I often hear mums complaining they never have any time alone. There are just so many other important things that need to be done. Who has time?

Sorry, but I’m not buying it. As a single mum of four I’m constantly pulled in all directions and sometimes used as climbing equipment as they all vie for my attention. But I say bugger the mum guilt. I give them everything they need, I’m the one driving this bus and sometimes mummy needs a time out!

Here’s my top five tips for sneaking in some alone time, even with a houseful of kids.

1. Alone time doesn’t have to mean for a long time

Some people believe that true alone time means hours alone soaking in the bath, watching a movie or going shopping alone. While these little miracles in life are divine, they’re not the be all and end all. And let’s face it, when you’re knee deep in mumhood, they’re pretty unlikely. Unless you like to soak with one eye open for approximately a split second.

Fifteen minutes daily is enough time to de-stress, breathe and refresh. Think of it like a powernap. If you keep driving, the likelihood of you crashing is much higher than if you take the time to rest.

2 . Wake up sleepy head

I know, I know… the broken sleep, the lack of energy and especially horrible cold mornings. I’m so not a morning person. I can honestly tell you I was once on a holiday with my mum and she asked me to come for a walk with her on the beach to see the sunrise. My response was ‘f**k the sunrise’. I’ve since made an effort to embrace mornings into my life, for my kids and my sanity.

The choice is yours… 15 more minutes to sleep or 15 minutes to drink your coffee before it’s left cold and forgotten on the kitchen bench? Heck, if you can sneak out and make it quietly, take it back to bed with you and throw in a quick Facebook scroll, magazine flick or a chapter of your book. Such a great way to get ready to face the onslaught of grumpy morning kids.

3. Housework is not your enemy

Ok, don’t lynch me… hear me out! The housework has to be done anyway, right? Whether you’re squeezing it in whilst the bub is napping, the hour between finishing work and picking up the kids, or when you’re knackered at the end of the day and everyone else is in bed. Combine chores with things you love and you’re squeezing in me time, no guilt required.

I’ve found the secret to making folding washing *semi* enjoyable. Netflix. I make sure I’ve done a few good size loads, pile them up on the couch and whack on my favourite series. Sooo the washing may take a little extra time to fold, while you’re mesmerised by Ashton Kutcher in The Ranch… meh it still gets done.

4. Bed is heaven

Here’s the thing, the dishes are still going to be there in the morning. Go to bed a little earlier, you can’t see the kitchen from there! I know as a single parent I’ve often sat up late into the night with the television on just for the company. It’s boring to go to bed too early, right? Actually, going to bed early, even if it’s not to sleep straight away can have amazing health benefits.

If you’re not sleepy and need time to wind down, take a book with you. Or start a journal. It’s amazing how awesome it feels to scrawl your worries, thoughts, desires and plans out onto a page. If you’re a born planner or list writer, you can even plan out how you might sneak in alone time over the next few days.

5.  Screen time is not the root of all evil

All the experts are telling us our kids are getting too much screen time. Too much this, too little of that. Like this is a modern-day problem. I swear I was brought up on Playschool, Sesame Street and The Smurfs. I think I turned out ok.

I’m not saying leave your three-year-old in front of non-stop Paw Patrol episodes on Netflix. But there’s nothing wrong with making the most of the 15-20 minutes where they are totally engaged in something other than wiping their nose on you!

Quick activities that can be done on you own, with a toddler still in view (but not harassing you for pink milk!) are still alone time. So paint your nails, do a quick pedi, tackle a mindfulness colouring page or read a chapter of the book you never have time for. Your sanity will thank you.

We all need to feel human again and – let’s be honest – just have a break from the whinging before we lose the f**king plot! I swear quality over quantity wins every time!

Tell us your tips for sneaking in quality alone time at home, we promise we won’t tell your husband! Then take another look at our article about the 18 messed up things no-one mentions about motherhood.

Author

Heidi is a teacher and single mum of four who goes to gym in order to indulge her love of cheesecake. Raising kids with ADHD and Aspergers is fast, chaotic and often hilarious, but she wouldn't change a thing. Heidi recovers with good chick lit, writing and Netflix after bedtime.

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