12 Ways to Steal Some “Me Time” Without the Kids Knowing


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Time spent with your children is life’s greatest joy. But sometimes an even greater joy is 10 minutes of “me time” without your children. Hey, you’ll appreciate them a lot more once you have a chance to miss them for a second, right?

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Getting a little break for yourself is a good thing. And if you take the right approach, the kids won’t even know. While there’s nothing wrong with telling the little darlings, “Mommy needs a break right now,” you can often simply steer their attention to something else, and then take advantage of the sudden quiet to savor a few peaceful minutes for yourself.

Even if your “me time” isn’t necessarily alone time, the trick is looking for little chances in your day to exhale and unwind a little bit—and the good news is that once you start looking, you’ll probably find a lot!

Any of these moments can turn into a little break for yourself, especially when you’re ready to embrace them: reaching for a good book, calling a friend, popping open a meditation app, or savoring a delicious chocolate treat like the new Godiva Masterpieces. Keep one in your purse and you’ll always be ready to turn a few minutes of “me time” into a decadent chocolate break.

Trade playdates
It’s fun to have a friend over, and sometimes—not always, but sometimes—the kids will play so nicely together that they’ll forget you’re even there. (Just peek in on them, of course.) Plus, if you can trade playdates, even just an hour or two, with your kids’ friends, you’ll have double the chances to get a break for yourself—a little one when the kids are at your house, and a much better one when they’re at the friends’.

Cleaning contest
When the kids whine that they’re bored, I like to take advantage of their competitive nature by proposing a little cleaning contest: Give them each a disposable dusting cloth and see who can pick up more disgusting dust bunnies in five minutes. See how many windows they can wash in five minutes. Or set a timer and see who can make the most progress cleaning their room.

Scavenger hunt
This might take a little more thought ahead of time, but the upside is the more preparation you put in, the longer break you’ll get too. Come up with a little list of things your kids can hunt for around the house and yard: three kinds of leaves, a yellow dandelion, a clean and shiny penny.

Board game
If your kids love a good board game, suggest they play one. If they have a bunch of board games they never play, insist they play one to decide if they really want to keep it or if it’s OK to donate. As a child, I even liked playing board games alone, versus my stuffed animals, and my own son does too—fewer arguments with the other players!

Write a silly story
I also loved to write stories as a kid, and a favorite game was to start a story, write for five minutes, then fold the paper over so only the last sentence is visible. Then hand the paper to the next person (a sibling or friend), who continues that same story however they like. Five minutes later, switch again. After a few rounds, read the stories out loud and giggle at all the abrupt twists and turns. 

Grocery shopping
Running errands used to feel like a chore, but now if I can manage to run them without my son, I actually find them peaceful. You’ll find me shuffling through the grocery store with my headphones on, listening to a podcast, sipping from a big mug of coffee, and just enjoying being on my own at the store on a weekend morning while my husband and son are playing video games at home. Oh, this is where you’ll find Godiva Masterpieces, too, and if you pop open an individually wrapped chocolate (or two!) in the parking lot, I won’t tell.

Face masks
While you’re at the store, peruse the skin care aisle for a clay mask or sheet mask to treat yourself to. My son thinks I look weird in a clay mask, and if he sees me in one he’ll nope right on out of the room and avoid me entirely until I’ve rinsed it off. That takes, what, 5 or 10 minutes? Perfect.

Cook something
Make something that takes a long time, like marinara sauce from scratch, or coq au vin. My personal go-to is risotto, which takes barely 20 minutes, but needs a lot of attention. Standing at a warm stove stirring a steaming pot of risotto as it thickens is straight-up relaxing.

Maximize the moments you have already
Do you have a long bus or train commute? Find a podcast you love, make yourself comfy with a fuzzy blanket scarf, and unwind with a Godiva Masterpieces individually wrapped chocolate to make it a little sweeter. I work from home, but even the short trip from school to the house after morning drop-off is a lot more relaxing since I started seeing it as a little “me break.”

Play outside
If it’s allowed, take them to school 15 minutes early so they get extra playground time while you get to loiter with the other parents, or focus on your coffee and a news app. If your kids are on a sports team, hang around and watch a practice. At a game you have to really watch and cheer, but at practice, you can bring a book and a delicious filled Godiva Masterpieces bar, and zone out for a lot of it. Just look up occasionally and call out some encouragement as appropriate. Great job, team!

Pay them to do a chore
This depends greatly on the kids’ ages and abilities, but you could pay them to clean the garage, or sweep the driveway, or even just tell them to clean their rooms really, really well because you hid $5 in their somewhere.

Head to the gym
If you can join a gym or community center that has childcare, you can take your kids along. They’ll be excited to go play, and you’ll get some me time in an exercise class, on a treadmill, or maybe even (shhh) in the sauna.

Have alone time together
Try to get your kids interested in a hobby you enjoy, especially if it’s usually somewhat solitary, like knitting, jogging, or gardening. You’ll be able to zen out side by side and get hat peaceful feeling of being alone, only together. Another great option is to head to the library and settle down w

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