5 Ways To Find Time For Yourself As A New Mom

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Image via Chaunie Brusie

Is there anything more frustrating than the conflict between how much love you have as a new mother and how much you just really want a second to yourself?

I really get what can feel like the unique trappings of motherhood, especially for stay-at-home mothers. I've worked at home, outside of the home, and have been mostly at home, and while there are plusses and benefits to all sides of the story, being at home with kids all day carries a weight of feeling like you should have a lot of time during the day, but also mysteriously going to bed at night wondering where the hours have gone.

{ MORE: 4 Things That Totally Count When You’re a Mom }

Working, not working, working at home, whatever way you see it–it's hard to find any time for yourself as a new mother. I will be the first to tell you that motherhood is a season where “me” time definitely gets pushed to the wayside.

But it's those little snatches of time, those miracle days of grandma taking the kids for an afternoon–the sneaked-in “me time”–that helps us keep going.

And here are a few tips to find that me time for yourself.

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Image via Flickr/ slgckgc

Check your local gym

While, unfortunately, this is not something we have in our area, I know several mothers who benefit from free, daily childcare at their local YMCA. Blogger Briana Meade wrote an entire post on how she “tricks” the YMCA into thinking she works out, when really, she's just there for the free childcare. “So far, they have yet to revoke my YMCA membership, which is about $50 dollars a month for 2 DAILY HOURS OF CHILDCARE,” writes Briana. “Someone from the church actually pays for us, God bless their hearts.”

You may be able to take advantage of childcare for your kids while you exercise or just use the gym's free WiFi in the lobby.

{ MORE: To All the Moms Who Are Just Tired (And Maybe Don't Want to Wash Their Faces) }

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Image via Flickr/ blmurch

Indulge in some pre-pregnancy pampering

If you're still pregnant with your first, don't be afraid to indulge in a little me time right now. I'll never forget my first Mother's Day spent pregnant with my first daughter. I took advantage of the day to take a leisurely walk downtown to get my favorite donut and then spent the rest of the day doing nothing–nothing but laying outside and reading. Even now, three kids and four pregnancies in, I look back to those days of leisure with fondness, knowing that the seasons of my life will ebb and flow, and someday, I'll have all the time in the world to lounge on my deck with a good book in hand.

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Image via Flickr/ GabrielaP93

Just ask

OK, I get that this might sound overly simple, and it's also maybe not possible for mothers without partners, but if you are in a partnership, finding time for yourself–even if it's just for an hour–may be as simple as just asking.

Allow me to illustrate: The other weekend, after cooking a huge breakfast, complete with homemade waffles and freshly cut fruit, I had about an hour before I had to whisk the older girls off to their soccer game. I was desperate to sneak in a workout before the day got away from me, and in my past days as a mother, I would have simply stewed and sighed as I cleaned up breakfast and worked myself into an “I'm such a martyr mom” mode.

But that morning? I decided to make a change. I handed my husband a rag, asked if he wouldn't mind cleaning up, and headed to the basement to sneak in a quick workout before the game. He was happy to help, and I was happy to get in my 30 minutes for myself that day. If only I had known years ago that, sometimes, it really can be that simple.

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Image via Flickr/ Kara Michele

Train those kiddos

For me, an important part of me time is exercising. Not only does it make me feel better to get work on losing the baby weight, but it helps keep me sane as well.

Unfortunately, being a stay-at-home mom on a budget doesn't leave me a lot of room to getting out to the gym, and by the time my husband comes home at the end of the day, I am way too tired to head out the door then. So, I took to “training” my kiddos to see mama exercising as a normal part of their day. I will either pile them all in the stroller and take a walk (work those biceps with that double stroller!), pop in an exercise DVD and have them be a part of the fun, or head down to the basement so they can play while I jump on the treadmill. Granted, this doesn't always work, timing is important, and at best, I can get 20-30 minutes, but it's so worth it.

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Image via Flickr/ Marco Arment

Steal time

After three kids and well into my fourth pregnancy, I am a master at stealing snippets of time to even sit down and just breathe for a moment. Starting dinner prep in the morning, handing the kids some all-natural cleaning wipes to help me clean the kitchen, or asking my daughters to give mommy a makeover, I've done them all. But one of my favorite go-to tricks when I'm feeling the need for a little downtime is definitely the early school pick-up trick. I'll load the littles up early, hit the drive-thru for some snacks for them and a big iced coffee for mom, and then we'll “accidentally” pull into the school parking lot a few minutes early. Ahhhh …

{ MORE: As the Due Date Approaches, Panic Sets In }

What's your go-to trick for sneaking in time for you as a new mom?

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5 Ways To Find Time For Yourself As A New Mom

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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