"What time do you do things for yourself in the evenings?"
Dear mama, What time do you go do things on your own in the evenings? I find once my husband gets home, I start running around, tidying followed by prepping dinner. I pump while babe is in the bath (dad does bedtime), and then he puts her down while I finish making dinner and clean up. By the time we're done, it's always past 7-8pm! Pre-baby, I loved going to get groceries, get my nails done, or go to the mall - no problem. Now, I either fold laundry, have chores left to do, or plunk my butt down to watch TV until I fall asleep. No real life happens out the house after 5:30-6pm. - Desperate to get out
Dear, 'Desperate to get out',
Here's what I do when I want to get out of the house for some 'me time' in the evenings:
I simplify dinner, either by planning for leftovers, getting take out, making food at nap time, or grabbing a pre-made meal from Costco (the chicken tacos aren't a bad gig, and often produce enough for lunch the next day!). Sacrifice family meal for one night, for your benefit.
I book something. Nail appointment, grocery pick up, a date with a friend or even just a phone call to catch up. I make a point to have a commitment, so that it's harder to not leave. My husband and I decided that once per week was a healthy expectation for us (both for my mental health, and his ability to be home from work events).
I stay out until past bed time. This has been a funny promise (to myself) to upkeep - I've driven through fancy neighbourhoods to admire the homes, I've driven up and down the highway, I've gone to park at a beach with a coffee while I scrolled mindlessly on Instagram, and I've discovered new shops I wouldn't otherwise have gone into, all to avoid the chaotic hour that is bed time with the kids.
I do something I enjoy doing. Which means, all of my more unpleasant errands (full grocery shopping, Costco runs, Shoppers, etc.) are done during the day with the kids. Yes, I know. I'm crazy, and it isn't easy during the day. BUT, the way I convince myself that it's worth it is by telling myself that if I work, pedal to the metal during my 'day job' (raising the girls, keeping my family fed, doing family errands, and keeping house*), I will get my evenings to do with them as I please. Whether that means getting out of the house, or relaxing at home, I'm not 'working' in the evenings once the kids are down, and therefore have time to do things I enjoy doing. I'll happily sleep beside a pile of clothes on my floor if it means I got my nails done, or got caught up on the latest season of Mindhunter. I'm rambling - but does this somewhat make sense?
I just fucking leave. Yeah. I know. It isn't easy because daddy isn't always home to do the bedtime routine, and might put the wrong PJ's on. It isn't easy because you're exhausted, and barely have it in you to get out the door. You know what's easier than bed time? Sitting in your car after grabbing a coffee at a drive-thru (beauty of this is you don't even need to get dressed, really), and scrolling your phone with your favourite tunes on. It isn't easy because you're sleep training and you feel horrible for leaving your house while your baby screams. It isn't easy because you only slept 2 hours last night and you're exhausted beyond belief. I've been parked 9 houses down the street, crying in my car, too. I've been the one who looked at picures of my kids every 20 minutes on my phone when out for drinks with friends. Yes, mama, it's fucking hard. But you know what else is hard? Losing yourself. In all of this, you deserve to be you, too. And ripping that first bandaid is the absolute hardest part - of that, I promise you.
I was so overwhelmed with trying to 'keep up' on my first maternity leave, so my husband and I agreed that we'd lower the standard. Yes, it means that our bathrooms could be cleaner. Yes, it means that we eat takeout once per week. Yes, it means that we live in piles of endless laundry. BUT, what it also means is that my 'work day', if you will, has an end, just like my husband's. We agreed to one 'non-negotiable' - the kitchen has to be clean every evening before we unwind - the rest can wait. After the kids go to bed, we don't do any chores.
So, to answer your question, I get time to myself out of the house whenever I can, whenever my husband is home and I want to get out. BUT, I get time to myself almost every night, because I MAKE the time.
Make an active commitment to make time for yourself, and you'll have time for yourself.
*these are the things that my husband and I agreed were part of my 'job description' while I'm on maternity leave. Looking at this as a full-time job makes it all so much more palatable for me!
Sometimes, the silliest situations get the best of us, and I'm happy to answer any of your mama questions, no matter how big or how small. Send me a DM on Instagram if you have any questions you'd like answered!