Me time is a very difficult thing to come by as a parent, and as a single parent it could be almost non-existent. It is, however, a very important thing; one that you must work at to make sure you have. I think every parent would like to have several hours all alone at least once a week, but most of the time that’s not possible. Instead, what you can do is make sure you have at least some time for yourself every day. Even if you only get 15 minutes a day to yourself, that’s nearly 2 hours a week.
How should you make sure you get some time to yourself? Be creative. Some things you can do include:
1. Set your alarm clock to go off 15 minutes earlier. This will give you 15 minutes in the morning to yourself and help you get your day started right.
2. Create or edit your routine so it works for you. Can your child/ren go to bed a little earlier to give you 15 minutes to half an hour to yourself?
3. Could your child/ren use some down time too? Could they head to their room early, get them all tucked in with some age appropriate activities they could do while they lay in bed? Some books to look at, some stuffed toys to play with, some paper and writing equipment?
4. Does your child enjoy taking a bath? Are they old enough to be in it unsupervised? My son LOVES the bath. He will spend hours in there, then call me in to ask if I could warm up the water so he can stay in there longer. Get your child a couple of great bath toys. Then you can get them in the bath, give them any assistance that they need for bathing, then leave them in there with the door open. My son knows he can’t stand in the bath or try to get out of the bath by himself. He can yell if he needs anything, and I am just in the next room.
5. Find a support group. A lot of towns and cities have at least one single parent support group. If they don’t, start your own. Get to know other single parents in your area and swap “sleep over nights.” Their children can have a sleep over at your house one week, and yours can go to theirs the next.
6. Find a teen (especially a homeschooling one) who would be willing to babysit once or twice a month while you have a me night.
7. Let the dishes, or the laundry, or the sweeping, or the mopping, or the … sit for 15 minutes while you take a break. I promise you, it will still be waiting for you after your 15 minutes.
8. Help your child/ren find a hobby. This way they can have their me time, and you can have yours.
9. Get great books your children don’t want to put down, or lots of puzzles they can do on their own. Find some fun, educational books your children love. My son has “There’s a Mouse About the House” and can sit and read/play with it for about an hour. Puzzles are another great time absorber for children. Look for them at thrift stores and dollar stores and pick up several. Make sure you start with easy ones, and if you have enough, this can help keep them busy for large amounts of time while you have some me time.
10. Let them do arts and crafts. Children love creating. Get a four pack of playdough for a dollar (or make your own) and clear the table. Give them the playdough, some cookie cutters, and lots of utensils for making imprints and patterns. Spread some newspaper on the kitchen floor, give them a stack of paper, and some finger paints (bought, or make your own). Buy or make your own goop, and let them play with that on newspaper on the kitchen floor, or any floor that isn’t carpeted. You don’t have to be in another room to have me time. As long as they are safely occupied, you can have your me time.
Also be sure to check out Five Tips for Being a Better Single Parent