AMR Aid Station: Help! I don’t ever seem to find time for me.

A few weeks ago, this post and the following replies popped up in a Train Like a Mother Club private Facebook group. It was so well-received—and the suggestions were so helpful—that we thought it would be helpful to the greater AMR community as well. (We have removed all names and important identifying characteristics from post + comments.)

I don't ever seem to find the time for me.

I'm beyond frustrated. I was absolutely LOVING this program and getting every workout done no matter what it took. Then, life took over.

I'm pissed with myself because I don't ever seem to find the time for me.

Children's summer reading program and workbook time , children's therapy sessions , working on scheduling swim lessons that my husband swore he'd take care of 😡, and I'm still at work late now so we can hopefully enjoy our half-day Fridays that don't always happen .

Everyone and everything seems to get a big ole  but me. I'm frustrated, overwhelmed, dreaming of a summer family vacation that won't happen.

I'm tired of always finding myself last on the to-do list of life.

To my fellow BAMRs: How do you make time for you? My only time seems to be extremely early in the morning and you can guess who doesn't like that time slot? My DH.

Thanks for letting me rant. Back to work. Maybe I'll be home by 7:30 before the children are in bed.

How do you make time for you?
The tribe answers:

I don't always get a workout done, but I vary my times based on when I'd have pockets of time in my day. Busy evening? I try to do it early (or late if need be). Made it to the end of the day and still haven't done it? Forced myself to at least do something. If Tuesday is nuts, I swap a workout day. Also, I usually look at and plan the whole week over the weekend so I know how best to tackle it... And of course as moms, unexpected things happen. Then I just do the best I can and try again tomorrow.

Two thoughts:
First: I once heard a pastor’s wife speak to a group of moms I was part of. She said, "Make a list of everything you do for each individual family member. Then list what you do for yourself under another column. You’ll most likely see your column is far shorter or bare."

Then she said something I’ll never forget: "People will always take what you are willing to give.” And once you give, it’s hard to take away. Asking for help or dropping things from other columns is the only way to make your column stand out a bit more.

Secondly, another person I follow on social media said, “You’re only one bite or one workout away from getting back on track.”

My favorite blogger, Beth Woolsey, says any number of kids is a lot of kids, and I wholeheartedly agree. It is HARD, and you get to feel like it is hard. The best thing about this community is that you get to bitch, too. We’ve been there. We are there. And we’re here for you.

I have no magic answers but much sympathy There is nothing more frustrating than feeling like you are giving everything to everybody and there’s nothing for you. (I think The Giving Tree is a horror story.) In these situations is when I decide, you know what? I am gonna be a b*tch and just demand what I want and steamroll over who or what is in my way. It’s not my usual way to roll but sometimes a BAMRs gotta do what a BAMRs gotta do.

Rant, rave, be pissed! But remember, if you can't take care of you, there is no you left to take care of others. Make it happen so you can be the best you for all of the sh*t life throws at you!

I have been where you are and completely understand. To make the time, I started getting up early. I mediate (Headspace app), coffee and exercise or catch up on reading. If you get a chance listen to the book Girl, Wash your Face by Racheal Hollis. It is this very topic.

Truthfully, some days I win and some days I get super pissed off at myself for not taking a little me time. I’ve gotten better in the last year about fighting for my run time. That said, when what I need is a nap or a bath I still wimp out a lot.

Be angry. Be sad. Feel all the frustration. Try and channel it into making some time for yourself tomorrow. If you keep at it, it will get easier to do. It won’t be perfect in a week. Nothing real moves that fast, but kinda like meditation if you keep coming back to your focus, it’ll get easier (or so I hear, I can’t meditate to save my life at the moment 🤣).

Be kind to yourself and lower expectations on yourself and raise them on others in the household periodically .... let the little stuff go .... and hang on because it’s not easy and there’s never enough hours in the day. There were years I did not find time for me and felt stretched in every direction ... I think everyone muddles through in their own way.

One thing that gives me a little sanity once in a while was the power of the word “no”, usually when asked to take on something else when I was already overloaded...saying no sometimes is essential to finding those little pockets of me time.

Parenting is hard. Science Alert: having kids does not make us happier. Add meaning to our existence? Yes. Make us happier as a person or in marriage? No. My three daughters are between 16 and 21, so I’ll offer what I’ve been reflecting on (it may be unpopular).

I look back on all the Kindermusik classes, elaborate birthday parties, holiday extravaganzas, trips, and feel like maybe I peaked too early! They don’t remember it much and I sometimes wish I had not been such an “industrious” mom so early. One more book at night may have been a better choice much of the time. It’s a 20+ yr job/child after all! (Yes a marathon 🙂) Maybe I’m wrong and I’d still feel drained now but those are just my 2 cents. ((Hugs)) 

It's HARD! I work from home, so I feel like laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc. all fall on me, because I'm here during the day (working, but here). So, this is what I've come to realize: SO MUCH of what I do, I do because I think I should and NO ONE else in my house would care if I didn't dust/vacuum one week, for example.

