This summer has run me ragged. It’s not easy having four kids with four different schedules and four different interests. My head hurts just thinking about it all. While the older two are now at an age where I can tell them I need some time alone and they typically understand, the toddlers don’t grasp it. When I say to go play in their room, they translate that as “Mom wants to spend time with us!”
Sorry kids, sometimes mom just needs a break. Come on, just 10 minutes. My kids have learned to pick locks, so now even trying to hide for a short bath doesn’t happen.
If you are scratching your head trying to figure out how to get just a little bit of time away from the kids without having to find a sitter, here are a few ideas that will hopefully help you get 30 minutes or so of sanity — all while the kids are entertained and safe.
1. Local Library Programs
Our local library offers a 30-minute free program on Thursdays. There are puppets, story time — and the best part? While I have to be in the building, I don’t have to be there for the program. Our library is small, so I can still keep an eye on the kids while enjoying some downtime for work, reading, or what-have-you.
2. The Gym
Join a gym with childcare! De-stress with a child-free workout. Check with your gym’s policy on childcare. A few years ago, we were members at Lifetime Fitness, and I believe it was two hours a day of free childcare. The club had a spa where you can get your hair done, a cafe with free wi-fi, a pool, sauna — all in addition to a work-out facility. For us at the time, it was totally worth the price.
3. Moms Group
Join a moms group! Our group at church met twice a month with childcare provided during our meetings. I SO was against the whole idea of a “moms group,” but I’ve met so many great friends through our program.
We’re in the south and Chick-Fil-As are in every town. Take the toddlers out to lunch, and then let them run-free at the playground. Yes, keep an eye on them, but bring a book and catch a few minutes for yourself, too.
Side note: I prefer Chick-Fil-A over the other fast food play grounds, since it’s much cleaners. Plus, they provide disposable placemats for my toddlers. It’s the little things, people!
5. Backyard Paradise
Our backyard is nothing to rave about. We don’t have a swing set, pool, or anything fancy. However, what we do have is a TON of Little Tikes toys, a water table, a picnic table, and a swing on the porch for me.
The weather has been amazing in Texas, so I can sit out on the swing for hours and let the boys play, or I’ll go inside and open up the windows. When I let them play with the water hose and the dogs, they are in toddler heaven. I used to freak out about getting everything wet or having them outside alone, but our backyard is fenced and locked. They are in close sight. And water keeps them quiet. And bonus: We are on water restriction here and can only water once every two weeks or water by hand. The boys are actually watering my lawn for me. They’re doing chores and they don’t even know it.
At the end of the day, you need to find time for yourself wherever/however you can. I know from personal experience that trying to find a sitter can be chaotic, especially when all you are wanting is some time alone. I hope these ideas can at least point you in the right direction for finding that time that you need.
Where do you escape to when you need a break?