How much time do you give yourself?

  1. How much time during the week do you allow yourself to ‘take a break’ from parenting and focus on working on a hobby, reading, going out and meeting friends, etc? Specifically during the times when your child(ren) are awake? This means they would need to be watched over by your partner while you’re out or whatever.

  2. Also, do you ‘work on your own things’ at home while your kids are awake, and they are doing things independently?

I have a hard time finding any kind of data on this. My answers for #1 and #2 is 0 hours; no time ever. I feel like that’s damaging me.

I believe that my kids are old enough (almost 3 and 4.5) that they should be able to focus on playtime by themselves for ~20-30 min at least, but whenever I try they are disruptive, wanting me to play with them, wanting to help, or starting to not play well together.

I realize how important it is to spend time with your kids, and I love doing that, and working with them. However I think I should also occasionally be able to focus on other things easily.

What are your answers to #1 and #2? And any insights on what I’m experiencing would be greatly valued, even if it’s “sorry pal, wait 5 more years.”

The situation that I find myself in is that I get very little time to myself. I have only one child but as a stay at home parent it seems that this is my lot in life. I savor the moments throughout the day that I get to myself when my child is occupied playing and I am not busying myself with household tasks. Everything flows between us, the days are light and enjoyable. Some days my choice to close the bathroom door is met with crying and tantrums that we have separated and its hard to get even a minute to myself. I try to set boundaries about my space and not be too put out that my child needs to be near me that much. The best thing for us is to have a routine and stick with it. Room for flexibility but keep the schedule dependable.

Now that e doesn’t nap its much harder for me to get that afternoon break that helped me through the day. Thinking about it now I know that I need that quiet time in our days, so instilling a quiet reading time is a must for me.

Dinner prep is a hard time. A tired, hungry, needy time. I could put on Mr. Rogers to help me out. His voice is calming to us all. I loved that show when I was little. Papa comes home and is tired from his day. Dinner helps and we are more recharged. My child is really wanting to play with him but is happy to just be near and he finds a place to sit on the floor. I tell em that I will sit down too and read or to just be available. I don’t get a lot of time to myself in the evenings either but having another parent there helps and e is calm enough to play. Sometimes we go for walks and that is actually really great. Sometimes we play a game. After bedtime routine, the adults get time alone. We like to watch stuff, and have adult conversations.

Weekends can be an opportunity to take a bit of time to myself. A chance to sleep in or go out alone. It takes navigating though as its also time for my partner to work on other projects and of course e needs time to deconstruct as well. We work it out. I don’t stress about because this is the season of my life that is focused on being with my family. I actually feel that I crave more time alone than with people. My partner would love more time to play video games. We relax the way that works for us, the come back together a little more recharged.

I do believe that quality time spent with children will help them to then feel supported enough to go off and play. They need that love and attention first to feel secure, then they are happy. Sitting near them on the floor being available helps them a lot to be more independent from you as well. Reading or drawing or watching them or whatever. Kids love it when you are down on the floor. I forget this sometimes. I used to not be able to read anything without being disrupted every few moments but now my child is a little older, more used to the idea and goes along with it. Papa sits down and e plays around him all evening long.

I am sure this does not exactly answer your questions but its a snapshot of another parent who also gets little time alone. Its rough for all of us. Some families have relatives nearby and I wish that we did because it would be so lovely to utilize such a resource. But the truth is that we know one family with a child and only a few people that we can ask in an emergency and that is it. Its just us and its hard sometimes. We would love to hire a sitter for the future for dates or afternoon breaks for me. That is definitely on my list.

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@susan as I read your response I was filled with emotion and relief. It was so good to hear another family going through similar things. It also brought up a couple items I haven’t thought of recently.

This is something I am going to try to keep in the front of my mind.

We are in a similar situation, where we are far away from all family. It is hard at times. We are just starting a ‘date swap’ with a family to try to give each couple some date / hang out time once a month. I have high hopes.