6 Ways Working Moms Can Squeeze In 'Me Time,' Even While Homeschooling

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Daughter kissing smiling mom

If you're a working parent who's now home-schooling your kids due to COVID-19, you know the havoc the pandemic has wreaked on your life and, most specifically, your "me time" and self-care routine.

It's not just about gaining those unwanted pounds. You've been running a metaphorical marathon that, frankly, has become somewhat depressing.

But, amidst it all, you're still a mom and, as such, you're likely doing the lion's share of everything at home.

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Even moms who seemed to have it all together pre-pandemic are plagued by the lack of "me time."

Additionally, you're likely overrun with obligations at work and overseeing either part-time or full-time homeschooling. Right now, it's all just too much.

So, how can you even think about squeezing in some "me time"? The key is in planning and executing a team approach.

Many moms struggle with a martyr approach to parenting. We are pressured to do it all:

  • Be a great mom
  • Be an asset to your employer
  • Be a supportive wife or partner 
  • Have a well-run household
  • Help our kids with homework and extra-curricular activities

And, when we try to do it all ourselves, we often pay the price in the form of exhaustion, low sex drive, short temper, and a lack of self-care.

You simply cannot continue to pour yourself into everyone and everything if you are not taking some time to fill yourself up. You need to restore your energy and resources.

You simply can't run on empty for long. When you run on empty, after a while, bad things can happen.

Your body produces the stress hormone cortisol to help you survive difficult times, but when sustained, it can cause all kinds of health problems over time.

Too many of us have paid in stress and poor health. Now, more than ever, it's important to flip that script. It's essential to find me time to fill yourself back up.

Here are 6 ways working moms can squeeze in "me time" while homeschooling.

1. Segment your days.

One of the best ways to squeeze in "me time" is to create structure in your days.

School energizes students by giving them more external structure. They're balanced between movement and focused time. In this way, kids can ramp up, stay focus, and transition to the next thing when it's time.

If you extend that model to structure to life at home, you can create more control around your time.

Segment your day so everyone is working off the same schedule. Experiment with different blocks of time to see which segments work.

2. Bring back the chore chart.

Working with a client the other day, we resurrected the chore chart. Each person in the household was assigned responsibilities daily and weekly to help make the household run.

Of course, it's important to consider the ages of your family members, but the old adage of teamwork is first learned at home.

Create a chore chart with a checklist and post it. Schedule a family meeting once weekly to officially assign chores.

When everyone works together, you will have less on your own plate to manage.

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3. Have morning "power hour."

Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, introduced a morning routine that he named his "Hour of Power" focused on gratitude, movement, and inspiration.

Canfield's morning routine was designed to warm him up and get his head straight before taking on the day. He recommends 20 minutes each of exercise, meditation, and watching or reading something inspirational.

Starting your morning off in this way designs the day around filling yourself up first. Add to your day by creating a down-regulating routine at the end of the day to help you calm down, relax, and get ready for good sleep.

4. Fill your bucket first.

An empty bucket can't fill anything else. Instead of running on empty, make "me time" a cornerstone of your days and weeks. If you feel stuck and burned out, brainstorm a list of things you love to do.

Review your list and select which things on that list are non-negotiable and how often you must do them to feel good about yourself.

Then, in order to be successful, you need to "activate" these tasks by assigning a time to do them daily or weekly.

Whether you love yoga, lifting weights, working out, meditating, running, reading, binging on your favorite program, or taking long, hot baths — indulge your senses regularly.

Do at least one thing daily to take care of yourself.

5. Externalize accountability.

One of the best ways I've honored "me time" is to solicit the support and accountability of a buddy to keep me going.

I have a couple of friends I count on as walking/running buddies. I've also joined a couple of online workout programs and communities to stand in for my weekly visits to the gym.

My husband and I have our own evening ritual of walking before bedtime. It gives us time to unpack our days and provides a physical activity to help us feel healthy.

External accountability is key to self-care and "me time." You'll be much less likely to stand up a friend who's counting on you than you will yourself.

6. Restore, relax, rest, and digest.

In Eastern philosophy, this is as essential to your success as the activities you take each day. You need time to unplug, relax, rest, and digest.

With all the stress we're in cortisol must be released in order to find balance. One really positive approach is to lead this process with your kids.

Create a short stretching, yoga, and meditation routine with your family at the end of each day. Turn off your devices, brush your teeth, and dim the lights.

Relax using a guided meditation app, or simply stretch with the kids to help prepare them for bed.

You're responsible for your own mental and physical health — and creating your own me time.

No one is going to do this task for you.

And when you're trying to hold it all together, keep your job, enjoy your spouse, and homeschool your kids, you have to set yourself up for success.

Creating a schedule, making time for what you love, building in accountability, and then leading your family as a role model are all healthy ways to squeeze in me time.

When you do, you'll not just be re-filling your own bucket, but creating awesome memories for your family and kids.

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Cena Block is a productivity consultant and certified organizer coach (COC) for professional women and entrepreneurs with ADHD. She is also the CEO of Sane Spaces and creator of the Time & Space Style Inventory.