get it fast. A little book or local class even a DVD from the library- give it a go! People have been doing it for centuries.
Basically don’t forget YOU. You don’t have to spend a fortune, just don’t neglect yourself or life feels much, much harder.
This is an extract from my book How to afford time off with your baby (Vermilion, 2009)
Hope you like these top ten me time tips on a budget and get a chance to put them into action