With three kids under 5, it can seem impossible to get five minutes to myself in a day. I get on the phone and the kids immediately break out into a fight. Their dad walks in the door and the moment we try to talk, they try to talk louder with important stuff they all of a sudden have to get off their chests. I step into my office to pay a bill and all of a sudden they can no longer play happily, they need mommy’s attention to be able to play happily. But every mom needs a moment of me time now and then, so for those times you just need a break, here are a few ways to do it! (These are the times when TV or screen time is key in making sure they’re occupied and safe!)
1. Sneak chocolate. Sometimes I want mid-day dark chocolate. But I don’t want my kids to eat chocolate mid-day. So I’ll wait until they are completely engaged in a show or activity and I’ll head to the kitchen to enjoy a piece of dark chocolate in peace. Sure, sometimes the sleuths can smell it on my breath, but I feign ignorance in those situations.
2. Shower. It sounds so simple but it is so rare the times I get to shower without getting interrupted. The other day I had to pause my shower to help my 3-year-old take off his shirt. Because he can strip down and run around naked all the time, except, apparently, when I want peace and quiet. Bust out the Play-Doh or an iPad and take advantage of 5 minutes of showering in peace. Lock the door.
3. Wake up earlier. Enjoy your cup of joe in peace by waking up earlier than the rest of the clan so you can sip a cup of hot coffee rather than one that has cooled down before you can take a sip. This is one I can’t do — I’m the most anti-morning-person I’ve ever met. But I love this trick. In theory.
4. Hit the bathroom. Play “Who wants to help me scrub a toilet?” and then when there are no takers, hit the bathroom and sit alone for five minutes. Do a 5-minute meditation or surf the internet for a few minutes in peace. If you have little ones who want to help you scrub the toilet, well, this trick doesn’t work, but at least you’ll have “help” cleaning.
5. Sit in the car. Sometimes when we get home from the park or an outing, if the kids are happy in their car seats, I’ll just sit in the car. This is even better if everyone is catching a car seat nap, obviously, but if they’re not, they’re still restrained and can’t get to you to jump or climb on you. Winning!
How do you sneak a few minutes to yourself during the day when you’re home with kids? —Erin