Why it's important to have 10 minutes to yourself

As a busy mum of two boys it's almost impossible to get just 10 minutes to myself on any given day. It might sound ridiculous but my days consist of doing things for others or working and when I think I may get 10 minutes to enjoy a hot coffee, or read a magazine, the boys are causing havoc and I have to intervene. But 10 minutes to yourself is so important and that's why I'm trying harder for me.

After chatting to Michelle Reeves a couple of weeks ago, I decided to get up 30 minutes earlier than usual. My usual waking time is 6:30am but I chose to get up at 6am instead so I would have time to enjoy a hot coffee and watch the news without interruptions or arguments from the boys. 

My alarm went off at 6am and I hit the button quickly so as to not wake the Hubby. I crept out of bed and into the bathroom and hurried through my morning routine as quietly as possible. I then went downstairs, avoiding that one creaky step, aiming for the kitchen. I closed the kitchen door behind and hoped the noise of the boiling kettle would be confined to the kitchen and wouldn't wake the boys. I made myself a coffee and, with coffee in hand, I opened the kitchen door.

Sat on the stairs, with his best smile, was LP.

I'm disappointed to see that smile but I was a little disappointed that my first attempt to get 10 minutes for me didn't go so well.

I think women are natural caretakers. They take care of everybody. They take care of their husbands and their kids and their dogs, and don't spend a lot of time just getting back and taking time out. 

Reese Witherspoon

Why is it so hard to have time to myself?

Being a mum to school-aged boys doesn't mean I get the whole day to myself. The time they're at school I spend doing chores or writing articles for my little corner of the internet. Any free time I find during school days is spent on things that don't need to wait until later, because I want to spend free time with my family. My whole life is about making life enjoyable and happy for my children and my husband, and as a consequence I often forget about myself.

blonde haired woman with her arms in the air, a beach in the background

So how do you get time to yourself?

It's not easy. If you're a morning person you can get out of bed a little earlier and attempt what I did, but it's not a guarantee.

Here is where giving your children chores will give you more time. Perhaps your 10 or 11 year old can load the dishwasher and your 6-7 year old can pick up dirty clothes and put them in baskets. The vacuuming is an easy job to give to your older children and doesn't take long, but it will give you a few extra minutes.

It is amazing how quickly the kids learn the operation of the DVD, yet are unable to understand the vacuum cleaner.

Etienne Marchal

Hiding in the bathroom may work, but you can't really sit in there with a cup of coffee and enjoy peace and quiet while you're hiding from your children can you?

If you have older children you could instigate times during the day when they're not allowed to interrupt you, no matter what (barring emergencies of course). They can entertain themselves while you enjoy a drink and read a magazine.

Why is time for yourself so important?

Having time for yourself allows you to think.

You can be you, without thinking about housework or the kids. Ignore everything but your drink and your magazine or book, or whatever you choose to do in your time. Time to wind down, to enjoy something for yourself, just like everyone else does, can make a huge difference to your general outlook.

That 10 minutes to yourself may help you find a new hobby, learn something new, or even stumble across a business idea.

brunette woman sitting in a yoga position by a lake, relaxing. The lake is in the blurred background.

You are not just a mum. You are not just a wife. You are someone who devotes themselves to making others happy, and allowing yourself 10 minutes every day will make you happy. 

I haven't yet managed to get any free time in a morning. Whenever I try to get up early LP joins me. He's a light sleeper and the sound of anything downstairs wakes him. I'll get 10 minutes eventually, perhaps on the days he has after school clubs. But no matter when I get those 10 minutes I've realised it's important to have time for myself, and I urge you to try too.

Do you get 10 minutes for yourself daily?