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I recharge by being by myself and my favorite activities are things like reading, going to movies alone and cooking. This means that staying home with my three little girls all day can be pretty exhausting for me.
If you're an introvert too, here are some ways I've found that help me manage (and enjoy!) parenting:
1. Find activities you can both enjoy
I like to cook, read aloud and do puzzles. Doing them with my children isn't as relaxing as doing them alone, but they don't drain me like making up imaginary games or playing dress up does.
2. Institute quiet time
When my children started giving up naps, we transitioned toquiet time, and those two hours of alone time every afternoon make an enormous difference to me.
Knowing I can sneak in a few minutes of alone time helps me feel more in control of a busy or chaotic day.
3. Put your children to bed early
As the day wears on, my patience also wears down, so having my children go to bed early (7 p.m.) makes a world of difference. This gives me several hours to recharge before I head to bed, and I'm ready to parent again the next morning. I also keep our bedtime routine very brief so that I don't spend too much time getting them into bed.
4. Get them used to giving you a few minutes of alone time
My girls know that occasionally I'll say, "I just need 10 minutes by myself." Sometimes I sit on the couch and read a book while they play in the same room, and sometimes I'll go to the bathroom and shut the door for five or 10 minutes. Because they know right where I am and when I'll be ready to play with them again, they are really good about it most of the time. Knowing I can sneak in a few minutes of alone time helps me feel more in control of a busy or chaotic day.
5. Try CDs
Driving around with my children used to be really stressful to me since they would talk the WHOLE time and ask endless questions and want me to tell stories when I just needed some time in my own head. Now we check out audiobooks and music CDs from the library and they happily listen from the backseat. Meanwhile my mind can wander as we head to the grocery store or the park.
I know this sounds counterintuitive, but I've discovered that having other kids over means I'm not the one entertaining my children or playing the role of the giant in a game of make believe. They can have the interaction they love, and I can sit on the couch with a book or do chores around the house in peace.
How do you deal with the constant interaction of parenting when you need quiet and solitude to recharge?