Never alone: How to find time for yourself when you have small children

We've all been there, locked in the bathroom for a second to ourselves — only to find a tiny hand creeping under the door. So how do you get away and find time for yourself when you're a mom?

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  • Do you sneak into the bathroom with your book for five minutes while little fingers creep under the door? Or, perhaps you saved a piece of chocolate in the top of the cupboard, and with stealth that would impress a sniper you sneak in to indulge yourself. You reach up into the top shelf, smile, turn around and find every child in your home staring at you with hunger in their eyes.

  • Yes ladies, we are rarely alone. Remember being a newlywed? You couldn't get enough of your husband, snuggling on the couch or holding hands in the store. Now you crave a moment when all is silent and you are completely alone. If you've gotten to this point in motherhood, you realize something needs to change. Mothers all over the world have been there. You are not alone. Ever.

  • So for the good of all mothers, here are some mommy time out tips.

  • Make it part of your routine

  • Children love routines, they thrive on order. So, why not add mommy time into your schedule? If you have very young ones, it's best to do this during nap time. Schedule a moment when the mop falls to the floor and the laundry is left alone so you can sit down, guilt free and enjoy yourself in a hobby or a book. Make it mandatory, no excuses ladies.

  • The early bird gets the bon bon

  • If you have no luck making mommy time part of your day, get up just a little earlier than the rest of the family. Mornings are magical. Spend 30 minutes reading, praying, knitting or doing whatever you fancy. You will enjoy this more than the 30 extra minutes of sleep you might get. You may even find yourself getting to bed a little early so you can get up even earlier.

  • Mommy evenings

  • Everyone is asleep. You are alone — finally. So what do you do? Clean up the pizza plastered to the kitchen floor? Finish the last load of laundry? Or give yourself a small moment to relax before, or after the mess is cleaned up? Remember, you are worth it.

  • Ready, set, go!

  • I love this tip. I've used it myself. I have an egg timer in my kitchen. When the moment comes for my mommy time during the day I set the timer for my 30 minutes and tell my toddlers and younger children that mommy is doing something very important until the timer goes off and this is quiet time for them. I can put on a short movie, pull out the puzzles or, if it's warm, send them out to the back yard. What's important is they know mommy is busy for 30 minutes. This will only work if your child is old enough to know how the timer works. And yes, mommy time is very important.

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  • Phone a friend

  • Why not start a co-op? Find a few friends whose mommy time needs are as dire as your own and swap kids. Give her an hour off while you take the kids and vice versa.

  • Find resources

  • Look around your community. When is toddler hour at the library? This is a great opportunity for you to sit down and read while your child is entertained. Look for other fun free activities your kids can enjoy while you are taking a moment to yourself.

  • However you manage it, when you schedule yourself time, energy will follow. Take care of yourself, so you can care for your family.

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Shannon and Erin are a mother and daughter with lots of children and Utah and Oregon roots.

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