Busy moms need a break!

18 March 2014

A recent study found on average women with children have only 17 minutes to themselves a day. Many moms may think it’s even less than this and also feel guilty about relaxing during this brief time. But experts warn that too little time for yourself isn’t just bad for you, but for your whole family.

Cape Town clinical psychologist Sharon Horwitz explains: “When a mother is exhausted and taxed, emotionally she has nothing to give to her family, then everyone suffers. Therefore if a mom learns to take better care of herself, she’ll also be taking better care of her family.”

Beverley Marcus, a clinical psychologist of Johannesburg, agrees: “It’s important that everyone has a break. Every mom needs time to restore her energies. Women who deny themselves this could become very resentful and even take out their anger on their children.

“A mom who shouts all the time, or who feels overwhelmed and grudging makes her children feel emotionally unsafe. The time you take to rest, can allow you to recharge your batteries and to meet your child’s emotional needs satisfactorily.

“It’s important to remember that you’re a mother but also that you’re possibly a partner, a friend, daughter and individual in your own right as well. Every mother has to make time to rest,” she adds.

So ditch the guilt and follow these tips to make time for yourself:

Get your priorities right

The first step always is to set aside time in your diary. Make a list of your daily tasks and estimate how much time each of them takes. Attend to the most important things first and focus on completing them. Delegate the rest to your family or remove them from your to-do list. The chores required to keep a family going can’t be avoided but time for yourself should definitely also be in your diary.

Remember such time shouldn’t necessarily be used only for resting. Consider doing something just for yourself simply because it’s interesting or fun. You could even take up art or swimming lessons or learn a new language. Life is too short to restrict yourself!

Learn to delegate and ask for help 

You could ask your partner for example to cook twice a week so you can attend an evening class. Or they could do the shopping and take along the kids while you go to gym, has coffee with a friend or just relax at home.

Allow your parents to spend a whole day with their grandchildren if they like – you don’t always have to be around. Then use that time to recharge your emotional batteries.

Quality not just quantity

You don’t have hang around beside the sportsfield or wait in the car whenever your child has training or a match. When you are there make sure they know your fully support them. Use the time they’re engaged in their own activities to do something for yourself sometimes.

Get other moms on board

Organise a regular date with other moms, for example a weekly book club at someone’s house or coffee at a new shop once a month. And take the kids along. If your pool resources you could get a childminder to keep your kids busy for an hour or two so you can have a chat about things other than children.

Start a lift club

You and other moms can take turns to lift your kids. This way everyone gets some open space in their diaries!

Choose child-friendly

In the same way you need a break, your kids don’t always want to be in your  company. Many restaurants and gyms have child areas. Find them and avoid your children becoming bored and everyone getting on one another’s nerves. Enjoy giving one another space and you might be surprise how much more you’ll be enjoying the time you do spend together.

? Petro-Anne Vlok

Extra sourse: parenting.com, wikihow.com

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