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One of the questions that I often receive is how I manage to have time for having a blog and being involved in online projects while being a stay at home mom, so I decided to write about this, hoping to inspire other moms who want to find more time for them and for the things they like. First of all, I must admit that things were not always so well balanced in my life. Actually, there were times when I was overwhelmed by my role as a mother and felt that there is no time left for me and what I wanted to do besides being a mom. It was very frustrating for me to deal with this lack of time and it was a real struggle to find a balance in my life. I still have moments now when I lose this balance (especially when we face changes in our life), but I can say that overall I found a way to have enough time for me as a stay-at-home mom.
Since we moved to California, we are far away from family and friends, so I don’t have any help with Bogdan besides my husband. Handling this big change from being a working mom to staying at home with my son was difficult at the beginning but I’m glad we found a way to make it work.
Here are the things that help me find time for me and my work as a blogger, I hope they will be useful for all the mothers who want to find that balance between being a stay-at-home mom and still having time for what they like to do.
Being a stay-at-home mom with a 3-year old boy is a full-time job for me, so most of my time is dedicated to him: we play, we go to the park, we do activities together. The time that is left for me is limited, so I learned to have realistic expectations about what I can do in a day. I noticed that unrealistic expectations bring a lot of frustration, so I try to choose my goals so that I will be really able to reach them.
What helps me the most is prioritizing things on my “to do” list and being focused on the ones that mean the most to me. Usually, I set 4-5 small personal goals at the beginning of the day but I also establish which one is the most important to me. In this way, if I don’t get to reach all my goals for that day, at least I can be sure that I’ve reached the most important one.
Here are some examples of small personal goals I set at the beginning of the day: reading a chapter of a book, making a meal plan for next week, writing a new blog post, working on a project, answering all my emails.
It is unrealistic for anyone to expect from a young child to play independently for a long period of time because he really needs interaction with parents on a regular basis. This is why I alternate play times with my son with time for my tasks and this works very well. When they get the attention and love they need, kids are more willing to engage in independent activities and they can really allow parents to have time for themselves.
I have special times with my son every day and we made a schedule that includes a lot of activities together, but also small breaks for me when he is playing independently and I get to do what I have on my plan. For example, in the morning we usually go to the park and we return home before lunch. When we get home, I have half an hour for me before lunch, while he plays with his toys. He is very happy after the time we spend together in the park so he has no problem with playing alone while I do my tasks.
Sometimes, during the times when I do my tasks, Bogdan comes to me and wants my attention. For me, this is a sign that he feels disconnected with me and he needs more time together, so I stop whatever I am doing and I focus on him. In this way, he always knows that he is the most important for me and that I am available for him everytime he needs. Now, these moments when he interrupts me rarely happen because we found a balance in our life and I managed to create a schedule that is good for both of us.
I also use naptime for having some additional time for me and I get to make a lot of things while he sleeps.
It took me some time until I learned to ask for help on a regular basis. It might seem strange, but somehow I felt that I needed to take care of everything and I used to ask for help only when I was totally overwhelmed. I was also thinking that I should ask for help only if I have an important task to do and I was feeling guilty when I was leaving my son at home with his dad to go shopping at the mall. But in time I realized that the “me time” is actually helping me to be a better mom. When I get to have some free time for me and the things I want to do for myself or just for resting after a busy day, I can return to my child with a lot more energy and play mood. I once read that “happy kids need happy moms” and this is so true! Every time I feel relaxed and happy I am more patient and playful and my son feels this and enjoys, even more, the moments we spend together.
So I learned to ask for help from my husband to be able to get free time for me. In some days, when he comes back from work, he has his special time with Bogdan and I get to have time for me: usually, I use this time to work on my blog, but sometimes I just take a long bath (alone! 🙂 ) or read a book. In the weekends when we are not traveling I use to have a half of day for me and Bogdan spends it with his dad. During this time I can do whatever I want and this “escape” fills me with energy for the whole week. Lately, I used this time for working on my online projects, but this is important for me and it makes me feel good, so it’s great!
I also noticed that the time my boy spends alone with his dad is also a wonderful way to connect with him so we all benefit from it! 🙂
If you want to get more time for you while you stay at home with your children, here are some tips that worked for me and I hope that will be useful for you too!
– Set some personal goals for you every day: they can be small things you want to do for yourself or for your work (if you also work from home), but it’s important to focus on what you want and to remember every day to do something that makes you feel happy and accomplished
– Make a schedule for your day and alternate play time with time for you: it is important to never neglect the needs of your kids, but if you plan the day in a smart way you have more chances to be able to have time for you
– Use the time when your kids are sleeping for making things you like: you can either wake up earlier in the morning, use daytime nap-times or go to sleep later at night (in the past I used to do chores in the house during these times and this was only making me more tired and frustrated, so I decided to make a change: now I do all the chores when Bogdan is awake and I use these free moments only for me; this was a great change in my life and I totally recommend you to try it!)
– Ask for help: If you have any help around, don’t hesitate to ask for support! Your husband or any other trusted family member or friend can take care of your child and you will certainly enjoy that free time! It also helps if you can delegate as many tasks on your list by hiring some help for cleaning the house or cooking so that you will have more time just to focus on the kids.
This is what works for me, I’m sure that there are a lot of other ways to get “me time” as a stay-at-home mom and I would be happy to find out your experiences! How do you manage to get time for you while staying at home with the kids?