5 minute fixes for when you’re drowning in children
5 minute fixes for stressed mums

I’m going to go out on a crazy limb here and guess that, if you have small children, your life is pretty busy.

I know, I’m clearly psychic.

It’s all very well to bang on about how as mothers we need to take time out for ourselves (I’ve actually built my blog Champagne Cartel around this very concept). And the thing is, I don’t think there is a reasonable person among us who disagrees. The issue is, as ever, how do we fit it in?

Well, I’m here to say there is taking time out and there is taking time out. Sure, a girls’ retreat in Bali would be lovely. Even an hour-long massage or a new colour and cut – all soul-restoring. But when you have a bunch of kids, a travelling partner, a small baby, a hectic work schedule, dinner to cook, washing to hang, relatives to visit or a combination of the above, ‘me’ time is the first thing to go.

And while ‘me’ time might seem like a folly or an indulgence to you – or to your family – there are more serious factors at play here. I’m sure we’ve all heard the analogy about being on a plane and needing to put the oxygen mask over your own face first so we can help others. It’s hackneyed but it’s true. If you’re depleted, you’re useless to everyone around you. So if you can’t justify taking time for yourself just because you work hard and you bloody deserve it, justify it in that it will make you a better slave mother.

And if you think you can’t possibly fit ‘me’ time into your day, here are some ideas that will have you feeling better in five minutes. You’ve got five minutes, right?

1. Paint your nails

Something bright. You’ll feel polished (see what I did there?) and presentable. Yay.

2. Drink a cup of tea in the sun (or under the shade of a tree if it’s hot)

The ceremony about making a cup of tea -  bonus points if it’s loose leaves in a pot – feels nurturing, don’t you think? Try a relaxing blend with chamomile or liquorice, or go for your favourite. And sitting outside with your feet touching the earth feels beautiful.

3. Blast a favourite song

Dance around the room, reminisce about your wedding or that concert you went to back in 1995 where you sat on that stranger’s shoulders and took your top off. Or, you know, whatever.

4. Stretch

Get all downward dog or cat-cow if you’re a yogi. Or just stretch your muscles like a regular person if you like. Link your hands behind your back and stretch out those shoulders. If they spend time sitting in front of a computer and/or holding small people, they could do with some opening up.

5. Have a large drink of water

Something like 75 percent of us are dehydrated. And I have no evidence to back this up but I reckon mothers of young kids probably go higher. Because we’re always filling those freaking sippy cups, but how often are we sipping ourselves? (Wine unfortunately doesn’t count.) Being dehydrated can make you tired, lethargic and hungry. Drink more water; your body will thank you for it.

6. Write down five things you’re grateful for

I saw a psychologist for my post-natal depression a few years ago and she suggested I try this. My PND has long gone but I still keep up this practice. It helps me to focus on the good stuff of the day, rather than the fact there is mashed potato in the electric socket and my cat is sporting a new mohawk.

7. Throw away five things

Clutter can drive you mad. Choose five items you don’t need from the messiest part of your house and chuck them without a backwards glance. I have to do this while my family is in another room, otherwise it leads to discussion. Discussion is not your friend here. I try to do this a few times a week but my house is still a tip.

8. Call and cancel or ask for help

Martyrs get sainthoods, sure, but their actual lives are a misery. If you have too much on, let something go, or drop the kids at a friend’s place for a couple of hours so you can speed through your chores. Nobody will think less of you.

This article was written by Carolyn Tate for Kidspot.com.au and has been adapted for Kidspot.co.nz

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