No matter what age children you have, all parents lack free time. Time is truly the most precious gift as a parent filled with pros and cons. Our days are filled with household, work, and parenting responsibilities. As I sit here now writing this article, I am using some of my precious and rare free time while my kids are snug in their beds napping. It may be in the morning before everyone gets up, midday while the kids are on a playdate, or later at night when things are winding down for bed.
I am hoping that as a mom of two small kids under four, who works full time as an elementary school teacher, I can give you some ideas of ways to use that miniscule free time that can be peppered throughout your day.
- Catch up on household responsibilities: Such a lame first choice, I know. However, if you are like me and can’t relax until your things are tidy and your responsibilities are taken care of, then this isn’t a horrible place to start. However, just know it is okay to play hooky with this every once in a while.
- Catch up on work: An even more lame choice than the first I know, but stay with me. Many of us work at home now. My office is in my bedroom and my work is always in front of my face. There are a lot of people who need to use this time to email, network, etc to help them get work accomplished. Don’t feel bad if this is how you use your time, but know it’s all about a healthy balance.
- Exercise: As hard as this may be for some people, and no matter your physical ability, the nice thing about exercise is it gives you time to meet your needs. This may be something that you choose to do alone, with friends, a spouse, or kids. You can get quality time with others or guarantee yourself some alone time with your music.
- Watch TV: Such an opposite idea from above but sometimes I need to just zone out with some trashy tv or watch some baking show that I could never be on. This allows my mind to take a break from the looming responsibilities and escape my reality.
- One-on-One time: Share this special time with just one other person. Maybe you play a game with your husband, or go for ice cream with your oldest child, call your best friend. This will help you dedicate time to strengthening your connections with others.
- Hobbies: You can use this time to craft, read, write, bake, practice photography, etc. The laundry may need to be done, but it will be sitting there still when you are done dedicating an hour to your hobby.
- Take a nap: Seriously, a nap. Everything truly can wait. If you have little ones, lay down while they do and take a nap every once in a while. Even if you don’t have little ones, take a nap. That small time to regenerate is invaluable.
The most important thing to see is that balance in your life is important. Your daily responsibilities are important and your family has needs but you are in charge of your life and ultimately how you spend your time. Give yourself grace. Give yourself a break. And give yourself a pat on the back for getting through another exhausting and rewarding day by using your free time as you see fit.