I am so pleased to bring you this guest post today. I connected with Chloe Thea through Claire Baker at This is Lifeblood and jumped at the chance to have her write a guest post for you all around finding time for yourself as a working mum. Aside from mother guilt I think this is one of the biggest challenges for working mums.
Chloe is a Holistic Time Management and Productivity Coach—passionate about helping big-hearted creatives become masters of their time and energy so they can shine bigger, brighter.
I hope you enjoy today’s post. I am sure you will pick up some useful tips to find time for yourself.
In between school pickups, a myriad of meetings, making (healthy) lunches and trying to feel like a human being – squeezing in time for yourself as a working mum can seem like an impossible task.
Often it feels like the only time you get to yourself is those few minutes on the loo (and even then sometimes you’re not totally alone!).
So how on earth are you supposed to have time to yourself when you’re a school-pick-up, meeting-rushing, healthy-lunch-making working mum?
Here are three tried and tested tips so you can make time for yourself as a working mumma!
White Space: Let’s Carve It Out
If you’re like most working mums I know, you’re craving the days of yore – when you were spontaneous, wild, free. Your social calendar as wide open as your heart. Your time filled with long bubble baths and afternoon drinks with friends (instead of PTA meetings and picking Ben 10 toys up off the floor).
But, when you have kids, those feelings of spontaneity often fly out the window (along with ironed blazers and 6 inch heels).
So what’s a working mum to do when she’s craving time to herself?
Carve out some white space for yourself, my love.
No idea how to get this process started? Let’s dive in:
Talk to hubby/Mrs. Right/your mum/Sally from next door and ask to tee up a date in the (not-so distant) future when they can look after the kids for a good couple of hours. Beg/swap/pay/give them brownies/massages/baked lasagnas for them to do so.
Lock it in, write it in your calendar, tell people about it and make yourself accountable!
Schedule in that white space NOW to do something you love LATER!
Deepen Your Pockets
When you’re a working mum, it can seem like the only time you get to yourself is on your commute (or maybe when you pop out on our lunch break). Point is – they’re often small (yet very valuable) pieces of time. I like to call these ‘pockets of time’.
So what’s one of the best tricks to having more time to yourself as a working mum? Making the most of these pockets.
30 minute commute? Read a book. 40 minute drive? Listen to an audio book. An hour off for lunch? Bring your trainers and go for a brisk walk.
The trick here is being a bit organised: buy yourself a kindle, download some TED talks, keep another pair of runners in your office locker.
Here are some other switches to make your pockets of time as useful as ‘you-focused’ as possible:
- Switch – mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest feed FOR listening to a downloaded meditation on the train.
- Switch – listening to the local radio station in the car FOR listening to some intelligent podcasts on your commute.
- Switch – an extra ten minutes of sleeping in FOR ten minutes of yoga poses in your living room.
- Switch – collapsing in front of the TV at night FOR brewing a soy chai and watching a must-see movie on your DVD player.
- Switch – staying in the office and eating lunch at your desk FOR a power walk with your work girlfriends.
I know these options might sound a bit too hyper-organised for your liking (or too much of a change, or too out of reach, or too big/scary/crazy/insert emotion of choice), BUT when you implement them with ease and grace, they can have a huge impact on how much time you have to yourself (and how you Show Up in your life to boot).
Ask For Help
Of course, we’re saving the best (and most difficult) ‘till last. Asking for help when you’re a working mum isn’t just important – it’s damn, freakin’ crucial.
Before we dive in any deeper, let’s iron out a few creases in this old chestnut.
Asking for help isn’t selfish. It isn’t greedy. It isn’t something reserved for rich people. Or ‘nice’ people. Or ‘successful’ people. Or even ‘people who deserve it’. It doesn’t have to be hard or embarrassing or awkward. And you certainly don’t have to wait till you hit burnout-city before you ask for it.
In fact, the best thing you can do for yourself my love? Pre-empt the need for help. Wave your hand in the air when your legs start getting tired of treading water, (not when you’re three feet under and sinking quickly).
Here are some ways you can ask for help as a working mum:
- get a cleaner
- break out ‘kid cook night’
- batch cook and do a dinner swap with a friend
- hire a gardener
- try online grocery shopping
- get a massage
- hire a babysitter for a few hours
- turn the dishwasher on more often
- say ‘no’ to endless ironing
- get dropped off to work
- drive to work (and pay for parking)
- ask for flexible working hours
- ask to work from home a few days a week.
Asking for help isn’t just about asking mum to come over and watch the kids for a few hours, it’s about getting consistent help from lots of different sources (kids and appliances included!) for all areas of your life.
When you ask for help, you will find that time will open up to you, you’ll receive it lovingly, use it wisely and soon you’ll be manifesting blocks of time all over the place!