Finding “Me” Time

18 06 2015

IMG_2999I just finished an excellent book that I borrowed from a friend – The Fringe Hours, by Jessica Turner of The Mom Creative. I highly recommend this for moms of little ones, for when it seems like there is never time to get anything done for yourself! I journaled alongside reading it but would still love a copy of my own! And no, this is not a sponsored post. Just thought it was great.

First – finding the time to read the book. Luckily, it’s a quick read because of its workbook format. I spend a LOT of time nursing the baby while (sometimes aimlessly) scrolling through my phone. I set social media down for about 2 days and put this book in my hand instead. BOOM. Done. Checked it off my summer bucket list and on to the next book.

Since reading Jessica’s book, I’ve actually found some of those hidden pockets of time to work on several little DIYs that I’ve been wanting to do… projects that all seemed daunting before reading this book because I was waiting til I had entire afternoons or days to devote to completing them. I realized that every time I have a pocket of 5 minutes, instead of spending it scrolling through my phone or cleaning up toys, I should put that time toward a checklist of little tasks that add up to a completed project! Like reserving books online at the library when I have 5 minutes, then running in and grabbing them when I’m there a few days later for storytime with my kids. It just takes some planning ahead.

For another example, to make some jean shorts – I broke up that project into little tasks that each took less than 5 minutes:

  • go in the attic to find old jeans to cut up to make shorts
  • find my sewing tape measure
  • watch youtube tutorials on the best way to distress denim
  • cut the jeans to the desired length
  • ask hubby for sandpaper
  • practice distressing the unused denim using a variety of techniques to find the best method
  • look online at the best way to stain the shorts a darker wash

While I did these tasks, I watched a movie on my summer bucket list (reserved online from library) in short, 5-minute increments until I finished it! I am rarely one to sit and watch a full movie, and never at home. In fact, I’m not allowed to – my orthopedic surgeon told me never to sit for more than 2 hours because of my spine condition. So even at the movie theatre, I sometimes have to get up and walk around the lobby.

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Another similarly-executed project was the process of lanolizing wool overnight shorties for my new little heavy-wetter! The shorties sat around for weeks because I didn’t think I had the time. But I finally broke the project up into DAYS of 5-minute steps until the shorties were lanolized and ready to use!

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Even trying a new recipe! First, I found a recipe using the search term “easy basil dinner.” Another time, I wrote a list of ingredients needed. BOOM. It was ready to make after the next shopping trip.

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My husband and I had an Amway Ribbon gift catalog from our baby shower that is older than our 8-month-old. I think in theory, the concept of the gift is to make it easy for the parents to select what they really need. Well, the baby has long-since outgrown most of the newborn and infant items in the catalog, but I finally broke the process of selecting a gift into 5-minute tasks:

  • browse the catalog
  • lookup the actual items on Amazon to compare retail values. The variety of price ranges is insane!
  • log in to the website
  • realize all of the items in our catalog were no longer available, all replaced with newer items
  • start process all over again
  • select an item that we both wanted (bonus: it was also the most expensive retail item)
  • order the item – a waterproof, easy-to-clean, play mat! This wasn’t even listed in our catalog.
  • our gift arrived today! Went outside and got it off the porch. Just before the baby turns 9 months old

Ribbon Gift

Jessica’s advice has really helped me to streamline the party-planning for my son’s 3rd birthday. I had actually considered taking him on a fun trip instead of dedicating the time and effort into a party, but I also don’t want to skip celebrating this milestone with his little friends! Party planning was broken into a series of 5-minute tasks:

  • gathering ideas
  • making an invite list
  • making a list of things to buy/make
  • making a food list
  • designing simple invites in PicMonkey using a free template
  • finding free printables as party decor that fits my theme – so easy!
  • printing the printables
  • cutting out the printables
  • addressing invites, etc.

My next big project might take the whole summer, but my goal is to finish it in the next 2.5 weeks. When I listed it on my summer bucket list, it seemed daunting, but the trick was just to START. Start with the first step! I give myself grace to know that it’s not going to happen all at once. I may never see a 4-hour chunk of time to myself in the next 18 years, but 5 minutes here and there eventually adds up to the time I will need to complete the things that matter to me, things worth doing.

I’m not talking about the big things – going to my women’s Bible study, volunteering (and I’m learning to say “no” more often now that I have little ones unless I know what I’m doing is truly meaningful), spending time with family, going to work — all that stuff is LIFE.

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In fact, if my kids are awake, I try to prioritize so that I’m spending almost all my time with them. Don’t get me wrong, I want them to know I have hobbies, and I want them to be able to entertain themselves and be creative and have their own outlets, but when they’re grown up, I also want them to remember me and my husband playing with them, reading to them, listening to them, and including them in everyday tasks – like cooking, or our garden.

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The little projects or hobbies are just little things that give me an outlet for myself in a crazy infant/toddler world when that time to myself is SO.HARD. to come by. And as an introvert, I NEED it. I’ll be interested to see how this works during the school year when I’m working and not at home with the boys.

And no…  I didn’t write this blog post all at once! And yes, all I still want for my birthday is this breakfast at Panera BY MYSELF! 😉

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