I feel like I’ve written a lot about having three kids, but there’s one thing I haven’t talked about yet. It’s about how you make time for yourself and your partner when you have kids. Whether you have one child or her 20, it can be very difficult to make time for yourself.
We all know it’s so important, but why does a little “me time” always end up at the bottom of the to-do list? And how do we get together without the kids? I get a lot of messages from people asking if they can spend time at!
We put our kids in the kids club during our holiday in Turkey so we could have fun without them!
So let’s start with the most important thing….
Don’t ever feel like you’re being selfish
I think this is what women feel most. It’s “mother’s guilt” for leaving her partner to care for the child themselves. Or you may even feel guilty about dropping your child off at daycare just to have some peace and quiet and have some fun without them.
stop it. Now Stop it. Never feel guilty or selfish for wanting to be away from your children. Taking some time away from them will make you a better parent and a happier person. Accept it and never feel bad about it.
I’m writing this over the Easter holidays, and my children are currently attending their school’s holiday club. I felt a little guilty sending my kids to school during the holidays, but they were so excited to go. I know they are going to have a great time and I am enjoying our lovely, peaceful home so much!
Encourage your partner to have time alone
Sam always encourages me to do things for him. Because by doing so, he knows that he will also be given a free pass to go out. So encourage his partner to have fun too. They’ll come home feeling happy and relaxed, and that’s good for the whole family.
When we had our first son George, Sam and I were jealous of each other if we went out without each other. Before we had kids, we always went out together and most nights one of us would go out and do something fun, so it was a big adjustment after we had kids.
As we grew up and got used to our roles as parents, that feeling definitely went away.
Maybe it’s because of his age, but I love it when Sam goes out now! If I put the kids to bed with me, I can spend the evening watching whatever I want on TV, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating up all the chocolate!
It’s going to be difficult for the first 6-12 months
Let me tell you, the first 6-12 months are tough, but they won’t last forever. A night of sleep deprivation makes it impossible to do anything. At that point, throw all tips and advice out the window. The first year is all about survival and caffeine. Embrace it, enjoy it, and know that it won’t last long.
We always find that it’s much easier when your baby goes to bed at a regular time and sleeps most of the night. I know a lot of kids can’t sleep through the night, but my 4-year-old son still wakes up regularly during the night, but waking up once or twice is a far cry from how often a newborn wakes up it’s different.
Read more: The first three months with a baby girl
The absolute most important thing for us is that our children go to bed early and that we switch off and stop being parents at night. Our little ones go to bed at 6:30pm, and George (6) climbs into bed and plays with Legos until he’s ready for bed.
Honestly, I think strict bedtimes have kept us sane over the years!
Not only will you have time to spend a nice evening together, but it will also be easier if one of you wants to go out for the night. There’s no need to feel guilty about leaving your partner with the kids if you know they’re all asleep. And I’m not going out for a big night out or dinner with the girls. I even go for a walk once in a while!
Read more: How to get your baby to sleep through the night
Communicate your boundaries with your partner
If you’re going out without your partner, I think it’s really important to communicate how you both feel about it. Remember that if you make your partner angry, you won’t be as encouraged to do your own thing next time.
For example, Sam and I don’t care if the other goes out in the evening and gets drunk and stinks. But only if you both help with bedtime before you go out, and the next day is not the deadline for writing off. For the other person’s hangover! And I don’t care if the other person wants extensive co-sleeping on the weekends, as long as we both take turns co-sleeping on the weekends.
Have a family calendar and use it for everything
No one wants a conversation that goes like this:
“I’m going out with the girls tomorrow night!’
“No, we all promised to go out tomorrow!’
Make a family calendar and write everything on it all.
I don’t expect Sam to tell me everything he’s ever decided, but George plays soccer at 4 p.m., Joseph gets a haircut at 4:30 p.m., and Alba at 5 p.m. Once he understands that he needs to be picked up from daycare, he’ll know he can do it.Let’s go to the pub tonight for a drink!
You don’t need a fancy calendar. Just print it out and paste it on your kitchen bulletin board. You can find templates to print on Canva.
Find enjoyable family activities you genuinely all enjoy
A family trip to Portmeirion is something everyone will love
The key word here is to “seriously” enjoy everything. As parents, we often kid ourselves that we’re having fun at the park while our kids are playing, but if we didn’t have kids, would you go there? Probably not!
It’s not easy to find activities that the whole family will enjoy, especially when there’s a large age gap between the kids, but as the kids grow up and the age gap narrows, it gets easier.
If you have lots of really fun family activities, you won’t feel the need to escape from your family and have too much alone time. Don’t get me wrong. Even a nice afternoon spent together as a family can be very stressful, but it’s always an easier day when we’re all having fun.
This is one of the reasons I love hosting caravans. While in a caravan we spend most of the day at the beach, something we all love!
Read more: Pros and cons of owning a static caravan
Befriend people with similar age children
Another way to enhance family activities is to do them with another family with children the same age. Once the kids are around 3-4 years old, it’s super easy to get a bunch of kids together and let them all run around, play, and relax!
If you have young children, it may not be the easiest stage to have more children. When you’re little, you often fight over toys, so it can be difficult to get more toys, but once you learn to share and play, it’s great!
The 5pm whizz around
This is something we do as a family every night, and if you don’t like it, ignore it, but I really think it’s very helpful for our family. Sam is always the instigator here, but he starts frantically cleaning every night around 5pm.
We all tidy up the house, put away toys, put bikes back in storage, fold laundry, tidy up bedrooms, sweep, mop, brush the dog, and generally keep our homes nice and clean. And now I have to work on calming it down for the evening.
It has become a family routine and means that by 6pm everyone is ready for the night and relaxed. If you do it together as a family, your children will learn how to clean up and will be able to do it faster. It also means that one person (usually the mom!) isn’t left folding laundry at 8pm when you have to sit on the couch with a glass of wine and a milk bar. There is also!
Get up early
This isn’t something I personally do, but I know a lot of parents who wake up super early just to have an hour or two to themselves before the rest of the family wakes up. If you’re a morning person, start your morning. Because it feels so good to get everything done before the day even starts!
I’ve tried this, but since I’m not a morning person and George is a light sleeper, he always wakes up to join me. I’d like to say that I regularly wake up early and jog along the beach, but this photo was taken in Miami in 2014 of him when I was suffering from severe jet lag, and this is all… I think that says a lot!