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Top 10 Ways I Carve Time Out for Myself (Even with Multiple Kids!)

10 ways to find "me time", even with multiple children.I went grocery shopping this morning with all four of my children in tow. No less than five times did strangers say to me some variation of  “my, you have your hands full.”

By the fifth time, my oldest daughter commented on how every time we do errands, people say that to us.

Because it’s true. Four children under seven years of age is a handful, even on the best of days.

I love being home with my kids every day, I really do. It’s a job I know I was meant to do. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t crave a bit of alone time from the chaos of raising a large family.

It’s not easy, but even with four kids, I find time to myself daily. Yes, daily.

10 Ways I Carve Time Out for Myself:

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  • I joined a gym 1 of 10
    I joined a gym
    My gym has childcare, which means not only can I get up to 2 hours of "me time," I get to burn off some stress and anxiety along the way. Oh, and the kids have a blast as well.
  • Get up 30 minutes earlier (than the kids) 2 of 10
    Get up 30 minutes earlier (than the kids)
    This one is hard, especially with a baby. But if you can pull it off, the benefits are pretty great. Drink a cup of coffee, watch the news, and check the blogs. Getting a few minutes to myself before the troops wake up really helps set the pace for the rest of the day.
  • Lower expectations 3 of 10
    Lower expectations
    Want a bit more free time? Don't try to do, and be, everything to everyone. I decided long ago that I'd rather spend a few minutes of down-time relaxing than fold another load of laundry or wash another dish. Because as you know, there's always tomorrow...
  • Daily quiet time 4 of 10
    Daily quiet time
    I have a 3 kids that don't take afternoon naps anymore. So instead of tucking them in during the day, I demand each of them spend 90 minutes of quiet time in their rooms doing something independently. Quiet time at our house is typically somewhere between 1pm-3pm each day.
  • Playdates 5 of 10
    Playdates
    One of the ways I often get through the week is swapping kid-watching duty with a friend. I'll watch her kids for a few hours (so she can go do something), and then later in the week she'll watch mine. I love it because not only does it give us moms a chance for "free time", the kids get to play with friends as well. It's a win-win.
  • Swap for free date night babysitting 6 of 10
    Swap for free date night babysitting
    This is one of my favorite ways to find time with just my husband. It's called late night date night. We still feed our kids dinner and put them to bed, but then at 8pm a friend comes over for a few hours (and typically just relaxes on the sofa because the kids have already been tucked in for the night). Then in a week or two, I happily return the late night date night favor and sit at her house while she and her spouse enjoy a late dinner out.
  • Early to bed 7 of 10
    Early to bed
    Ever since I became a parent, all my children over the age of 6 months go to bed at 7:30 on the dot. This allows me a few very hard-earned hours to myself.
  • Leave the kids with Dad 8 of 10
    Leave the kids with Dad
    This one sounds like a no-brainer, but it's true. On the weekends or after dinner, I have no problem taking off for a couple hours to be alone and let my husband manage the house on his own. I run errands, go for a run, or meet a friend for lunch.
  • Cook in bulk 9 of 10
    Cook in bulk
    Cooking in bulk so you don't have to start from scratch every night at dinnertime can really save time (and provide more "me time"). If I'm making dinner one night, I make enough so we can eat leftovers the next evening.
  • Multitask 10 of 10
    Multitask
    I love to listen to podcasts and "books on tape" but rarely find time to listen to them. During the week, when we all need some fresh air, I pack everyone up in the stroller and oftentimes listen to music or podcast while we stroll.

How about you? How do you find “me time” through the chaos of raising children?

Find more Emily on her blog, twitter, Pinterest, and facebook.

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