Have you met my 7 kids yet? They’re all so cute, don’t you think? My oldest will be 18 next month and my youngest is 1.
When you run into “old” people at the grocery store commenting on your kids and how fast time flies, don’t take it lightly. I used to think, “yeah whatever”, but now… I’m serious. Time really does fly when you’re raising kids. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t currently have an almost 18 year old! In fact, I’ve found that time flies even faster, the more kids that you have. I guess my mind just stays busier, trying to keep up with everything that I have to do.
There’s many times in my life as a busy mom of 7 where I’ve just had enough. Enough noise, enough chaos, enough laundry & dishes, enough child training, enough school, enough neediness. Sometimes I have to run off and just get some time to myself. When I do this, I usually come back happier and more willing to be a better mom! It doesn’t always have to be alone though. I’m actually a pretty social girl (just ask my mom, she’ll tell you), so I don’t mind spending some time with friends or my husband when I need some time away from responsibilities. As long as that time feels relaxing, it counts.
How I Take Time For Myself
It can be tricky, as a busy, blogging homeschooling mom of 7 to take the time, but I do have some built in helpers. I now have 3 teenagers living under my roof, so I’m good at employing their help. We also have 2 sets of grandparents that live near us, so that is definitely a huge benefit that we have, that a lot of families aren’t so fortunate to have.
- I Hide Out – It’s true. Sometimes I lock myself in the bathroom or the bedroom (after I’ve informed my teenager that I need a few minutes). If I’m really lucky, the kids won’t figure out that I’m still in the house. Sometimes though, they just have this weird radar and come knocking at the door and they won’t go away. The baby did that just today…she kept figuring out that I was still home, like she could smell me or something. That’s when I move to the van or even go on a drive. Sometimes, in the middle of the afternoon, I’ll take the baby on a “go to sleep” drive for nap time. It always works! While I’m not completely alone on those drives, it’s almost always worth it!
- I Send Them to Grandma’s House – We are so blessed to have grandparents that live close. When my teens are busy or have watched the kids more than they should have to, I will call in the rescue team – GRANDMA! Grandma’s have a way to change the bad attitudes in kids and help mommies to get theirs under control, too. When I need a break, either my parents or Ryan’s parents are usually more than willing to help out.
- I Go to Lunch/Dinner with a Friend – As a homeschooler, I have a lot of things in common with other homeschooling moms. Namely, we don’t get out to talk to other adults very often. So, when we can, we take the opportunity to do that. Sometimes it’s a lunch with 2 of my good friends. Other times, it’s a Mom’s Night Out with about 8-10 moms. Either way, the conversation is always great and it is enough to get me rejuvenated and back in the game.
- I Pay my Teens – I’ve found that it can be a real challenge to watch the baby. She’s 15 months now and she can be really hard to watch because she’s always into something. Dumping this cup, emptying that shelf, playing in the trash, etc. You know how it goes if you’ve ever had a toddler. She’s really cute, but I do need a break from her sometimes. One way that I’m able to get that break guilt free is to pay one of my teenagers to watch her. I’m not a believer in making your kids watch their siblings all the time. I mean, my kids do it for free a lot, but…when it’s extra duty like the baby who is harder work, I’ll gladly pay, because then I don’t feel rushed. My 15 year old is the main one who gets this job and she’s always more than happy to be able to earn money towards whatever it is she’s wanting to purchase. She loves having the spending money. Who can blame her?
- We Take a Date Night – My husband and I love getting off by ourselves so that we’re able to have each other’s undivided attention. I remember one day, when he came home from work, he says, “Meet me in the basement”. I’m like… “OK….???”. The playroom is in the basement. It’s often a mess. But….guess who wasn’t in the basement at the time. The kids. They were running about the main part of the house, so we met in the basement to talk about our day and to get some initial time to ourselves. Of course, it didn’t take long before the kids started showing up at our door. They seem to have mom radar, so if they don’t see me every 5 minutes, they send the search party out. That’s why we love going out on date nights. Sometimes we head to the movies and sometimes it’s just to dinner. Sometimes, I’ll even meet him at work on his 30 minute lunch break just so we can see each other for a short little bit during the day. However we get our time, we have found that it’s really important to us and helps us to feel good about our relationship.
- I Stay Up Late – There’s nothing wrong with staying up late, as long as you can get up and function to take care of your kids the next morning. If you’re going to be grumpy, or if your kids wake up too early, you may want to rethink that,
This is how we do it now, but I must admit, it didn’t always look like this. If you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “it must be nice, I don’t have teenagers or grandparents nearby”, I completely understand. We haven’t always had built in babysitters.
When we lived out of state and all of the kids were too little to be babysitters, I would get my time to myself in different ways. For starters, my husband and I didn’t go out as often as we do now. When we did, we’d leave the kids at a friend’s house. I would do more leaving them with my husband at home so that I could run to eat with a friend, than I do now, too. We even started a babysitting coop at one point where my friends and I would trade babysitting each other’s kids. We would track hours we watched and get the same amount of hours in return. It helped me to not feel guilty asking my friends to watch them. Sometimes staying up late is the only way you get time to yourself and that’s OK. It’s just a season and it won’t be like that forever. Because, remember, time flies when you’re raising kids. Someday, you’ll long for these days when they were this age again. Embrace them!
What about you? How do you find time to yourself? Tell me about it in the comments below.