Juggling a busy home, a full-time job and a handful of kids is no easy task. It’s no wonder that most parents wave goodbye to their personal space and alone time without trying to salvage even an evening a week for a movie or little shoot-em-up action on the Xbox. It’s true that it’s hard to make time, but it isn’t impossible! Many people feel guilty if they head out for an evening with friends or a little solo, kid-free time, but stress laden, overworked parenting has proven to have negative effects on children! What does this mean? Well, it’s time to give yourself a time out for once. Here’s how to make it happen.
Share the Load
You and your partner don’t need to do everything in the house. Get the family involved and teach the youngsters to do their part, too. This will free up a lot of extra time each week. Even children as young as 4 can be taught to pick up their room, put dirty clothes in the right place and feed the pets. Older children can be easily introduced to the wide spectrum of household duties we all know and loathe. Put a SchoolSitckers chart on the fridge with each person’s prescribed chores (including your own!), and set a reward for tasks done in timely fashion.
We have pizza every week, but I never realised how much time it could save until I started deciding which night it would be in advance. When you know there’s going to a night when you don’t have to cook or clean, it gives you the chance to organise your schedule around the kids’ and pencil in a little free time or a sofa session with your partner. And it doesn’t have to be pizza. Nowadays you can get Chinese, Thai, sandwiches and even sushi delivered right to your door.
Establish a Routine
Working right in with planning a pizza night, why not plan the rest of your week as well? This is a great practice for time management, and children react very well to routine, too. The first time I penned out my daily routine, I was shocked at how much free time I should have. I realised that I hadn’t been aware of what was best to do at what time, and that translated into a lot of wasted hours.
Gone are the days of going to the supermarket and standing there slack-jawed thinking, “Why did I come here again?” and then not remembering until I walked through my own front door. Making lists helps you hone in on what’s important and what isn’t, and also keeps you on your feet and on track. Make lists for shopping, to-do daily activities and even weekly, monthly and long-term goals.
Plan Some “Me Time”
When you put everything you need to do on your lists and in your routine, don’t forget that the blank spaces that remain don’t have to be filled in. Consider those your sacred spaces (or sofa spaces, in my case), and keep a couple of them for you. Even if some chores don’t get done, it’s not the end of the world. Respect your sacred spaces and they will reward you with peace and harmony.
Don’t underestimate your alone time! Remember that parents, employees and all human beings work best with batteries fully charged and that your sofa is a docking station with unlimited power.
Post inspired by Shine Media.