What Do You Do With Your Kid-Free Time?

I need a break. I mean seriously, being a mom of a toddler is hard stuff. Really, I don’t even know where to start with how hard it can be sometimes, and it’s not just parenting a toddler, it’s all the other life stuff that happens, while also trying to parent a toddler. Can’t a mom get a break?

Before the holidays, Beth Anne challenged us to spend a little quality time with ourselves — away from our kiddos. I’ve been thinking about her challenge since then, and know that one of the things I would like to do this new year is to plan more regular time for myself. But my real problem is, once I get the chance to get away by myself, what do I do with that time?

You and I both know that the to-do list as a mother is never ending, and there are always more things that you need and want to do, then there is ever actually time to do it. So, how do you prioritize when that time comes, and you have a few blissful, peaceful hours to yourself?

There are two main different trains of thought running through my head when I’m finally by myself and can actually hear myself think, and it depends where I’m spending my precious time alone — at home, or out of the house.

If I’m staying at home while my hubs takes the kids out, words like, “dishes, laundry, clean bathroom, organize something – anything, work, write a post, answer email”, are pounding on my brain. Those are the things I feel like I should be doing, that I need to do. But they are almost always not what I want to be doing with quiet uninterrupted time at home.

How come, “take a bubble bath, curl up with a good book, watch a chick flick that hubs would never watch with you, GO TO SLEEP FOR GOODNESS SAKE”,  never seem to come close to entering my brain? Those are more of the things I would like to do.

And if I’m going out of the house it’s, “grocery shop, run errands, buy all the stuff that everyone else in the family needs, work, write a post, answer emails”. But yet, “Grab coffee with a friend, get a pedi, go thrifting, or antiquing, or any kind of shopping for myself, go see a movie alone, GO GET A DRINK (lord knows I need it — oh wait, except I’m pregnant, but that’s just another reason I need it!) are not even on my radar.

So, the problem really isn’t that I need to get some time to myself, the problem is that I need to get some quality time with myself. I need to choose the right kind of things to re-energize myself for when I enter back into the trenches of parenting a toddler. Those first words that enter my mind are just another part of the trench.

For so long though, I haven’t actually climbed out of the trench, so I’ve kind of lost touch with what things would actually help me to come back to my family happy and rejuvinated, instead of feeling like I just did more of the same, except by myself instead of with two little people along for the ride.

The reality is that I’m really not a bubble bath person, so that wouldn’t do it for me, and, when I really think about it, the fact is that getting some extra sleep is probably the best thing I could do if I had the house to myself right now. I’m also not the kind of person that would enjoy seeing a movie alone, so that wouldn’t do it either, but grabbing coffee with a friend, or two, would be like a breath of fresh air as most of my friends are mamas of toddlers and have a hard time getting away too. Usually we’re trying to carry on a conversation above playing and screaming and crying and fighting between our kids, so time to relax and just talk, now that would be wonderful.

So I’m interested to hear from other mamas out there, when you have a couple hours to yourself, without kiddos, do you do what you feel like you should do, or what you really want to do?  And if you could choose to do anything with your “free” time, what would it be?

Photo credit: imcountingufoz/flickr

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