I’ve confessed before that I’m an introvert. I like people, but I’m not the type to hang out with people. I don’t do late nights and after an hour or two at parties I’m DONE. You may ask, “How in the world does that work with 10+ children??” Here’s a few things that have helped me.
1) Have an understanding partner
My husband and I have been a couple for 13 years now. Through communication and observation he understands that I need alone time here and there. Because of that he’s willing to watch the kids whenever I need to go somewhere for a few hours.
2) Have a daily schedule that gives you breaks
Every day we have a scheduled nap and bedtime. That hour or two of napping gives me an opportunity to rest, read, write, surf the internet, etc. Even using that time to clean or fold laundry ALONE is mentally relaxing. A scheduled bedtime for the littles helps me relax and spend some time with my husband before drifting off to sleep. My showers are usually in the evenings whenever my husband is home to help with the kids. This allows me to lock both the bedroom and bathroom doors for 10-15 minutes of peace.
3) Allow a few extra hours to unwind when out running errands or attending appointments
I usually schedule my monthly midwife appointments for early morning and then spend the rest of the day thrifting and shopping at stores that aren’t in my area. Sometimes I use my Sunday afternoons before choir practice to run out for an hour or two . My husband will watch over the littles as they nap and the older kids play or watch a movie. I know not everyone has the luxury of childcare, but this is one way my husband helps me out.
4) Always be willing to push yourself for your family
Most of my kids are outgoing and enjoy hanging out with other kids. Because of that I’ve had to “push” myself to attend play dates and homeschool activities with a bunch of strangers. I’ve had to “push” myself to be the first one to say, “Hi!” at such events. Once I had a child invite himself over to our home. My first reaction was panic and a silent, “No!” However, I knew my children wanted this friend to come so I “pushed” myself to schedule a day to make it happen.
As mothers we sometimes feel guilty for taking a little time for ourselves. The truth is that often that time alone refreshes us and allows us to do our jobs better and enjoy our families more.
“And he (Jesus) said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”