So I'm learning to let little things go for a bit and I KNOW that I'm a better mom when I work out. I get up early 4-5 days/week to run, but the days I don't, I usually make my XT or rest days and go for a walk with the kids to the park or go to the pool and swim with them. They love it, I don't feel TOTALLY lazy and it keeps me sane.

Ok, your turn: How do you make time for you?

9 responses to “AMR Aid Station: Help! I don’t ever seem to find time for me.

  1. So forego the swim lessons. If hubby swore he’d take care of them, hold him to it. If he didn’t do what he was supposed to do at work what would happen to him? Ultimately he would get fired. Hold him to the same standard you have set for yourself. Stand firm. When the kids cry that they don’t get to do swim lessons, let them know that they need to talk to Daddy about that. Then go for a run. 🙂

    My husband and I split the duties: I have mornings duty so he can get to work on time but he has pick-up duties. I used to do both until I realized that I was doing more than I needed to do and spoke up. I used to run after work and by the time I got home, everyone was fed and all I had to do was take a shower and relax. I realize I’m pretty fortunate, but part of it is the expectations we set for ourselves and others. I expected that if he was able to run in the morning, I would be able to run in the evening. I had cranky kids in the mornings and he had the evening hangry kids. Win-Win.

  2. Now that my kids are 21 and 23, I feel like I have some perspective on the matter! Looking back, I spent a lot of time trying to be that perfect Pinterest mom (and this was before Pinterest was really a thing!). If I had it to do over again, I would spend less time trying to be Martha Stewart and more time doing stuff for me. The kids always seemed to get the attention they needed, but I always felt like if I didn’t have that perfect house or the homemade bread, life would fall apart. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t. There are only so many hours in the day, and yes, taking care of family is important, but you are too. I didn’t find running until my kids were jr high age and older, but I always felt like doing that little bit of me time made me a much better person to be around.

  3. The guilt! Now that my kids are 16-20 years old I wonder why I didn’t hire a babysitter to play with them so I could exercise and shower in peace. I definitely felt the pressure to be Super Mom and do it all myself.
    When I switched jobs, I negotiated with my husband that I’d be the one to leave early in the morning (5:45 AM) to exercise before work. That way exercise always happened for me. At the end of the school day or workday there were just too many reasons why I couldn’t fit in exercise. And when I wasn’t feeling like a workout (sick, injured, in a terrible state of mind), I still left the house at 5:45 AM and maybe took an extra long shower at the gym and got a latte before work.
    Just like brushing my teeth, I make sure I get in my exercise time daily.

  4. Early morning is my running time… The family is on board because it does make me happy! I’ve trained my boys to make their own lunches and breakfast before school. My husband does our shopping(a huge bonus). My biggest thing is that my expectations have decreased a bit. I do not have the perfect house or meals… but that is ok. Be gentle with yourself.

  5. My husband leaves the house before 5am and my boys are still very little so the mornings are not an option for me right now. Often, I find myself running after 8pm when my oldest goes to bed but then I have “wife guilt” that I’m not spending quality time with my husband. So recently I’ve been trying to take advantage of my lunch hour at work. When the weather is nice (not too hot and humid), I will run on my lunch break and I recently joined Planet Fitness close to my office so now that the weather is hot I can take a quick trip over there and lift or run on the “dreadmill.” It’s not ideal – I never feel quite so fresh when I return to the office but luckily its a casual environment – and often I find myself on conference calls during that time period but if I can squeeze in some “me” time in the middle of the day and burn off some stress I find I’m more focused and in a better mindset in the afternoon and also when I come home from work.

  6. 4 a.m. has always worked for me. And I was a single mom for most of it. If you want to do the workout, you will find a way to do the workout. Spoiler alert from a daughter who is now grown: “Mom you were just finding a way to get in your self-care!”

  7. Not that I need permission from my hubby to go for a run or walk but I have found it helps my mom guilt out when I ask “Can I go for a walk with the neighbor?” He always replies with sure I’ll take care of the kiddo. I think we as moms sometimes forget that dads are more than willing to help out and it just takes asking them.

  8. Its rough, but I stick to a rough schedule throughout the week. Both my hubby and I work 3rd and most of my afternoon/evenings when I wake up consists of: making dinner, making lunches, sometimes dishes, getting our daughter ready to take her to my parents and then workout/run before work. My other half has spoke up about being frustrated with me not spending time with our daughter, and I get it, but it has gotten to a point where I need to get that run or workout in for my sanity…. And I do spend time with her when I can, whether it’s in the kitchen showing her what I’m doing or snuggling up to watch a cartoon. I do what I can to make it work.

  9. I know it doesn’t feel like it when you are at the coalface of raising kids but they will grow up and it will get easier. Enjoy them whilst you have them and before you know it you will have and empty nest and so much time on your hands that you don’t know what to do with yourself. Don’t be scared to ask for help – get a neighbour to babysit for you or start a car pool to save on some of the driving and above all make that vacation happen.

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