As a stay at home mom my days revolve around my children and their schedules and needs. Preparing meals, cleaning up, tucking in, doing homework. It’s a constant go-go-go all day every day and it can leave me feeling exhausted, overworked and under appreciated.
Even though I have excellent nappers, even nap time has slowly evolved into a time where I feel like I’m not really getting to rest or take a break or have a moment to MYSELF. As soon as the kids go down, I start working on my “side hustle:” I work on blog posts, social media content, and usually work all the way through nap time. With the majority of stay at home moms now also having “side jobs” I’m sure I’m not alone in this feeling that my break time isn’t really much of a break at all.
I have discovered one simple trick that totally changes my day, my attitude and my outlook:
That’s right. It’s that simple. And springtime is the best time of the year to start this routine!
Here’s how I make it happen:
Plan for Outside Time
I check the weather in advance. If it’s nice enough for my outside time to be laying out by the pool I will often get my bathing suit on and my towel and such together while the kids are getting ready for naps. If it’s not nice enough for a bathing suit I’ll still get a good book and a cup of water and my sunglasses together so I’m ready to go as soon as the kids go down!
Make it a Priority
I have found if I don’t go outside immediately after putting the kids to bed that I end up not ever going outside at all. I get busy. I get distracted. And time just slips away. By getting things together and ready prior to naps, I have no excuse or distraction to derail me from my mission of getting out the door
Have a Book
Don’t let this time become a mindless scroll through the phone. Don’t use it to catch up on social media. In order to make sure it’s REALLY, truly relaxing…have a book! Join a book club, find a good reading list, re-read an old favorite. Even use it as a Bible Study opportunity or a good self-help book to grow in an area you want to better yourself in! This is YOUR time!
Typically I spent 20-30 minutes outside at the start of nap time. All of my kids are sleeping (if you wait until later on in the nap it’s likely one will be awake wanting to get up!) and I’m able to TRULY unwind.
Here are the benefits I’ve found from taking this time:
I Can Truly Relax
Being outside gets me OUT of the house. I’m not watching tv looking around at my messy living room thinking of all I should be doing. I’m not getting distracted with a mile long “to do list.” I’m able to REALLY disconnect from the business of my day and can truly enjoy my time.
It’s Really FOR ME
Often “me time” becomes a whole lot of things that aren’t really for myself. Blogging? That’s my side hustle. Planning trips? That’s for our whole family. But sitting outside with a good book to read? That’s an opportunity for me to really feel fulfilled that I’ve made myself a priority!
Sunshine is Good for the Soul
I love the sun. Feeling it on my face and the wind against my skin relaxes me. I don’t love bubble baths but soaking myself in sunshine rejuvenates my spirit and allows me to reconnect with myself. My personal dreams and desires. I can think clearer and prioritize better. I leave my outside time feeling rejuvenated!
Often it’s easy to get sucked into mindless tasks during nap time but I have found when I make my outside time a priority that I come back in with laser focus and am able to achieve all I have on my plate. Taking the 20 min break at the start of naps actually makes me get more accomplished during nap time than when I spend that 20 minutes working on other things!
It Gets Me Through
That afternoon time can be the roughest with kids. They get home from school cranky. They have witching hour. You’re trying to make dinner while keeping them happy and everyone can just end up frustrated and exhausted. Setting aside that time for myself truly gives me a whole new outlook on the rest of the day and I’m more patient, relaxed, and just overall more joyful to be around!
I love my 20 minutes of outside time and encourage you to give it a try! Now that spring is here it’s the perfect opportunity to incorporate outdoor time as a part of your regular routine!
About the Author
Emily is a mother of four who is the queen of oversharing and owning it. She’s recently adopted her fourth baby and is waiting for finalization day to make it official! Disney is her happiest place and she can’t resist a good bargain. Be sure to check out her blog The Journey of Parenthood and give her a follow on Instagram and Facebook for more from a keepin’ it real kinda mama!